Have you ever lost a really important document on your computer? Or had a computer that simply failed to turn on one day, and you never saw your files again? Or dropped your phone in the toilet? If so, you aren’t alone. This very common problem is what prompted digital strategy consultant Ismail Jadun to found World Backup Day, “a day for people to learn about the increasing role of data in our lives and the importance of regular backups.”
According to World Backup Day, 30 percent of people have never backed up, 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute and 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses each month – all very crucial reasons why backing up is of paramount importance to our increasingly digital lives.
There are two main ways for individuals to back up their digital information (which includes everything from your family photos to financial documents, music and emails): via an external drive or using cloud/internet solutions.
As of 2018, approximately 1.9 billion people are using cloud storage, a number that’s forecasted to grow to 2.3 billion in 2020. While cloud storage is a great solution, it’s important to acknowledge the risks of using the cloud for storing data and collaboration. The more aware of those risks you are, the better you’ll be able to avoid them.
Mitigating 3 Risks of Cloud Storage
Risk #1 – Cybercrime
By 2021, the damage caused by cybercrimes like data hacks and security breaches is projected to cost a total of $6 trillion annually, which will represent the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history…and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.
When it comes to following data storage best practices, there is still nothing that can guarantee your information won’t get compromised. Knowing that, one of the most important things you can do is to catch it early. In other words, if you happen to fall victim to a data breach (of which the company may not even notify you of right away), you’ll likely notice unfamiliar activity on your financial statements or a sudden inexplicable change to your credit score.
What to do: Take steps to prevent criminals from stealing your data by seeking a data storage provider who offers high-quality encryption and uses end-to-end encryption when transmitting your data. Make sure the company doesn’t log data and has processes in place to keep staff away from consumer IDs.
Risk #2 – Data Ownership
Cloud storage is relatively new, and the U.S. government can sometimes take a while to catch up. Lawmakers have brought up the issue of whether or not storing your data online somehow affects your ownership of it, and it’s an issue that has yet to be firmly resolved.
What to do: A quality cloud storage provider will give you a contract which clearly states who owns the data you store. As tempting and easy to do as it is, do not gloss over the license agreement when you sign up for a service. Make sure you read and understand every term and condition.
Risk #3 — Outages
While very rare, there is always a chance that your cloud service could experience an outage at the hand of a cloud bug, which can completely shut service down and prove disastrous, meaning you could lose everything.
What to do: Thankfully, many top cloud storage services have built-in safety features, including doubling up your data. Look for these services plus companies who don’t have a history of outages.
Of course, the best backup plan includes multiple forms of backing up, given that there really is no one perfect solution. In this case, we recommend having a physical backup, such as an external USB hard drive, in addition to your cloud storage.