From today’s mail bag
I’m concerned that storing data on cloud servers like iCloud and Dropbox leaves me vulnerable to security breaches and loss of confidentiality of my personal data. I noticed that Adobe is pushing hard in this direction with their Creative Cloud offerings. What can I do to protect myself?
You’ve posed a very good question. While I don’t feel I have the type of advanced security training and background to provide a complete answer, I can offer these comments on this very important and timely topic.
First, start with the premise that any file you store onto a computerized system that you don’t have exclusive control over is subject to nightly backups and review by a third party. While it’s usually ok to store non-sensitive documents like user guides and web page archives, avoid uploading unencrypted files containing personal data like passwords, birth dates, credit card information, and social security numbers.
With regards to your Creative Cloud concerns, I have found that the standalone, desktop version of Adobe Photoshop (the one Adobe app I use) is currently sufficient for my needs. For this reason, I have not made the switch to Creative Cloud.
WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT of the cloud server bin! Instead, keep the files stored on your local (internal or external) hard drive and maintain a regular backup regimen. Use a standard and reliable backup tool like Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! to periodically clone the entire contents of your hard drive onto other storage medium that you keep offsite in a safe location. If you prefer to use Time Machine as your backup program, use that application, instead.
The key is to back up your data on a regular basis. Depending on the nature of your work and how much data you generate, you may wish to clone your main hard drives at least once a week (or even once a day). Many small businesses have found it useful to rotate their backups among two, three, or even five external drives – one of which they keep offsite in a safe location. The choice is yours.