The practice of protecting sensitive information with codes and ciphers is thousands of years old. Today, it’s a technical art form that secures digital data that is being sent, received or stored.
Better known as encryption, this protection method masks digital information so that only those with the correct encryption key can decipher it.
Understanding encryption is crucial as you manage your own website and develop or design websites and apps for your clients.
Types of encryption
There are several different encryption methods — the algorithms or ciphers used in scrambling data — that designers and developers can use. To encrypt data, you need a key to alter it. You could use a symmetric encryption key, which uses a single randomly generated private key that the sender shares with the receiver. Or you could use an asymmetric encryption key that uses a public key to encrypt the data or message and a private key to decrypt the message.
Which methods should you use in coding and designing? That will depend on the sensitivity of the information being sent or stored, the data file’s size, how the data will be sent (email, FTP), and the encryption standards your receiver prefers.
Encryption examples: When do you use it?
There are a number of encryption standards to understand, along with when it’s best to use them.
AES, or the Advanced Encryption Standard, is one of the most popular file encryption methods in the world. It’s a symmetric block cipher and offers protection of sensitive data shared in closed systems and stored in large databases. It is also a good choice for emailing information that is not extremely sensitive, like your new product catalogue and price list or sending a large ZIP file via email.
Open PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy, uses a symmetric key to encrypt and an asymmetric key to decrypt data. The private keys can also verify the authenticity of the sender. This adds an additional layer of protection when sharing information across open networks. Open PGP is a good choice when sharing sensitive information like payroll deposit data with your financial institution.
SFTP or Secure File Transfer Protocol, communicates over a secure connection. It uses public key encryption and password authentication. SFTP encryption is most commonly used in server-to-server file transfers, such as information exchanged with healthcare providers.
FTPS, or file transfer protocol secure, uses two data connections. A public key encrypts the data, a public key certificate provides authenticity and a private key decrypts the data. Legal, government and financial services entities rely on the security of transferring files via FTPS.
Secure Mail uses asymmetric encryption. It protects personally identifiable information in the body of an email, such as proprietary business information or personal information like an account number.
AS2 or AS4, also known as applicability standard 2 or 4, use digital certificates and various encryption standards. With AS2 or AS4, you can request a message disposition notification or receipt that verifies that your recipient received and decrypted the message. You get legal proof that you sent the message and that it was received (also known as non-repudiation of receipt.) AS2 and AS4 are commonly used in EDI transfers for business information like invoices or purchase orders.
For web designers and developers who use WordPress as their platform of choice, WordPress Salt Keys help to secure your WordPress login information. These security keys help protect any information stored in cookies required by WordPress to log in. Instead of using PHP, WordPress saves your info so you don’t have to enter it every time you log in. While convenient, this can pose a security risk. Salts work to encrypt your password into a series of random characters that can be tough for hackers to crack without knowing your salts.
Why is data encryption important?
Businesses require secure websites and applications that will protect their data, their customers’ data, their systems and their brand. Keeping security in mind from the start of the design or development phase is important for many reasons:
Every industry mandates specific compliance regulations for data protection. Including encryption into the design and development process can help result in a final product that will not be subject to fines and sanctions.
Data breaches cause reputation damage. Encryption protects against breaches and resulting reputational damage.
Customers value privacy and want to be assured their data is secure. Encryption improves the security posture of applications and sites and delivers a valuable competitive edge.
How do you know if a website is secure?
Here are a few ways to tell, at a glance, if a website is secure:
Check the URL and look for the “S” after “HTTP.” This indicates the information passed from the browser to the website’s server is protected by a secure sockets layer (SSL) . This certificate ensures an encrypted connection. In addition to checking that the URL reads “HTTPS,” another quick way to tell if a website is secure is to look for a small padlock icon next to the URL in your browser’s navigation bar.
Scrutinize the domain. It’s not uncommon for fraudsters to cleverly mimic a trusted website address. For example, switching out the letter “o”and replacing it with a zero will make the word “micr0soft” look similar enough to the tech giant to fool you into sharing information on an unencrypted site.
