PC Doctor May 20, 2016

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Dear Computer Doctor,

I recently signed up for a subscription to Microsoft Office 365. It seems like a great way to access the programs I need without purchasing the entire software package.

My subscription comes with 1 TB of cloud storage using OneDrive, making it very convenient to get to my files from home or work.

Generally I only store documents that do not contain personal or confidential information in the cloud. However, it seems a bit of a waste to pay for all that storage and not take full advantage of it. So here are my questions:

1) Exactly how secure is the cloud, and

2) Will I still be able to access my piece of the cloud if I stop paying for my subscription (I probably should have looked into this before for I signed up!)

Thanks for your help!!

    Signed, Asking


Dear Asking:

Great questions!

Security is always the big question with the internet.  According to the FAQs on the Microsoft One Drive site, any files you’ve stored there are private unless you have chosen to share them with someone or have put them in your Public folder. 

One thing you can do to increase the safety and privacy of your files is to have a strong password.  A strong password uses a variety of character types, (letters, numbers, symbols), is not a regular word in any language, and is not the name of your childhood pet.  It’s also a good idea to have separate, distinct passwords for each service you use online so that, if someone breaches one of your passwords, they’ve only gained access to that one account.

Another thing you can do is set up 2 step verification – When signing into your OneDrive account from a new device, you’ll be asked for additional information to ensure that it’s an authorized access.  It might take you longer to get to your files, but it will also take a stranger longer, too!

Microsoft has a web page dedicated to reassuring users about the security of their files in the cloud.  You can visit it here


and decide for yourself what you think.

To answer your second question, this is what Microsoft has to say:

If you cancel your Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal paid or trial subscription, you’ll be able to use Office and any included services until the end of your subscription period.  (If you’re paid through the end of the month, you’ll have normal access through the end of the month.)

After your subscription expires, Office will run in “reduced functionality mode” and will show “Unlicensed Product” notifications. You’ll still be able to open and print your documents but you won’t be able to edit them or to create new ones. You’ll also lose access to the services that are included with your subscription, such as extra OneDrive storage and Skype minutes.

So, the short answer is that you will still own your files, you just won’t have access to the programs that created them.  Please be sure to back up any important files to your hard drive or portable media (flash drive, external hard drive, etc.) before you cancel your Office 365/One Drive subscription.

If you need more information to feel safe, I encourage you to contact Microsoft’s “Answer Desk.”  You can chat with them online or schedule a call back.

I hope this answers your question.

Until next time,

Happy Computing!

   PC Doctor