How to Defend Data When It’s in the Cloud

Many people have their heads in the cloud—cloud-based computer services, that is—and they don’t even know it. Consumers access and share information using remote server networks whenever they log on to social networks, like LinkedIn or Facebook, edit photos on Flickr, blog with WordPress, or create files using Google Docs. These are examples of cloud computing, which, simply defined, is how we store and share data, applications and computing power on the Internet. Here are some tips to protect your data in the cloud:

1. Read the Terms of Service before placing any information in the cloud. If you don’t understand the Terms of Service, consider using a different cloud provider.

2. Don’t put anything in the cloud you would not want others to see, especially the government or a private litigant.

3. Pay close attention if the cloud provider reserves rights to use, disclose, or make public your information.

4. Read the privacy policy before placing your information in the cloud. If you don’t understand the policy, consider using a different provider.

5. Know exactly what happens when you remove your data from the cloud provider. Does the cloud provider still retain rights to your information? If so, consider whether that makes a difference to you.

6. Make sure that the cloud provider gives advance-notice of any change in the terms of service or privacy policy.