Verify trust seals. Many sites, especially ecommerce sites, will feature a trust seal verifying that a third party has vetted its legitimacy. Take a moment to click on the seal. It should redirect you to a verification page from that third party. If it doesn’t, that may indicate a less-than-secure site.
Check for malware. A site with poor encryption may become infected with malware. You can tell this has happened if the site you are on issues suspicious pop-ups, features poor spelling, grammar and an unprofessional design, or promotes hard-to-believe offers.
Since most websites may look normal on the surface, but have hackers working in the background, an easy trick to check for malware is to search Google. Simply type “site:domainname” into the search bar and you can find SEO spam within any of the links indexed on Google. Be sure to swap in your website’s name for “domainname” and comb through the results to identify any instances of malware on your site.
Finding SSL website encryption
Security is a big deal for anyone doing business online, so it’s a big deal for developers and web designers. Protect your website, your customers’ data and the websites and apps you develop with an SSL certificate from GoDaddy. It safely encrypts information during transmission and builds trust in your brand.
Just-in-time inventory is a supply management strategy that schedules products and materials to arrive as they are needed to fulfill orders. This reduces how much inventory is kept on hand and can help small businesses reduce waste, save space and improve cash flow. Instead of ordering a large volume of items, businesses make smaller, more frequent orders to limit their inventory specifically to what they know they will sell.
A company’s business model, available cash flow, supply chain and consumer demand can all play a role in how well the method works. Business owners who implement this strategy need to be prepared to track consumer demand and navigate the supply chain swiftly.
How does just-in-time inventory work?
To use just-in-time inventory, a small business decides how much inventory it wants to have available at all times and orders small shipments of material to replace used stock as it fulfills customer orders. Let’s look at an example.
Fiona wants to implement just-in-time inventory management in her knitting store. Instead of keeping a large volume of stock on hand, as she had previously, she decides to keep only a month’s worth of inventory at a time.
After averaging out the monthly sales for each item, she adjusts her inventory orders over the next quarter until she has only enough of each item in stock for a month’s worth of sales. At the end of each week, she orders replacements for what she’s sold that week so that she constantly restocks to keep a month’s inventory in her store.
This allows Fiona to invest a smaller amount upfront, improving her cash flow and allowing her to make profit before investing in more inventory each time.
Nerdy tip: Some small businesses that specialize in custom orders, such as an at-home cake business, might find that a similar approach of only ordering materials after a customer submits an order works better. Rather than replacing all of the materials that were used in the last order, the baker can purchase all of the ingredients after receiving an order so there is no risk of unused ingredients and wasted investment.
What are the advantages?
“If every day you replenish what you consumed, then you would need less inventory and you could adjust dynamically,” says Lisa Lang, who has a doctorate in engineering management and is president of Science of Business, Inc., a consulting company that has helped small businesses implement the just-in-time method.
For small businesses, the benefits of just-in-time inventory management include:
Reducing waste by not over-ordering or having goods expire or go unpurchased.
Minimizing inventory storage cost by housing a smaller inventory.
Freeing up physical space that can be used for other operational purposes.
Creating available cash to use for other operating costs, such as labor.
Just-in-time inventory management also creates flexibility for seasonal changes. In the same way that stores stock up on candy in the month leading up to Halloween, you can build up inventory for temporary changes in customer demand, says Lang, who is certified by the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization, which aims to minimize bottlenecks in companies. In the example of Fiona’s knitting shop, she can easily review her sales from the previous holiday season and order a little extra to account for the surge in customer demand.
What are the disadvantages?
These potential disadvantages do not occur for every business, but it’s important to understand what can go wrong with this method. Have a plan in place in case you encounter:
Higher spending on inventory rates if you switch from buying in bulk to smaller, more frequent orders.
Supply chain disruptions that are beyond your control. Think COVID-19 or natural disasters.
Running out of inventory if you do not accurately track sales or forecast customer demand.
