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How to Encrypt Your Cloud Files

How to Encrypt Your Cloud Files

Just a few years ago, keeping files secure was a simple task—you could move them to a thumb drive, delete any duplicate copies, and store the thumb drive in a safe location. As technology has advanced, however, data security has had to adapt to usability, and that means adjusting for Cloud sharing and storage.

Moving your secure documents and files into Cloud storage can feel risky, but you can combat the risk with proper encryption. If you’re new to the realm of data encryption and Cloud storage, keep reading to learn what encryption is and how you can use different encryption methods to keep your Cloud-based files safe and secure.

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What Is Encryption?

Every file or piece of data on a computer exists as a series of characters that gets interpreted by various programs on your computer. In its most basic form, encryption uses a predetermined pattern to change those characters, scrambling them so they can’t be used. Only the user who holds the encryption key—usually accessed with a password—can unscramble the data again.

Once used almost exclusively by security techs, encryption is now a tool that can and should be used by the masses. In the words of Taylor Miller, security expert at ATTSavings, “Encryption is no longer the purview of government officials and hackers; it has never been easier to make your files safe.”

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There are many procedures used for encryption, but Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is among the most secure out there. Files can be encrypted to AES in three ways: native password-based encryption, app-based encryption, or Cloud-based encryption. Here’s a closer look at each method.

1. Native, Password-Based Encryption

If you have ever used password protection on a document with Microsoft Office, you’ve used a form of native encryption. This encryption method is fairly basic, but it can be effective if you’ve chosen a complex, hard-to-crack password. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all have password-based encryption options, as does Adobe Acrobat.

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Pros:

  • Native encryption is easy to use—you don’t have to go through another program to handle the encryption.
  • Native encryption requires no external software, and other users can access your files simply by knowing the password.

Cons:

  • Depending on the program you’re working with, there may not be a native encryption option.
  • Natively encrypted files may run into compatibility problems between different versions of the same software.
  • On certain programs, AES isn’t set as the default encryption standard. In these instances, you may need to change the encryption setting to AES, which ensures maximum security.

2. Application-Based Encryption

If you want to go a step beyond native, password-based encryption, consider using an encryption software application. These apps have become very user friendly in recent years. Some programs allow you to encrypt entire folders or directories, providing automatic encryption for any additional files uploaded to those locations.

Pros:

  • Application-based encryption programs allow you to encrypt most files, regardless of the programs they come from.
  • Depending on the software you choose, you may be able to encrypt many files at once.
  • These programs often allow you to select your level of encryption.

Cons:

  • If you intend to share encrypted files, the users you share with may need to have the same encryption software.
  • While many encryption packages are free for private use, using a program commercially often requires the purchase of a commercial license, which can be very expensive.
  • You will likely need to move files out of your Cloud storage account before editing them to ensure proper encryption.

3. Cloud-Based Encryption

Some Cloud storage services have built-in encryption to protect your data. This method is good to use in tandem with another method listed here, as it effectively doubles up on the protection you’ve already got. Do note that not all Cloud storage providers offer encryption, so you’ll want to clarify what security protocol—if any—your host uses.

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Pros:

  • Like application-based encryption, Cloud-based encryption allows for encryption of any file, no matter which program the file or data originated in.
  • Depending on the Cloud service you choose, encryption may be automatic.
  • You won’t need any additional programs to decrypt the data you access.
  • Collaborators can easily access Cloud-encrypted files without compatibility issues—all they need is the password to access the hosting account.

Cons:

  • Like offline encryption software, using encrypted Cloud hosting commercially will likely require extra money for licensing.
  • Some services store encryption keys internally, which can be problematic if the host experiences a breach.

Cloud hosting makes collaboration—especially long-distance collaboration—much easier than it used to be. But that increased ease of use, needs specialized security to back it up. Fortunately, encryption is a great way to ameliorate some of those Cloud-based risks, so use one or more of the above methods to help ensure your data stays protected.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

Projects and Tasks Management

1. Monday dot com

    Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

    The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

    The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

    The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

    Check out the software here!

    2. Asana

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      The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

      The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

      Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

      Check out the software here!

      3. Trello

        Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

        Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

        Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

        Check out the software here!

        4. Jira

          The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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          The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

          The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

          Check out the software here!

          5. Evernote Business

            Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

            The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

            Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

            Check out the software here!

            Communication

            6. Slack

              Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

              Check out the software here!

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              7. Spike

                Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                Check out the software here!

                Creation

                8. Office 365

                  Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                  Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                  You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                  Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                  Check out the software here!

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                  9. Grammarly

                    Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                    Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                    Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                    Check out the software here!

                    Team Analytics

                    10. ActivTrak

                      ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                      The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                      Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                      Check out the software here!

                      The Bottom Line

                      Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

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                      Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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