Online backup has numerous advantages, but security is a persistent concern. Whenever you store something online, there is always some risk. Online storage companies work hard to protect your data, but no system in the world is 100% fool proof.
I don’t say this to rag on online storage. I think that for most people, the advantages of automatic backups outweigh the risks of using the cloud as a storage medium. But still, it never hurts to invest a little time in beefing up your security measures. The following simple tips will help you increase the safety of your online backups.
1. Pick the Right Backup Company
There are dozens of online backup companies that all offer the same basic service. The key to finding the right one is to look at the security standards of each online backup company. You can do this by visiting the company’s website and reading through the FAQ or support pages. Look for these three security features:
- Encryption on transfer
- Encryption on storage
- Zero knowledge storage
You should also run a Google news search to see if that company has suffered from any major security mishaps in the recent past. For example, Dropbox is very popular but it is also notorious for several high profile security lapses. In one case, a Dropbox error allowed every account to be accessed with any random password for a few hours.
2. Encrypt Your Own Files at Home
One of the most effective ways to add security to your online backups is to encrypt your files before you store them online. When you encrypt your own files, you know for a fact that you are the only person with the encryption key. You do not have to rely on the promises of your backup provider.
What I recommend is to use TrueCrypt to back up your files before you upload them. TrueCrypt is completely free and it’s easy to use. You can take a look at this TrueCrypt guide for a quick tutorial. Once you have it figured out, TrueCrypt is super easy to use.
3. Combine Online Backup with Offline Backup
Redundancy is a time-tested security measure that you just can’t beat. It is always a good idea to add an offline backup solution to your online storage plan. What I like to do is backup my files at a cloud backup company and on an external hard drive.
This may sound like overkill, but it makes sense for valuable files. This way, you have protection under just about every disaster scenario imaginable. If something happens to your backup company, your external hard drive backups are safe and sound. If something happens to your external hard drives, you still have those files backed up in the cloud.
With two backup methods in place, you get all the advantages of online backup and all the advantages of local backups. It does require more effort to perform offline backups, but it comes in handy when your internet service goes down or your backup company loses your files. It’s unlikely that your backup company would ever lose your files, but it never hurts to play it safe.
Author Bio: Wes Burns runs several online storage websites. He enjoys writing about security-related topics such as password security, online storage and online backup.