Over the last 20 years, digital files of all description have replaced their analogue ancestors. Databases, blueprints and all manner of company files and are now created and stored digitally. CADs have replaced blueprints, resting on servers and clouds rather than filing cabinets. The convenience is immense. Files can be accessed on the go, anywhere in the world. International business has never been easier, but the convenience comes with a very heavy privacy price.

If you utilize a cloud for storage then your data rests on someone else’s server, someone else’s computer. It is simply not safe, but businesses are still relocating data to the cloud at an unprecedented rate. A recent survey by McAfee found that most organizations store some or all of their sensitive data in the public cloud, with only 16 percent not storing any sensitive data in the cloud. Security remains poor and a heavy reliance on the cloud is cited as the main reason for a data breach. A recent report by Kaspersky put the average cost of a cyber attack on businesses from 2017 to 2018 up 24 percent from the previous year, and 38 percent higher than losses from 2015–2016. The report states that small and medium businesses lose $120,000 per cyber incident on average — $32,000 more than the previous 12 months.

But if the NSA and the CIA—perhaps the most cyber paranoid entities in the world—are avid users of the cloud, you can bet that it can be safe as houses. The NSA is moving most of its mission data to the cloud, while the Pentagon is planning to use its JEDI cloud to hold top secret US national security data. The NSA has already moved most of the data it collects, analyzes and stores into a classified cloud computing environment called the Intelligence Community GovCloud. The IC GovCloud is NSA’s creation. Data including foreign surveillance and intelligence information are pooled into this single lake so it is easier for entitled NSA staff to find.

The cloud can be safe as houses as long as you employ a good encryption method. As long as the data is protected with encryption and passwords, you can stick in cloud or anywhere else and no one can steal it or have a peek. As Sean Roche, associate deputy director of the CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate said recently: “Security is an absolutely existential need for everything we do at the agency—the cloud on its weakest day is more secure than a client service solution. Encryption runs seamlessly on multiple levels. It’s been nothing short of transformational.”

The benefits of cloud computing are true for the CIA and NSA just as they are for a small business owner or your average user. As long as you have an internet connection, the cloud offers an infinite space where data can be sent, received, and stored seamlessly. As long as you employ encryption, your data is sealed. But not all encryption methods are created equal. Advanced Encryption Standard 256 (AES-256) is considered the safest encryption algorithm. It’s the one the US government, the NSA, and International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) use to protect classified information and national security systems. It’s also the method used in our privacy app, get2Clouds. If five supercomputers could check a trillion AES keys per second (no devices exist) it would still take trillions upon trillions of years for them to exhaust the 256-bit key space.  So if your data is protected using that, any hacker that gets their hands on it will only see binary junk. They wouldn’t even be able to tell what kind of document it is.

But it’s not just company and client files that rest in the cloud and need protecting. All digital communications and digital file sharing essentially moves through a cloud and can be hacked by malicious third parties. All data in transit; every single email and message. The recent Collection #1 data dump which exposed 773 million email addresses and their passwords is the latest in a long list of incidents that show how laughably insecure email is. That wasn’t even the biggest email hack. Last year Yahoo announced that every single one of its email accounts had been. Emails are the go-to cash cow for hackers, and they’re far too heavily relied upon in the business world.

Email was initially made for programmers to talk to each other openly in the early days of the web, but it went on to become the postal service of the online world. We don’t consider it data storage, but it’s just one big unsafe cloud where immense quantities of communications, contacts and attachments are stored. Email is a dated and insecure means of sending and receiving files and messages. That’s it. The privacy app get2Clouds does everything email does and more. It is a secure messenger, large file transfer, cloud sync that works with all major cloud providers and the corporate packages include unlimited cloud storage space.

Most importantly, every action taken in the bubble of get2Clouds is protected with AES 256. The patented data transfer technology used within the app to send and receive files already secures over one billion downloads annually for the industrial automation sector. Instead of an email address, users are automatically assigned a 555 number when they register the app on their device or PC. Numbers can be changed to phone numbers or a 555 number of the user’s choosing. It is the only free messenger where users don’t have to register their SIM number. It also means it works just as well on SIM-less devices.

get2Clouds works with all major cloud providers so users can encrypt the data in their private clouds but they can also secure and send files via their network attached storage (NAS), making their NAS their own private cloud. This is the perfect solution for smaller businesses that do not need to buy cloud space. This way, they can store their data locally and securely.