There is a huge number of articles advising to enable two-factor authentication on sensitive cloud services. I understand the benefits for my accounts' security, but doesn't it defeat the purpose of cloud backups ?

For example, if both my phone and my laptop get stolen (not far-fetched), I just lost my two-factor auth app and my recovery codes. I therefore lost all access to my data with my devices, which was what I wanted to protect myself against when I set up cloud backups.

So, what's a good strategy to backup data in the cloud, keeping a good level of security while being sure not to loose access when I need it ?

  • Keep your password in your head. It's much more difficult to steal surreptitiously. Mar 27 '16 at 1:56
  • How do I remember 20+ different secure passwords ?
    – Hey
    Mar 27 '16 at 8:24
  • 2
    Use a password manager and you'll only need to remember one. Mar 27 '16 at 15:37
  • I do. That's why I asked why he seemed to say I shouldn't.
    – Hey
    Mar 27 '16 at 18:03

If your concern is avoiding losing all of your physical assets (laptop, phone, etc...) you could simply encrypt your files using any software you like and then upload redundant copies to two or more storage services which you think are the most stable and secure. That said naturally you would want to choose a great encryption algorithm and use a strong password that would be very hard to break. This could be done easily with PGP, TrueCrypt, or VeraCrypt but there are also plenty of other options. A simple SFTP server on a cloud compute platform like AWS would work well for what it sounds like you need.


I suppose you have a copy of the key of your home. And I suppose you have already given such a copy to someone you trust (wife/husband, parents, etc.). I know that there is a slight difference between a physical lock and a file in the cloud: if you loose you key, you could try to break the lock/the door, while if you are locked out from a cloud account...

I have a copy of my personal password manager file:

  • on my phone
  • on my personal desktop
  • on my wife's phone
  • on a private folder on my professional desktop

Those 4 copies are never all in the same place. Of course, there is still a risk that the 4 are stolen/destroyed at the same time, but if it was to happen, the loose of my passwords would not be my major problem! More seriously, I accept such a risk.


I keep my master password and backup codes on paper in a safe deposit box. It would also allow access to my accounts in the event of death.

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