Keeping your files safe and secure
Cloud storage simply means storing your files on servers on the internet. As members of Trent, that means Google and Microsoft's storage servers.
Using the cloud to keep your files safe, secure and accessible at all times is easier than you might think.
Cloud options for members of Trent
If you are a student, you have access to Google Drive with no space restrictions, as well as your Trent H: drive.
If you are a staff or faculty member you have access to one terabyte of storage on OneDrive and access to creating SharePoint sites. Not to mention your H: and S: drives.
This lets you not only store your files in an off-site location (either our own servers, or Google/Microsoft’s), but also to store them securely. Anything stored on Google Drive or OneDrive/SharePoint on the web is encrypted. (Note that this isn’t necessarily the case when using the Google Drive and OneDrive app to sync those files to your computer, so keep that in mind if you have a requirement to work on sensitive data.)
Regarding sensitive data, we have a Handling Sensitive Information Policy here at Trent and all of us have a responsibility to protect sensitive information (personally identified able information, research etc). That sounds mildly scary, but it’s surprisingly easy. With our H and S drives, and the solutions above, it’s as easy as just making use of the available tools; saving files in the right place and not locally on your computer (unless it’s encrypted, that discussion is for another article).
Become impervious to device failure
Every year around mid-term and exam time we in IT make sure the Service Desk is stocked with tissues. Without fail we get multiple students bringing their computers and their tears to the Service desk. Computers seem to know exactly the worst time to die, taking final papers and study materials with them.
This type of scenario is easily avoided. If important files are always stored in the Cloud, you completely remove the risk of device failure causing data loss.
If the students in the above example had known this prior, their only loss would be that of their computer only. Their priceless pictures, files, study notes, thesis, would be safe and sound in the Cloud.
The device as a window to your files
Once you get your digital life in the cloud, it’s very freeing. You are no longer tied to any specific device. You can access any of your files from any device, including your smartphone. The device itself essentially becomes a window to your files instead of being the storage and single point of failure for your files. This makes you much more mobile, which has become quite an important trait recently, and probably from this point on.
Our new mobile way of life may not go away fully when COVID restrictions do, so now is the perfect time to adapt this new way of working.
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Stavros Tzagadouris - Level 1 Information Security Officer - Trent University