5 Ways to Keep Your Information Secure in the Cloud

The beauty of cloud computing lies in the easy access you have to your data using any Internet-connected device. But without proper security precautions, you could be leaving yourself open to trouble.

In 2011, hacking groups like Lulzsec and Anonymous provoked an Internet firestorm by hacking major Web sites like Fox.com and online services like Sony's PlayStation Network. Millions of user accounts were compromised. Usernames, passwords, home addresses and credit card information -- lax Web site security often allows hackers easy access to boatloads of personal information. We can blame corporations for poor security and hackers for maliciously attacking Web sites, but there's a third party often at fault in these attacks: ourselves, the users.

No, it's not our fault Web sites get hacked. But poor Web safety habits put us at risk when we shouldn't be. How often do you use the same username and password? Every time you create a new profile? If someone hacked your Facebook account, could they just as easily get into your e-mail inbox? Reusing passwords -- or using weak passwords -- makes you an easy target for identity theft. Remembering multiple passwords can be a pain, but there are Web services that can help. We'll talk about one of the most popular options later in this article.

Internet cloud services -- services that store your data on a server rather than on your hard drive so you can access it from any Internet-enabled device -- are more powerful than ever before. Backing up photographs and important documents has never been easier. Google Docs and Gmail can take the place of Microsoft Word and Outlook Express. Banking sites take the place of expensive finance applications. All we have to do is be safe while we use them. Here are some simple safety tips for keeping your data secure in the cloud. First up: making your passwords as tough to crack as Fort Knox.