Today, more companies are moving to the cloud for data storage, and why not? Cloud storage gives employees the ability to access information wherever they are. No more need for USB drives or stationary workspaces! However, the Shadow Data Report released by Blue Coat Elastica Cloud Threat Labs earlier this year showed that many of today’s popular apps have several security vulnerabilities that can’t be ignored. So the question becomes this: what levels of security do today’s providers have in place? Let’s take a look and see where they stand.
One of the most popular file-sharing apps around, Dropbox is straightforward to use and is compatible across most devices and operating systems. Dropbox has several security measures in place, including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for data in transit and 256-bit AES encryption for resting data. Businesses that use the professional Dropbox Pro can take advantage of viewer permissions along with expiration and password capabilities for shared links. Dropbox does have other security measures in place including two-step login authentication and email notifications when a new device or app is connected to an account. Dropbox also allows users to connect third-party encryption apps like BoxCryptor, TrueCrypt, and Viivo for an added layer of protection
iCloud is a natural fit for Mac and iOS users and even has a downloadable app for Windows. Unlike Dropbox, iCloud secures data with a minimum 128-bit AES for most applications which is less secure than 256-bit. According to Apple’s website, 256-bit is only used for iCloud Keychain which is used for functions like credit card security. For data in transit, SSL is used with iCloud.com and iCould Mail. Secure tokens are used when other apps are used to access iCloud, and two-step verification is available for signing in with a new device or for making account changes. Like Dropbox, third-party apps like BoxCryptor can further protect your data by using 256-bit encryption.
Google’s move in recent years to having all apps (from Gmail to Drive to YouTube) accessible from one username and password makes security paramount. Fortunately, Google does have HTTPS for all of its services and two-step verification. Similar to iCloud, 128-bit AES is used for resting data. Like Dropbox, SSL encryption is used for in-transit data. Other features include notifications when new devices are enabled for a particular account. The major drawbacks with Google Drive are that it holds your data while also controlling encryption keys and that encryptions don’t hold after files have left the cloud server. Third-party apps can help mitigate these risks.
Microsoft OneDrive and Office 365
Microsoft OneDrive is a great tool that’s compatible with Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS devices. OneDrive also works closely with the collaboration tools Office 365. While OneDrive uses SSL encryption for in-transit data, no encryption is used for resting data for free users. The exception to this is with OneDrive for Business customers, where per file encryption is used. When it comes to security, Office 365 gives administrators the ability to see downloaded files and the frequency of log-ins. However, Microsoft does warn users not to use Office 365 to “transmit or store” cardholder data. This, by extension, also applies to OneDrive.
Understanding What’s Best for You
It’s important not to let perks like free space distract you when choosing your cloud storage provider. The providers we’ve covered have paid enterprise and business options that are very affordable. Third-party cybersecurity experts can also add levels of security to further protect your data.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that cloud security is a two-way street. Providing employees with proper training and best practices is just as important for security. Encryptions and passwords can only do so much if users themselves aren’t aware of vulnerabilities when sharing data. Creating a secure business environment requires effort and understanding from all employees. That way companies like yours can embrace the possibilities of cloud storage without the risks.