Friday, January 6, 2017

File Access Anytime Anywhere

Happy New Year! And may it be safe one. Today marks the publication of my first blog post in English. Since Naturalis is an international institute with many colleagues who haven't quite mastered the finesses of the Dutch language and can't make too much sense of the automatic machine translation Google has to offer, I hope they will find the topics I share through this information security (#infosec) blog useful. So please, by all means, leave a comment, they're always greatly appreciated!

In this installment I'd like to draw some attention to the many advantages cloud storage, such as Google Drive has brought us. It ensures us safe access to important information across a myriad of on-line connected devices, such as notebooks, desktops, tablets and phones. And the best thing of all, since we can directly access the storage location, there's no need to copy files to portable drive media such as USB flash drives. Safety and confidentiality is greatly increased by using Google's Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) 2-step Verification and securing your device with a password, a PIN or other form of protection.

Over the last year there has been increased focus on the need for awareness with regard to the topic of the protection of sensitive private data. On January first of last year (2016), the The Dutch Data Protection Authority was installed as the Dutch Data Protection Act became effective. EU legislation governing the protection of privacy is being prepared and will become effective on May 6th of next year (2018).

In order to comply with stricter rules and serious legal enforcement (The DPA can issue fines of up to € 820,000.00) it would be prudent not to use any portable device to store sensitive data. This advice is not limited to portable drive media such as hard drives and flash drives, but really to any portable device including laptops, tablets and phones.

It's good to note, that Google Drive complies with recently adopted Privacy Shield Framework after the Court of Justice of the EU ruled the so-called Safe Harbor directive of the EC did not ensure a level of protection mandated by law. Also Google Drive as offered through your Naturalis Google account offers storage of up to 2PB (!) (1 petabyte = 1,000 terabyte or TB). So you probably won't run out of storage space any time soon.

Have a good weekend and be safe!

Robert van Geenen | Information Security Officer