O cloud storage has become as popular as external storage modalities. No wonder: the cloud is fast, easy to handle, practical, accessible, does not take up any physical space and just an internet connection is required to use it. However, behind so many benefits, it must be remembered that stored data is at security risk if not properly protected.

With that in mind, ESET, the cyber security, developed five tips that users of cloud storage services, such as the Google Drive, should proceed to protect your data.

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“For many of us, a cloud storage solution is an easy and practical way that allows us to access our data quickly. As long as good security practices are taken into account, this feature can be a good option. That said, you need to be cautious about who you share your data with and for how long. In order to have an adequate understanding of the content and security of your unit, you must also conduct regular audits, ”explained Camilo Gutiérrez Amaya, head of ESET Latin America's Research Laboratory.

According to the company, most users protect their accounts with just one security measure: the good old password. However, it is worth remembering that the method is flawed, especially with the information that the generic passwords 12345, 123456 and 12356789 were the three most popular in 2019. Password reuse is also not indicated.

So, check out the tips to protect yourself.

Protect your account with double authentication factor

First, it is important to know what authentication factors exist. Are they:

  • PIN code or password;
  • Something the individual has, such as a physical key or a security token;
  • Something that is part of the person, like the fingerprint or the retina, both used by means of a scanner.

The double factor of authentication requires that two of these factors be used to log into an account. In general, the password is one of the methods chosen, the other is at the user's discretion. So even if cybercriminals obtain the password and try to access your account, they will still be without a key piece of the puzzle.

Avoid downloading third-party applications

Third-party applications, such as extensions and plug-ins, are popular because they help people optimize the tasks they are working on or organize work into digestible parts, but it is important to consider aspects related to these add-ons.

The first thing to consider before installing one of these plug-ins is to read other users' reviews and ratings. The next step, even if rarely followed, is to read the provider's privacy policy, terms of service and removal policy.

Encrypt your data

It cannot be denied that cloud storage services have become more secure in parallel with their popularization. Still, human errors and cybercriminal movements continue to happen and can open doors for invasions. So it is necessary encrypt the data. With the encryption in place, even if a hacker manages to break into a disk or if the content is distributed over the internet, the data will be useless without the decryption key.

There are several encryption solutions, but according to ESET, it is best to opt for those that offer the Advanced Cryptography Standard (AES), a specification established by the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, in the acronym in English).

Set permissions

Review what kind of permission is being granted to the people with whom the files are shared. Those with reader permission can view the files in the folder, while those with editor permission can organize, add and edit files. The same applies to sending a link by previously defining the function to be assigned. However, in the case of the link, it can be sent to other people. Always remember that.

Who can really see your files?

While managing permissions is important, you also need to consider what types of files and with whom they are being shared. If the data to be shared is confidential, you need to make sure that the person you are sharing with is secure and will not pass it on to others.