Is Personal Information Safe In The Cloud?

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Cloud computing is the wave of the future. We’re not talking about weather, but the term used for online storage. Millions of people are using it to store all kinds of documents. People like Jeremy Kossler, a sales executive who needs all of his data to travel with him. “All my notes that I take at a client meeting can go right into my phone and I can access it from anywhere,” he said.

Convenience is clearly the biggest draw of the cloud. Save the file on one device and it’s available on any computer, anywhere in the world. For some files, like your music library, it’s a great option according to Chris Eng, executive vice president of Veracode in Burlington. “It’s perfectly fine for your music, your photos maybe, videos, notes to be accessible from anywhere and that’s the convenience of the cloud,” he said.

Music is one thing, but what about personal or financial information, is it safe in the cloud? According to Eng nothing is foolproof. He says every website that uses cloud storage has vulnerabilities, but some sites like or have a greater incentive to protect your information.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

“That’s their main reason for being there is to store your stuff for you. You are their customer,” he said. But that’s not necessarily the case with all companies that use cloud storage. Eng says Gmail stores all of your emails on the cloud and facebook uses the cloud to store all of its user information, but they may not be looking out for you. “With social networking sites, you are not the customer; you are the product. They have no motivation to protect that information. Your information is what they are selling,” Eng explained.

Many people who are active on social networking sties know to keep track of their privacy settings and to be selective about the things they share. Eng advises users to be equally as cautious when storing documents on the cloud. “Do you really need your tax documents to be accessible from anywhere in the world?” he asked.

According to Eng, there are some complicated ways to encrypt documents stored in the cloud, but he said it can be cumbersome for the average user. He suggests storing sensitive documents on your home computer and back them up on a simple hard drive. If it’s vital information, you could even store that backup drive in a safe deposit box.

More from Paula Ebben
  • Concerned

    I will never store my info in the cloud. Why? What happens if the business that has stored your data goes bankrupt? All bets are off! All contracts can be voided or renegotiated. The buyer of the business now owns everything, including your data. Will you ever see it again? Who will access your data? Can you count on your data being encrypted? Your encryption may have a “back door” access to it.

  • Jon Doer

    NO !!! Anytime anything is connected to a network, it is open to the risk of data theft. Business sites are constantly under attack from hackers intent on stealing data — and they probably succeed more than we know. We only know those that are reported by the press! What makes anyone think the cloud will be immune from successful attacks?

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