6 Steps For “De-Clouding” Yourself

computer 150x150 6 Steps For De Clouding YourselfWe have become increasingly dependent on lightening quick technology, so of course we’d expect nothing less when it comes to storing our data.  As if sent from tech heaven, the cloud has become the answer to this demand.  If you have access to the Internet, Cloud Computing wirelessly syncs your information, files, videos, pictures, etc. For many, this is a “say-no-more” convenience and will be their trusted method of data storage.  But for others, this cloud concept is concerning, and leads to questions about who else has access to our personal files.

Mashable suggests that for those of you who are worried about privacy and tracking, you need to decrease the amount of personal data and files you have stored online. Here are 6 steps you can take to “de-cloud” yourself:

  1. Use your computer’s hard drive instead of cloud storage.  To help eliminate the risk of third party data access, save files to your personal hard drive rather than the cloud.  Cloud-based services like Dropbox or Google Drive are great for efficiency and don’t take up much disk space, but they are more susceptible for to tracking. Mashable also suggests disk encryption, “A disk encryption password protects all of your hard drive’s data; even if it were physically removed, only those with the correct passwords could access or copy files. Both Mac and Windows have built-in disk encryption tools.”
  2. Use a traditional desktop email provider. If you use a locally installed email provider (ie. Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail), your emails will not be stored on the cloud.  Web-based email clients, on the other hand, do store your emails to cloud, and make you more susceptible to tracking.
  3. Bank offline. There is no question that online banking is quick and easy, but it also means you are computing private, personal information into the cloud. It may seem archaic, but there is security and trust in switching back to paper banking.
  4. Use a desktop photo app. Instead of storing your photos in online albums, like Flckr, consider keeping them online in your desktop photo app (i.e. iPhoto.) This ensures that your files are inaccessible to online trackers.
  5. Use a traditional word processor. While Google Docs and Adobe Buzzword are great for sharing documents and collaborating on projects, they as well leave your files susceptible to tracking. Stick to Microsoft Word or other word processors to ensure your document’s privacy.
  6. Use an encrypted USB drive. If you are moving data between machines, stick with the encrypting USB thumb drives rather than cloud-based services (i.e. email or Dropbox.)

To read the full article, visit http://mashable.com/2013/06/10/move-out-of-cloud.

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About Katie Burgoyne

I am the Communications Intern for the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, VA. I hail from Northern VA and am currently a senior at Villanova University majoring in Communications with a specialization in Public Relations.