The Cloud

The Cloud The Cloud

Cloud storage—also referred to as "the cloud,"—involves storing data online rather than on a computer hard drive. Data can be accessed by any device and by multiple people simultaneously, which makes cloud storage an invaluable tool for research and collaboration.

There are several cloud storage options available to University students, faculty, and staff, including: Box, Google Drive, SharePoint, and OneDrive:

  • Box: Box ( provides a safe storage for sensitive data, and is a service that adheres to the highest industry standards of security and encryption—meaning it complies with HIPAA requirements. Whether you need to secure confidential business information or are trying to simplify paper-based office processes, Box can help you do more with your content.
  • Google Drive: While Google Drive ( is in the cloud, you can also install the desktop and mobile application to access your files from your computer, smartphone, tablet, or other Android or iOS mobile device. Drive's built-in sync capability ensures that your files, folders, and documents are the same on all your devices.
  • SharePoint: As part of your University Office 365 subscription, and accessible via the U’s online email portal (, you have automatic access to SharePoint. With SharePoint, you can organize and share files with your colleagues and peers. You can create Microsoft Office files, e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., online, so multiple people can edit and collaborate in real-time.
  • OneDrive: Similar to Microsoft SharePoint, OneDrive ( automatically comes with your Office 365 subscription and can be used to create online Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. This option can be used for storing documents that you work on individually and will share later, in addition to real-time collaboration with a colleague, peer, or team.

Below are some of the benefits of working and storing data via secure cloud networks:
  • Online software is always up-to-date. While computer software may not be updated regularly, cloud storage is automatically updated because it is online.
  • Files do not take up space on your computer. Since files are stored online, you do not have to worry about filling up your device's hard drive.
  • Data is accessible from anywhere. Using cloud storage does not limit your files to just one computer. Files stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere with a stable Internet connection.
  • Files are updated in real-time. There is no need to email updated copies of documents back and forth, when you can work on a file simultaneously with your coworker or peer. Real-time collaboration keeps everyone on track with projects and also allows groups in different locations to work together seamlessly.

#BeCyberSmart and follow these tips to stay secure while using the cloud:
  • Be wary of uploading unknown files to the cloud. If a malicious file is uploaded to the cloud, it can infect several devices.
  • Regularly check who has access to your files. People frequently join and leave projects; make sure only those who need access to your files have permission.
  • Use a strong password and multi-factor authentication (MFA). If someone gains access to your cloud account, then they could access your data from anywhere. Make sure to protect your account to the fullest capacity, including enabling MFA whenever possible.
  • Turn on account login alerts. This will notify you if there has been a new login attempt you are not aware of.
  • Check connected apps and devices. Make sure only the applications and devices that you trust are signed into your cloud account.

Have questions? We're here to help!

If you have questions about cybersecurity, or if you want to learn more about how to stay safe online, contact the Information Security Office (ISO) at: