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How to keep your documents safe online: The beginner’s guide to the cloud

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In spite of the advantages that the Internet can afford any business, regardless of size or sector, today’s online world is a virtual goldmine for cyber criminals. Over the past couple of years, data breaches and hacking incidents have become a regrettable, yet common, occurrence for countless high-profile companies.

But, a lot of the time, they have been architects of their own downfall by failing to adopt standard security procedures, particularly when storing information in the cloud. So, to help you avoid the same fate, here is how to keep your documents safe online.

Always use SSL certificates

Secured Sockets Layer (SSL) is the standard form of encryption for passing sensitive data from your own browser to your provider’s server. Several hosting companies charge for SSL certificates, but with SSD VPS this essential security measure comes at no extra cost to clients.

Choose SSL for your web server solution as well and it can bring additional benefits aside from keeping cloud documents safe. Your website’s SEO rankings and online reputation are bound to receive a timely boost, as customers will have the utmost confidence when handing over their own sensitive data.

Introduce a failsafe password policy

Did you know that 90 per cent of all passwords can be cracked within seconds? So, if you don’t take passwords seriously enough, cyber criminals will be able to access your cloud-based information with relative ease.

Introduce a password policy that gives hackers no opportunity to compromise your data. Best practices include a maximum age, minimum length, complexity requirements, and storing passwords in a database that uses reversible encryption for all users.

Implement two-factor authentication

If you would like more than just a username and password to protect the contents of your cloud, consider implementing two-factor authentication as well. This is available from several cloud storage providers but also requires cooperation from you and your employees too.

Two-factor authentication works by requiring a second form of identify verification, commonly a code sent via text message to an individual’s smartphone. Even if passwords are cracked, hackers won’t be able to gain access to your data.

Encrypt all of your data

Encryption works by using software to create a password for cloud documents. Anybody that wants to see the contents of these documents will then need the password to gain access. Simple.

The easiest way to encrypt data before sending it to the cloud is to zip files and then give them a password. Several software programs are available that can do this, but you will need to pay a premium for high levels of protection and reliability.

Understand sharing permissions

Even if you have taken the necessary steps to safely secure your important files and folders in the cloud, your downfall could be sharing this data with others. Therefore, it is imperative you understand sharing permissions so that only intended recipients can view your private cloud space.

When choosing a provider, make sure that they offer the level of permissions you require and are happy with, otherwise your data could quite easily fall into the wrong hands.