Awareness : Newsletter Articles

“Store it on the Cloud”: What You Need to Know About Cloud-Based File Solutions

“Store it on the cloud” – We are all familiar with this phrase but what exactly is the “cloud”? “Cloud” is a buzzword used to describe a network of servers with different functions housed in difference places throughout the world. Some functions include providing online services, such as Microsoft 365, or storing and accessing online data. Cloud computing provides access to computer files and programs over the Internet. This means that data is saved to an off-site storage system maintained by a third party rather than on your computer’s hard drive. This is a convenient way to ensure all important files are in an accessible place and also eliminates problems of the past, such as running out of space on your hard drive.

The University currently has three approved cloud-based data storage and file-sharing solutions Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. These solutions must be utilized using UM credentials and enable faculty, staff and students to easily store and manage content in a secure online environment, as well as share files and collaborate with individuals and teams so everyone has the latest versions. While there are three approved storage solutions, Box is the recommended cloud storage option for departmental, team, and project accounts. Box allows users to set passwords, set permissions on folders and has automatic backup with 30-day file recovery.

When used appropriately, the cloud delivers the convenience of being able to access files from anywhere in the world and at any time… but with great power, comes great responsibility! Cloud storage vendors are vetted by UMIT and must enter into an agreement with the University in an effort to protect University assets. In the event of a data breach, the University is protected if the vendor has signed a Business Associate Agreement.

Here are essential tips for storing data on the cloud:

  • Never store confidential information on public cloud services, even the ones that claim to be HIPAA compliant.
  • Only use cloud storage vendors that have a Business Associate Agreement in place with the University.
  • Approved cloud storage solutions must be accessed with UM credentials. You may NOT use your personal email accounts to access or store PHI.
  • Never share your credentials or allow someone else to access your account.
  • Always log out of accounts when not in use.
  • Never allow your web browser to “remember” your username and password.
  • Only access accounts from a secure Wi-Fi network. Contact UMIT to obtain a VPN if needed.
  • Frequently review which users have access to shared files and documents stored in your account.
  • Ensure passwords are strong and changed often.

For additional information, please contact UMIT or visit the UMIT Box website.

Advisory: In summer 2020, the University of Miami will be streamlining cloud storage offerings by migrating all data from Box to Microsoft OneDrive. Click here to learn more about this important initiative.