How Can The Cloud Protect Us From Identity Theft?
More than 600 million Internet users will store data on the cloud by the end of the year, techcrunch.com reports. If you’re using anything from online banking to iTunes, you’re using the cloud.
Our business files have moved to the cloud, our audio and visual media have moved to the cloud—even children’s video games are making the switch. But people are asking: How safe is it in the cloud? Can cloud storage protect us against the threat of identity theft, which has been growing every year as technology becomes more entwined in our lives?
Advanced Encryption Protocols
Cloud storage systems usually have advanced encryption protocols, some of them approaching or even meeting military-grade standards. By keeping all confidential information on a secured cloud network, individuals and businesses alike can protect themselves from the possibility of a data security breach that could lead to identity theft. However, even with encryption, data will only be as safe as the user makes it. A single lost password or pass phrase may bring the whole system crumbling down.
The Move From Paper
Shifting everything to the cloud moves the user away from paper. One of the most common ways identity thieves get access to personal information isn’t the Internet, but actually paper documents that aren’t shredded. Many thieves will sort through the trash or go through the mail to find bank statements, credit card statements and loan qualifications. These thieves will be out of luck, however, if their target has decided to obtain and store everything in non-physical media. This will also ensure none of your documents are ever lost.
Access to Backup
The cloud also enables users to connect to backup copies of their important documentation from anywhere with an Internet connection. If you’re visiting another country and your wallet is stolen, you can log into your cloud to get the necessary information to retrieve your documents, cancel credit cards and notify your financial institutions. Reacting quickly to the threat of identity theft is one of the major ways people can protect themselves from it.
Winning the war against identity theft is about prevention. While cloud technology may provide some tools for the prevention of identity theft, there are still many things people should do to keep safe:
- Never throw away documents that contain sensitive information—shred them
- Never give out personal information to third parties you have not verified
- If you believe your identity may have been compromised, immediately contact your financial institutions
- If you wish to secure your identity further, visit sites like www.lifelock.com, identityguard, ProtectMyID or a similar identity theft protection service
Have you used cloud storage to help protect against identity theft? Tell us how in the comments.
By Fred Wong
(Image Source: ShutterStock)