Data privacy: How safe is your data in the cloud? What about patient medical data?

We are using the cloud more and more. As Internet connections get faster and more reliable, the convenience of having all our data available on all our devices becomes ever more attractive.

However, there are disadvantages to using cloud services, particularly the free of charge ones that still have to make a profit somehow. There are many valid, albeit scary, questions you’ll want to mull over before trusting a third party to keep your data safe and we’ve listed them below.

The answers, as you will discover, in this feature are generally not what you want to hear:

  • Privacy – is your data stored or is it being mined for advertising and marketing purposes?
  • Reliability – can you be certain that the service you’re using will always be available? What guarantees do you have regarding the safety of your data and is there anything you can do to improve this?
  • Security – is your data encrypted? Who has access to the encryption keys? Could your data be hacked or stolen?
  • Continuity – Can the cloud provider suspend or cancel your account, possibly even losing all your data, for any reason?
  • Performance – Is your Internet connection fast enough to use the services you want without delays?
  • Copyright – who owns the content you upload? Can your photos be sold or published without your consent?

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