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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 May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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