Cloud computing is revolutionizing the way people do business. At least that’s what cloud storage services want you to think. Sure, cloud storage is a great way to cut business costs and save storage space, but is it really the right option for your business?
Cloud storage has a number of advantages, but it can also be problematic – especially if you choose the wrong cloud storage company. Here are a few questions to consider before you order cloud computing for your business (or for your personal files):
Is my cloud service provider ethical?
This is the most important question to ask before you start storing files on a cloud storage server. If your cloud storage service provider isn’t ethical, then they could steal your personal files or sell your information to advertisers. This might seem like a bizarre thing to watch out for, but internet scams take place every day, and even the best looking cloud storage websites might simply be scams in disguise.
Google offers ‘Drive’ as its cloud storage solution. You might think Google is a trusted, ethical company, but some people feel otherwise. The fact is, Google collects data on every one of its users. Google reads your emails to figure out which ads you would most likely click on, and it often knows exactly which demographic you’re in – even if you’ve never explicitly told Google that data. Some people feel that Google Drive is just another way for Google to obtain your information – do you really want that to happen?
Actually read the terms of service agreement
Do your research before you start hosting files with any cloud storage service provider. If you’re concerned about a particular company, then read through their terms of service agreement. Nobody likes reading through this agreement, and that’s exactly why businesses make it easy for you to simply hit ‘Accept’ without actually reading anything.
It might be boring, but reading the terms of service agreement will allow you to see exactly what the company is allowed to do with your information. In most cases, if a legitimate company is selling your information to advertisers, it will say so in the terms of services agreement.
It might say, for example, that the company “reserves the right to share information with selected affiliates and partners” or something along those lines, which basically means that some of your information could be sent to third-party groups. If that makes you uncomfortable, look for a different cloud storage provider.
Has the cloud storage company experienced data leaks in the past?
Whenever you sign up for a new site, you should use a different password than the ones you use on your other accounts. Your Facebook and Twitter passwords shouldn’t be the same, for example, because if Twitter experiences a data leak, then the hacker will have access to both your Facebook and your Twitter account. The same thing goes for your cloud storage service account.
Do a quick Google search for your cloud storage company and “data leak”. If the company has displayed signs of weak security in the past, then it might become a target for hackers. If you do need to use that service, make sure the files you store are relatively innocuous. Instead of storing a text file with your banking passwords, for example, store your music and movies on the cloud. That way, if your files get hacked, it’s not going to ruin your life.
By the way, having a text file with your banking passwords is a bad idea on any computer or cloud storage system. Don’t do it.
Does the cloud storage system have a customer service chat line you can contact?
If your cloud storage system experiences problems – like in the event of a data leak – then you should have someone you can contact to get the problem sorted out. A 24/7 chat line or phone number shows that a company cares about its customers, and it also helps you instantly solve any problems that you might encounter.
Companies that are confident in the success of their products provide additional customer service. Companies that aren’t confident rarely extend the same courtesy.
There are plenty of cloud storage options out there. From Dropbox to Google Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive, the number of top-quality cloud storage solutions is growing every day. By asking yourself the above questions, you can narrow down your choices and ensure that you choose the best possible cloud storage solution for your needs.