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How Safe is Online Data Storage?

Priyanka Kosta Sonkushre
Many online data storage service providers have flourished in recent times claiming secure storage of data. Let's find out whether these services are safe enough to store important information online.
DVDs and hard drives have long been used for storing data. Data storage is a necessity so as to retrieve the required information later, at any point of time. To obtain necessary data at a later stage, it is important to store the data in a safe and secure place. Hard drives and DVDs are a good option, but, have their share of disadvantages.
These storage devices can crash due to hardware failure or get lost, resulting in loss of data. To solve this problem, data storage service providers have come up with online data storage to protect and store an immense amount of data, generated in this digital age.
Though offline storage devices are always available, but it is said that storing data online is an extremely secure way of keeping data. We can question the safety of online data storage to rest assured that if our data will be secured forever choosing this medium of storage.

Why is Online Data Storage Considered Safe

Storing data online is safer than offline storage because of the several measures that service providers take to ensure data safety. These security measures are definitely not available in offline data storage. Mentioned here are some of the service providers that have taken various safety measures to protect data stored online.

Pre-upload File Encryption

Data files are stored on the server. Before being uploaded on the server, every file is encrypted using an algorithm. This algorithm is derived using a 'key', which is in turn derived from the password that the client creates to access the file. The algorithm used is quite complex and cannot be broken easily to gain access to the data stored in the file.
When encryption is done, the file is uploaded on the server and can be accessed from anywhere in the world through the Internet. To open an formerly encrypted online file, password has to be entered. If the password doesn't match the one set by the client, the file fails to open. Thus, only the client with the right password can retrieve the stored data.

Secure Socket Layer Encryption for Data Transfer

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is an encryption technique that is used as a standard to transfer data from the client's computer to the server and back. This security measure is also used for web communications. In this technique, a software is installed on the client's computer and the server, that forms a link between the two.
When data is transferred from the client's computer, the server identifies it and forms a secure connection between the two, to facilitate uninterrupted data transfer without any loss. Hackers generally steal information during data transfer, but with SSL in place, the chances of such losses are greatly minimized.

Server-Side Encryption of Files

If pre-upload file encryption is not possible on the client's side due to poor speed of connection, many service providers have the option of server-side encryption. In this, encryption of data files is done after they are stored on the server.
The passwords generated by server-side encryption are available with the client and data center administrators. If the service provider is reliable, the passwords are strictly available only to those who need to know about them and the client.

Safety at Data Centers

A data center is a place that manages all the data, stored online. Several servers are in a single data center. Each server is usually enclosed in a cage which is under lock and key, controlled by a user name and password. Not all servers are accessible even to administrators.
Many other safety features like access cards, 6-digit door codes, hand scanners and fingerprint readers are used to ensure a secure environment for the stored data.

Use of RAID

Redundant Array of Independent Disks or RAID is set up in highly secure data centers. RAID helps in retrieving data from a failed hard disk. When a hard disk fails, all the data stored is transferred to a fresh, new hard disk by the help of an algorithm. Thus, client data is not lost and safety is maintained.
Along with these high-tech security features, data centers are well-equipped to handle situations like fire, natural calamities, etc. After looking at these high-end security measures we can confidently say that storing data online is safe to a large extent.
However, we cannot completely waive the possibility of security breach or data loss because it is difficult to achieve 100% security. To be on the safer side, one must create two backups of data so that even if one fails, you always have the other backup in place.