By Tamara Sullivan

Whether you’re using a desktop computer, a tablet, or a cell phone, the data you generate is stored, the documents are housed, and productivity happens all in the cloud. But cloud-based technologies weren’t always the norm.

If you owned a computer more than 10 years ago, chances are you popped in a disk when you needed to install new software or wanted to back up files on your system. Unfortunately, this manual process of using CD-ROMs left computers vulnerable to catastrophic data loss.

Enter cloud technology. Cloud-based programs allow you to log in from different devices and have all the data stored within that program. These programs are also generally redundant and allow you to continue to access files if a server goes down.

However, not all cloud-based services are created equal. While your data is likely safer from loss on these systems, you need to make sure the data is also safe from online piracy. According to antivirus- and security-software company Norton, there’s a cyberattack every 44 seconds, and four in five people in the U.S. have concerns about putting their confidential data on cloud-based platforms.

Consider these tips for protecting yourself, your business, and your customers.

#1: Assure encryption.

This is number one for a reason: Having a cloud-based program that encrypts your files is critical for securing your important information. When researching a cloud service, learn more about its encryption processes and how frequently its protocols are updated.

#2: Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA).

This is becoming popular for software and serves as another layer of protection. MFA allows you to protect your login by receiving notifications with codes or links to verify you are the one who is trying to log in. The verifiers can come in many forms: a personal identification number, a text or email code, a secret question, or an authenticator app that refreshes codes frequently. When you have the option to activate two-factor authentication, use it.

#3: Use a strong password.

According to Norton, 91 percent of people know the risks of reusing passwords across their online accounts, yet 66 percent do it anyway. If you’re guilty of this practice, now’s the time to give your systems a password refresh. To create strong passwords, make your password at least 15 characters long, include at least one symbol and one number, and use a mix of upper- and lowercase letters. If you are not sure you can create strong enough passwords across multiple systems—and remember them all—there are apps you can download on your cell phone that generate passwords for you.

#4: Install the latest operating software.

Make sure you are using the latest operating software on your devices. Typically, when new operating software is released, it includes security updates and bug fixes that can make your devices less vulnerable.

#5: Don’t use public Wi-Fi.

If you like to work at a coffee shop to get out of your normal routine, you’re not alone. It’s important to make sure your internet connection there is as secure as the one in your office, since Wi-Fi networks that are open for public use are often not secure. Make sure to verify which Wi-Fi connection belongs to the business, and don’t use it until you are ready to work. To make it more secure, you can also pay for a license for a program such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN to help keep your device safe from hackers.

#6: Be diligent.

If you notice any unusual activity on your devices or unauthorized charges, make sure to address them right away. This helps protect you, your business, and your customers from data breaches.

Your operating and customer data is critical to your business’s success, so making it a priority is vital. We live in a world where securing your data must be top of mind. If you haven’t started yet, it’s time to get moving today.

About the author
Tamara Sullivan is the manager, DTC digital sales and development, for Franklin Water Treatment, a business unit of Franklin Electric. She excels at creating digital marketing programs that drive revenue for Aqua System branded dealers and retail sales. Sullivan believes that every business needs to meet consumers where they are in their journey to services or equipment.

About the company
Franklin Water Treatment (FWT) is a business unit of Franklin Electric. FWT is made up of brands such as Aqua Systems, Hellenbrand, Puronics, Waterite, B&R, and Sterling. FWT serves both residential and commercial markets producing products in water treatment that include, but are not limited to, water softening, reverse osmosis, filtration, disinfection, and solving other issues related to problem water. Its primary products are water softeners, iron, sulfur systems, drinking water solutions, and even bottled water in select markets.




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