Protecting data in the Cloud
Unique passwords for every website
The consumer’s view of good security is much like their view of good health – they know they ought to get lots of exercise and use unique passwords on every website, yet they’re not really doing either. They’re both hard to do regularly. One good thing about all the breaches in the news is it has forced news programmes to repeatedly bash good practice into most people’s heads. My aging relatives can tell me they are supposed to use complex, different passwords everywhere and be careful about the emails and links they click on.
While this awareness is growing and it’s encouraging to see, at the same time, people have been given conflicting advice. They’re told to watch out for how much sites like Facebook can invade their privacy, then also that using social login like the now ubiquitous Facebook button may be more secure. They’re told to protect special accounts like their Microsoft or Google account if they use those for their primary email, but then that makes them feel they can’t hit the “Login with Google” button without compromising that security.
Even Apple, which once had the reputation of being the most secure, has been hit with attackers trying to prove it wrong and hacking into celebrity iCloud accounts and leaking personal data.
Clever people can be forgiven for getting easily confused by all the details one has to master to do personal security well on today’s internet. As the internet morphs into the internet of things, pulling in more and more devices to be connected and services to be offered, it’s likely to get a lot more confusing before it’s done.
However, one crucial step people can take to protect their accounts is to use multi factor authentication whenever it’s available. iCloud accounts, for example, offer turning on the Apple ID two step verification. Most other major online vendors – Google, Amazon, Yahoo, and more – have their own version of this process. The single most common mistake users of public cloud make is to not take advantage of the security protections being offered to them. When you have the option of using two factor authentication to make cloud storage safer, use it. While it might seem slightly more inconvenient as an extra step to security, think about the data that could be stolen. Locking the door to your house is an extra step, but one that we all know is well worth the extra time it takes.
Jonathan Sander, VP of Product Strategy Lieberman Software