Businesses that can benefit from just-in-time inventory
Small businesses that have regular sales and want to keep tabs on cash flow are good candidates for a just-in-time inventory strategy, especially if they find their inventory often sits for long periods.
Good Promotional Products, a provider of customizable merchandise for businesses, once had offices full of unsold products, said Joe Bass, CEO and founder, by email. Switching to just-in-time inventory helped.
“When I just ordered as much as I knew I needed, it freed up a lot of my office space as I didn’t have a lot of unordered products just sitting around,” Bass said.
But retail businesses aren’t the only ones benefiting from rethinking their inventory management. Several business models have found just-in-time inventory helpful in lowering costs and creating a more streamlined process, including:
Coffee roasters and coffee shops.
Businesses that should avoid just-in-time inventory
Businesses that source materials internationally. For Illuminate Labs, a dietary supplement manufacturer, the need to frequently order materials internationally made the just-in-time method overwhelming.
“Dealing with suppliers is a time-intensive process,” says Calloway Cook, the company’s founder. By choosing to keep a lot of stock on hand, he says the company has been able to focus its efforts on scaling the business instead of worrying about long lead times from international suppliers.
Businesses that only process a handful of orders annually. A just-in-time inventory strategy tends to be “less effective for slow movers,” Lang says. “This is for the fast-to-medium movers, where you replenish more frequently.”
Businesses with certain operational limitations. You might want to wait on implementing the method if you:
Can’t delay orders without drastically impacting business.
Don’t know how to track customer demand to anticipate inventory needs.
Aren’t confident in your supply chain to deliver on time.
Don’t have reliable employees who communicate well about supply issues.
What to do before implementing just-in-time inventory as a small business
Small businesses should ensure the following operational areas are working before implementing a just-in-time inventory approach.
Test your turnaround time
When you receive inventory just before you need it, you may still need time to create products and provide services using the materials you ordered. Research and test your process to be confident that you are able to get orders out the door on time without a large inventory.
Track consumer demand
Some businesses replace the inventory they just used to fulfill customer orders; other businesses prefer to forecast inventory needs by averaging monthly totals and noting seasonal sales from previous years.
Find reliable suppliers
With such a tight turnaround time, you need dependable vendors that will deliver inventory when needed. If they can’t, a just-in-time inventory strategy can fall apart. If your suppliers are inconsistent about deliveries, consider changing providers before implementing the new system.
Have a plan for supply chain disruptions
You must be able to adapt to supply chain disruptions and find alternative vendors when material orders are delayed or canceled despite your supplier’s best efforts. Make a plan about how to respond to a bad situation to avoid delayed orders.
is probably the most popular cloud storage app around. And with 15GB of free storage space, it’s not hard to see why.
Luckily, it’s not hard to sign into Google Drive either. Google Drive, like other Google services, is connected to your Google account. That means it uses the same email address, username, and password as your Gmail account, YouTube account, and more.
Here’s how to sign into Google Drive on both a computer and phone.
How to sign into the Google Drive website
All you need is your Google username and password.
2. If you’ve signed in before, you might be offered one of your Google accounts — click the one you want and enter your password to log in. Otherwise, type in your Gmail address, username, or phone number and click Next.
3. Enter your password and click Next again. If prompted, complete the two-factor verification process.
You’ll be signed in.
If you can’t remember your account information, click Forgot email? or Forgot password? You’ll be able to use your recovery method to get back into the account.
William Antonelli is a writer and editor based in New York City. As Editor of Insider’s Tech Reference vertical and a founding member of the Reference team, he’s helped grow Tech Reference from humble beginnings into a juggernaut that attracts over 20 million visits a month. You can find him on Twitter @DubsRewatcher, or reach him by email at [email protected].
Much of the last two years has revolved around businesses and their employees finding new ways to adapt to remote work. Organizations that have made this transition successfully often attribute their ease of adaptation to the flexibility gained through the adoption of cloud technology. It didn’t just fill the physical distance between employees and employers but also plugged loopholes that weren’t visible to them just then.
