Online File Storage

Published on March 12th, 2013 | by Mark

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SkyDrive

Part of Microsoft’s Live suite of applications.  It is a file hosting service that allows users to upload and sync files to a cloud storage and then access them online or on their computer.

Touching The Sky

To start using SkyDrive, you need to have a Microsoft account which can be created from the SkyDrive homepage by clicking on the ‘Sign up now’ link at the bottom of the screen.  This will take you to a form which you need to fill in with personal details such as: name, date of birth and gender, country and postal code.

You are also required to choose an account name which can be any valid email address you have and input a password.  The password must have at least eight characters and contain at least two of the following: upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols.  You also have to give your mobile phone number or choose to set up a security question to help reset your password in case you lose it.

Have a Safe Flight

SkyDrive uses a secure https connection by default and there is no need to set this up manually through your account settings.  Users can also set up two-step verification to add more security to their account.  To switch on two-step verification, go to https://account.live.com/proofs/Manage and click on ‘Set up two-step verification’.  You will be asked to add your mobile phone number and an alternative email address so that you can receive security codes to access your services.

There is also the option to download an authenticator app on your smartphone or tablet so that you can get your security codes even if you’re not connected to a network or there is no mobile coverage.  On SkyDrive, you can easily edit the visibility of your data to decide which files are private, public or available to anyone who has a link by clicking on the sharing options on the file or folder properties on the right-hand side of the screen.

Security Settings on Your Left and Right

Since SkyDrive is part of Microsoft Live’s online suite of services, your security settings are available from the central Microsoft account settings page that can be accessed through https://account.live.com.  Under the ‘Overview’ list, you have the options to easily change your password as well as to access security info related to your account.  To review your security info you will be asked to input a special code that can be sent directly to your phone or an alternative email address, although this extra layer of security can be turned off.  On this page you can: enter or modify your phone number, alternative email address, security question, set up two-step validation and check the list of trusted devices that connect to your account.

Personal Data on SkyDrive

SkyDrive is covered by the Microsoft Live privacy policy that covers how and what personal information is collected and how it is used.  When you register for a SkyDrive account your personal information may be combined with that from other Microsoft services you use.  The information collected this way or recorded from cookies is used for the display of personalized content and advertising.  Microsoft may also use this data to let you know of other products or services offered by Microsoft and its affiliates, or to send you surveys related to its services.  According to its Online Privacy Notice, Microsoft does not sell, rent, or lease our customer lists to third parties.  However in order to help it provide services, some information may be occasionally provided to other companies that work on its behalf on a strictly confidential basis.

If The Sky Falls Down

Since SkyDrive is an integral part of your Live account, you cannot remove it separately although you can easily delete all the data that is stored on it and not use it anymore.  If you want to delete the account entirely, access your Account Settings page on https://account.live.com and go on ‘Close account’ under the ‘Overview’ list. Before closing your account, you will be requested to input your password and you will be informed of the consequences of doing so.

Clear Skies

There haven’t been any confirmation of SkyDrive accounts being specifically hacked into; however there have been some reports about breaches of security in Microsoft’s Live services, although Microsoft has denied most of these allegations.

The Great Gig in SkyDrive

There are few third-party applications that integrate with SkyDrive.  These applications are mainly social networks and other email or calendar clients that can share contact and events information with it.  Microsoft does not guarantee the security of third party applications that integrate with Live and leaves it up to the users’ discretion to decide whether to trust these applications or not.

Eye in the Sky(Drive)

Unfortunately, at present there are no tools that help you keep track of how secure your data is on SkyDrive.


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