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6 Principles of Storing Your Files in the Cloud Safely

6 Principles of Storing Your Files in the Cloud Safely

The cloud offers a convenient and budget-friendly way to store data for your small business. It allows you to back up, sync, and access files across several devices and minimizes the costs associated with keeping your company’s information on-site. The cloud is also one of the most secure ways to house data — if you take a few simple precautions.

Follow these six fundamental rules for safely storing your company’s information in the cloud.

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1. Research Cloud providers

Safely using cloud storage starts with choosing a reputable cloud storage service that best meets your needs. As you shop for a cloud storage service, look for one with positive customer reviews and a proven history of keeping its customers’ data secure. Be sure the provider you choose offers multiple-level redundancy, which means there are several copies of your data to prevent it being lost if one server fails. Redundancy across multiple geographic locations is another important security feature you’ll want from your cloud storage company. This means your data is housed at various locations, so if an event like a fire or natural disaster somehow destroys your data it can still be retrieved.

2. Match the sensitivity of your data to the cloud provider’s level of security

Three out of five small businesses close within six months of experiencing a data-security breach. If you are storing sensitive data, like clients’ financial or identifying information, make sure your cloud provider provides best-in-class security features. You’ll probably pay a bit more for enhanced security options, but it’s a worthwhile investment. On the other hand, not every file your small business handles will be highly sensitive. Storing non-critical data with a cloud provider that offers strong, albeit less robust, security features will probably be adequate — and reduce expenses.

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3. Back up your data that’s in the cloud

Data stored in the cloud is typically more secure than data kept on your computer, but it is not a complete backup solution — and nothing is 100-percent fail-safe. Backing up the files you store in the cloud is a critical part of leveraging cloud technology safely. Many backup proponents suggest using the 3-2-1 standard: maintain three backups of files that are too important to lose, utilizing at least two different formats, with at least one of the backups residing off-site — meaning at a place other than where your computer or server is located.

4. Encrypt your cloud files

If your cloud service account is compromised, your files may become accessible to cyber criminals. To help minimize data vulnerability, encrypt your files before sending them to the cloud. Another option is to use a tool like BoxCryptor or nCrypted Cloud, which automatically encrypt your cloud backups.

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5. Use password best practices

Good password management is one of the most effective ways to help keep your files safe. Use a password generator like LastPass to create a hard-to-crack code, never share your password, and don’t write it down or save it on your device. Avoid accessing your cloud account using public Wi-Fi, and change your password at least once every quarter. Make sure your employees are well-versed in password security practices for small businesses, have password polices in place, and enforce them.

6. Look for “https”

Your data can be captured by a hacker while it’s en route to the cloud or traveling from the cloud to your device. To help prevent this from happening, look for “https” (versus “http”) in front of the cloud service’s URL in your browser’s address bar. “Https” is the secure version of “http,” which is the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the cloud or any website that you are connected to. When you see “https,” the communication between your browser and the cloud service is encrypted.

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Keep these safety tips in mind, and cloud storage can be an effective way to keep files accessible while protecting your small business data against everything from hackers to malware.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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