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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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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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