Have you ever noticed that when you enable Photo Stream on your iPhone, all your pictures, including the ones you don't want your girlfriend to see, are easily available for anyone to view on that iPad that lives on your coffee table? Have you ever uploaded something to cloud storage, realized it was too sensitive, then deleted it later? Do you know that there's a strong possibility a backup copy of that file is still being stored, so anyone with access to your account can still get it? If not, you've never heard of Jennifer Lawrence.
When you store files in the cloud—the network of remote servers hosted on the Net by various businesses and used to store data—the chief benefit is easy access to your files, from anywhere, and peace of mind, knowing that if you lose your computer, you won’t lose all your stuff.
But the cloud comes with very real risks. If you need more evidence of that, look no further than all the celebrities, including the aforementioned J-Law, who’ve had their cloud accounts hacked over the past year. And while you might not be uploading naked photos of yourself that you’re worried about getting leaked, you’re likely entrusting other sensitive items—work files, tax returns, credit card info—that hackers would love to get their hands on.
So think hard about what service is right for you, what you choose to upload, and how to keep it all locked down (or up) for good.