The cloud has surged in popularity over the past several years, and it’s often touted as a great place to store all of your business files and personal documents. And while the cloud is a great place to store most things, there are still some types of documents that shouldn’t be stored in the cloud.

Storing sensitive data in the cloud has always been a questionable practice. With all of the news recently about businesses and celebrities being hacked, it’s important that you think about what you store in the cloud.

Passwords

Usernames and passwords are the virtual keys that can unlock your digital life. If you’re like most people, you probably have a bunch of different passwords, and it can be difficult to remember all of them. Keeping track of all of those passwords can be exhausting, and you may be tempted to keep them all in a document that you store in the cloud. Keeping your passwords in the cloud is dangerous. If someone were to hack into your account, they now have access to your bank accounts, credit card accounts and other personal information.

Personally identifiable information

Any type of personal information that can be tied back to you, your employees or your customers should never be stored in the cloud. Personally identifiable information includes things such as passports, your date of birth, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, social security cards, credit card information, and more. This type of information should be kept on secure servers if it needs to be stored somewhere digitally.

Tax information

Data thieves are always trying to get their hands on company tax information, and this is bad news for businesses. Although the IRS is a large organization, it’s still difficult for businesses to get their tax theft cases resolved quickly. Storing your business’ tax information in the cloud makes your business an even bigger target for theft.

Pirated or illegal content

You shouldn’t have this type of content in general, but if you do, the worst place to store it is on the cloud. Files that you store in the cloud can be subjected to search and seizure by the government, and they can subpoena any cloud storage provider, forcing them to give the government access to all of your content. The best thing you can do to avoid this from happening is to not have pirated or illegal content in the first place.

What can you keep in the cloud?

Even though the cloud isn’t safe for certain types of information, there are still plenty of things you can (and should) store in the cloud. Here are some of the things that are safe to store in the cloud:

  • Email: Most email services are housed in the cloud anyway, so there really isn’t much option if you’re using any major email service provider. As long as you keep your username and password in a secure location, your emails will be safe in the cloud.
  • Basic data files: Storing files such as Word documents and presentations in the cloud can actually be incredibly beneficial for small business owners. This allows you to access your files from any computer, tablet or phone at any time and allows for collaboration among your team.
  • Photos and videos: For the most part, it’s safe to store photos and videos in the cloud. Like with basic data files, storing your photos and videos in the cloud gives you access to them from a variety of devices, and it makes it easier to share these files with friends and family.

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