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Is It Possible To Delete Files Completely In The Cloud?

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Why You Need to Reconsider Using Cloud Services

Storing data in the cloud may not be secure, since users are not guaranteed to have a full control over deleting their files from servers.

When it comes to storing digital data, seemingly simple processes may require additional steps an average user is not aware of. Whether you have files on your hard drive or in the cloud, it is not that easy to delete them permanently.  

Firstly, you have no full control over your SSD. To make solid state drives function longer, manufacturers use a wear leveling technique. Because of it, you cannot remove files safely, as they just become invisible for the system and may be stored on your SSD for years on blocks protected from rewriting. The only way to protect data from restoration and avoid reinstalling OS is to use encryption.

Secondly, users often forget to get rid of copies that have been created unintentionally. There are apps that identify and delete duplicate files on Macs and Windows PCs. However, it will not be enough if you have other duplicates stored in the cloud.

Most cloud services state that their users have a possibility to remove files irrevocably. It means they commit not just to mark data as deleted, but make it non-existent and unrestorable. For example, in Google Drive you can go to the Trash and delete your files permanently and after this you can expect that that service will not be able to help you if you change your mind.

However, there is no guarantee that the service provider’s documentation reflects the true situation. Your inability to restore your information does not necessarily mean it does not exist somewhere: on all company’s servers or a part of them.

The thing is companies set up priorities based on the potential revenue. Of course, to attract and retain customers, cloud service providers take care of their reputation. However, what brings them money is their data storage service, not permanent data deletion service. Obviously, they care even less about information that was deleted by people who are no longer their customers. Moreover, they may be obliged to cooperate with governments and store information for some time without taking enough measures to ensure its safety.

So it really matters what service provider you choose. Some of them erase all your information from their servers based on your request, and some of them do not. That is why it is difficult to answer the question mentioned in the topic. It depends.  

In order to secure sensitive data, people have to be more careful and consider different ways of storing sensitive information and various cloud service providers before sending it to the cloud. For example, it is better not to use personal accounts for storing corporate information that is an object of interest for your competitors. If you have no choice, you can take additional measures and encrypt data (although this solution is technically demanding) and keep abreast of the latest cloud solutions.

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Gregory Stewens

Gregory Stewens

Freelance Freelance marketing specialist with 5 years of experience in the field.View Gregory Stewens`s profile for more
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