A reader has a question about using Microsoft’s cloud storage site, OneDrive.

“How accessible to hackers are our docs when saved here? And, what prevents someone (maybe someone working for MS with access to OneDrive) from tampering with our docs? How safe is our personal stuff? Saving to OneDrive would have saved a lot of time when my PC was hacked recently.”

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Actually, OneDrive is pretty safe. There really haven’t been any reports of any major third-party breaches of security. The greater threat is that someone loads malware onto your computer and is able to access your passwords. That person can then get to your email, cloud storage accounts, bank accounts, etc…

Besides making sure to have a strong password, you should also enable two-factor authentication on your Microsoft account. That way if someone attempts to log in from a strange location or device, they’ll need to answer an additional question. Even better, use the Microsoft authenticator app on a smartphone. You’ll have to approve access to your account from the app.

I suppose it’s possible someone from Microsoft could get into your documents but it isn’t like ordinary employees have access to your passwords and your documents. I can’t access the passwords to customer accounts on my own website. I can reset their passwords but I can’t read them. Anyone who wanted to get into user accounts would have to hack in and would probably get into big trouble at work.

Companies generally only let law enforcement in with a court order and for the most part, they fight them on the matter if they are allowed.

Saving to cloud backup like OneDrive is a great timesaver if your PC is compromised, fails, or is destroyed. I also backup documents to an external hard drive. The problem with only having an external hard drive backup is that an event that destroys your PC like a fire, flood, or theft will likely also destroy your hard drive.

No method is 100% safe. But in general, OneDrive combined with good security practices is a fairly safe way to store your documents.