How Secure Is Amazon Cloud Drive?

May 25, 2020 • Devin Partida

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As one of tech’s “Big Five,” Amazon offers a variety of online services. Its cloud storage solution, Amazon Cloud Drive, provides an alternative to other tech giants’ offerings like Google Drive, iCloud and OneDrive. Amazon Cloud Drive gives users a familiar and trusted name — but how secure is it?

Security is a top concern when it comes to choosing a cloud storage solution. Worries over security are the leading barrier to cloud adoption, accounting for 57% of users’ concerns over the matter. With cybersecurity being such a prominent issue, cloud storage solutions need to be secure.

Many companies use Amazon Web Services to sustain different parts of their business. That doesn’t mean the same advantages carry over into Amazon Cloud Drive, though. The newest version of Amazon Cloud Drive comes with added security benefits, but some persistent downsides remain.

Pros

Amazon Cloud Drive uses the same network as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), a highly-regarded cloud storage system. S3 isn’t primarily a security solution, but it comes with several security benefits. Perhaps most notable is its redundant backup system, which allows users to recover lost data if something happens.

This network is famous for being scalable, so users can expand without worrying about needing further security. If users want to use their own cybersecurity methods with S3, they can do so without much trouble. The network’s scalability and recovery feature are part of why online services like Dropbox use it for their operations.

Amazon Cloud Drive also supports two-factor authentication for logging into its service. Given that stolen credentials accounted for more than 60% of data breaches in 2019, this is a helpful feature. Two-factor authentication doesn’t come standard, but users can opt-in without trouble.

To turn on this feature, users can go through their Amazon account page. With two-factor authentication, weak passwords don’t pose as significant a threat as they would otherwise.

Cons

Despite these advantages, Amazon Cloud Drive is far from perfect when it comes to security. Having to turn on two-factor authentication manually may prevent some users from using it at all. Still, this concern is relatively minor — but that’s not the case with the service’s most glaring shortcoming.

Unlike many other cloud providers, Amazon Cloud Drive does not offer at-rest encryption. If someone successfully hacked into a user’s account, they would have no trouble accessing and reading all of the files. The lack of at-rest encryption could potentially be a major security risk.

With the service’s backup feature, users could recover any stolen files. Without encryption, though, if any of these files were sensitive, recovering them is only half the problem. Hackers would be able to see everything they get their hands on, including any personal data that may be on the cloud.

Over the last four years, encryption use has gone up 21% among public cloud services. This security feature is becoming standard, but Amazon Cloud Drive still doesn’t offer it. It may be just one disadvantage, but it’s a serious one.

The Final Verdict on Amazon Cloud Drive

Overall, it is a reasonably secure cloud service provider. The underlying platform behind the service has stood the test of time and proved its worth in other companies. Any conversation about Amazon Drive’s security should mention it’s lack of encryption, though.

Not offering at-rest data encryption is a significant mark against Amazon Cloud Drive’s security. It’s especially unreasonable given how common this feature is across similar cloud solutions. With Amazon’s other security features, though, it isn’t as severe an issue as it could be.

With inclusions like two-factor authentication, it provides trustworthy defenses for keeping hackers out. The only downside is that if hackers do get into an account, the data isn’t protected any further. Like much of society’s digital landscape, Amazon Cloud Drive is mostly secure, but not as much as it could be.



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