Cloud technology enables your remote employees to quickly adapt to any number of upcoming “new normals” they’d have to face. This has made it a basic necessity for businesses looking to scale despite uncertain economic conditions.
But where do businesses start? We’ve crafted this quick guide to help you get started while answering all your questions about cloud tech and your business. So let’s get to it!
What are the main challenges of remote work?
Being in the office gave employees the ease of accessibility and communication with other employees, their mentors, and managers. Remote work, though, severed the bond by adding in a massive amount of physical distance. As a result, traditional methods no longer work with remote teams, leading to a massive dip in productivity and efficiency.
The Finance department was the most affected by the onset of remote work as their work (verifications, approvals, and documentation) has always been one-on-one. While such meetings were possible in an office environment, the situation has changed dramatically with distributed teams. This has resulted in broken records, inaccurate documents, delayed reimbursements, and overworked Finance employees.
Unmotivated employees and broken processes could significantly affect the health and sustenance of a business. Leaders need to understand that the time for change is now and that leveraging cloud technology is the only way companies can scale while running efficient teams to bring forth profit.
Why should businesses shift to cloud technology?
The increased physical distance between employees has pushed businesses to adopt collaboration tools that improve communication and collaboration across departments to improve productivity.
Studies report that there has been an 80% increase in the adoption of cloud techs like expense management software, time-tracking software, and communication tools since the onset of the pandemic. Thus it’s safe to conclude that businesses can use these techs to bridge the physical gap between employees.
Keep in mind that your best way to start as a business owner is to ensure teams can maintain the same levels of collaboration as they did while in office.
How does cloud adoption enable a successful remote work model?
1. Enables real-time collaborations for distributed employees
Cloud technology is built to enable remote teams. Most cloud tools let employees work on a single project from multiple locations (while simultaneously editing.) Other tools focus on streamlining communication, reporting, documentation, and more.
By enabling employees to tackle all the potential challenges of remote work, cloud technology lets businesses continue operations as they did while in office. Additionally, it provides business leaders with complete control over all functions through a joint dashboard. This adds a layer of accountability to all areas of business operations.
2. Enables executives to make better business decisions
Almost every cloud tool comes with advanced data-analytics capabilities that analyze all available data to help executives make business decisions backed by data. This ensures the right decisions are made with little to no added effort.
For instance, if your Finance team uses an expense report software, they can gain insight into all the essential aspects of expense data across the company like top-spending departments, policy violations, and more.
Having access to such information enables teams to make better decisions around business expenses.
In similar ways, other cloud tools are also designed to address every little problem in their ecosystem.
3. Enables Finance teams to have more control over business spends
Traditional expense management is redundant when it comes to remote work. Any business that still uses manual means to process expenses is now increasingly prone to fraud, a complete loss of control over business expenditure, and no visibility into costs. This, if left unchecked over time, can quickly shut the doors of your business.
Automation tools make tracking and reporting of expenses more accessible by taking away the hardship of Finance teams having to verify every expense report for company policy manually.
Additionally, keep in mind that inaccurate/non-compliant reports can lead to severe problems with the IRS if discovered during the audit process. Therefore, if you feel like your business is prone to such issues, know that it’s the perfect time to switch to an expense software to improve employee productivity by reducing the number of erroneous or fraudulent reports.
4. Provides teams a better work experience
Cloud technology, like webinar software or project management software, enables employees to have much more flexibility in their work routines. They can work from anywhere, using any device with just a stable WiFi connection. This, in the long run, can significantly improve the employee working experience.
Why? Simply because remote work is giving employees the option to maintain a healthy work-life balance by becoming self-managed, all of which wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for cloud computing.
Remote work will be around for a long time, and developing a sustainable remote work model is directly tied to the adoption of cloud technology.
Having access to a shared digital workspace where your entire organization can access the information they’d need makes remote work efficient and scalable. In addition, cloud adoption lets businesses transition easily to remote work and stay remote while improving productivity.