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Glasses for the masses, but not for me…yet

You’re probably aware that Google Glass will be more widely available before the end of the year. For the most part, sales of Google Glass have been limited to a small group of people, including developers and others, who join Google’s Explorer program by invitation. The purpose of the Explorer program is to shape the future of Google Glass.

But just the other day, Google announced that it would sell Google Glass during a one-day sale on April 15. I guess tax day was the perfect time to decide what to do with your tax return. That had a lot of people excited.

“Every day we get requests from those of you who haven’t found a way into the program yet, and we want your feedback too,” said the folks at Google. “So in typical Explorer program fashion, we’re trying something new.”

According to Google, Google Glass is for everyone from moms to mountain climbers. That doesn’t sound like it includes me, but maybe it does. I am a dad and I like to hike. And I am from the United States and over 18 years old, two other requirements to purchase Google Glass.

I didn’t take advantage of Google’s April 15 offer. But I have to be honest: I don’t think I want a pair of Google Glass. Why? I’ve been thinking about the $1,500 price tag, not including tax.

I could probably afford a pair of Google’s spectacles. After all, I am getting a tax return this year. Although I owe the state $750, I’m getting a bit more than $1,500 from the feds. I’ve been thinking about all of the things I can do with that money. We need new shingles, but since $1,500 doesn’t even come close to replacing the roof over our heads, I think that can wait another year. And I will be needing new tires for my car. But that can wait until the next inspection. But, my anniversary is approaching in a few days. I could take my wife to a nice dinner, the theatre, and even buy her that beautiful lithograph I saw her admiring in a local gallery last month. And I’d still have some cash left over.

Google Glass has helped me to see more clearly that I don’t need to see and enjoy everything through technology. I still have my smartphone, my laptop, and my desktop. For now, that’s enough.

OK, maybe there are days when Google Glass sometimes sounds a bit appealing to me. Maybe I’m half way there. But as I look at the people who are modeling Google Glass, I just don’t look that sophisticated let alone that beautiful/handsome/sexy. Maybe a monocle would be more my style. Google Monocle? Maybe I’m on to something. I’ll wait to see if the Explorers contact me.

Thoughts about Backup and Recovery from the Coop

Recently, I was cleaning out the chicken coop. Yeah, you heard right: the chicken coop. When I finished, everything looked good—clean straw, better smell, happy hens, and probably happy neighbors. As I was putting away the tools of the trade (rake, trash can, and gloves), I noticed a small hole in the fence. Not too large, but big enough to allow the neighbor’s cat to enter and do some serious damage to our source of fresh eggs. I quickly repaired the fence. That got me thinking about backup and recovery (hey, inspiration comes from many sources, and that apparently includes cleaning the chicken coop).

If a business isn’t backing up its data and has never had reason to recover an important lost, stolen, or missing file, how likely is it that the business is going to heed the call to start securely backing up its data? After all, if the business hasn’t had to recover data yet, why worry? What are the odds that something is going to happen that will require data recovery? Actually, the odds are not in anyone’s favor, whether it’s an individual, an SMB, or a large organization. The odds, which include hardware failure, software issue, accident, an honest mistake, disaster, etc., are stacked against you. At some point, you will need to restore your files. But if you haven’t backed it up, you’ll wish that you heeded the call to safeguard your data.

Consider the following: 20,000 hard drives fail in the United States every day; 60 percent of companies recognize that their business would be in serious jeopardy after 48 hours without their data; and more than 12,000 laptops are lost or stolen every week. That 12,000 figure accounts for lost or stolen laptops at just U.S. airports, and it doesn’t begin to account for laptops left in taxis or rentals or coffee shops or….

Disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Superstorm Sandy underscore the need for data protection in the event of both unanticipated and anticipated disasters. Even anticipated disasters can be devastating, depending on the severity of the event and unforeseen consequences. Proper backup protection ensures that an organization’s data is adequately protected in the event of a disaster and that lost or damaged data can be recovered in a timely manner with the least amount of disruption to the business.

So even if you’re backing up, that may not be enough in the event that something unexpected occurs. For example, let’s say that you’re backing up to a network attached storage device. All is good, right? The short and simple answer: No. If the drive fails, what are your options? How will you get your files back if you can’t access the drive? And what if you forgot to back up or schedule a backup altogether?

As you evaluate your backup protection options, consider the following:

• Do you have a consistent strategy for backing up desktops, laptops, and servers?
• Is backing up remote and branch offices a major headache? (Are you even consistently backing up remote and branch offices?)
• Are you taking advantage of the convenience and speed of local backup and restore with the offsite protection of cloud backup?
• Are you compromising security for convenience?
• Are you able to access your data anywhere, anytime?
• Do you have control over company data?
• Do you have a set-and-forget backup solution that you don’t have to constantly monitor?
• How easy is it to recover data? And just as important, how quickly can it be done?
• Do you have a backup solution that’s flexible, scalable, and meets your needs?
• Do you have a limited capital expenditure budget to spend on backup?
• If you have a backup or restore issue, do you have 24x7x365 support that understands your technical configurations and can help you solve the issue quickly?

Remember the tools of the trade: simple, secure, and affordable backup that’s scalable and that includes quick methods to restore your data, and a professional support team that you can depend on whenever you have questions or are pressed to solve a problem quickly. The right tools make the job easier and help prevent unnecessary worry. Who doesn’t want peace of mind? After all, no one wants to find a torn fence or, even worse, discover that a cat has entered the coop.

When High Tech Touches Your Food

It’s not a stretch to say that high tech touches everything these days. You almost certainly own a smartphone or tablet (probably both), which you no doubt use for any number of ways to make your life easier, faster, and more convenient. Now you can add one more thing to that list: How to buy the perfect steak.

And while you definitely don’t want anyone touching your food, when high tech does it, there are benefits. Read on.

Codes, calories, and consumer confidence

Steak and other cuts of meat have gone high tech in Thailand and other countries. And not just beef, but pork, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, frozen food, baked goods, and ready-to-eat meals.

Consumers simply use their smartphones or tablets to scan the QR code—those blocks of black and white squares typically used for storing URLs and other information—on the food package to trace the history of the contents. For example, you want to know about the producer, the farm, the slaughterhouse of your steak? Just scan the QR code. It’s a great way for consumers to get information about the freshness and quality of the food they are buying.

But there’s even more information to be had from that QR code. You want all of the nutritional information—vitamins, minerals, calories, and fat content? Scan the QR code. What about favorite recipes—what’s the best way to cook your steak? You got it: scan the QR code.

Information is power, and when it comes to food, not only does information help to establish safety measures and help to ensure quality, it’s a great way to instill consumer confidence.

The new fast food?

Is fast food not fast enough for you? Maybe delivery to your front door step (or your neighbor’s roof, depending on the strength of the wind) via parachute is the next step in food convenience. Some folks Down Under have come up with a clever way to deliver your calories. While the QR code gives you information about your food, the parachute delivers your food. Although it’s certainly a new twist on food delivery, it’s probably not too practical. However, maybe a floating piece of toast with melted cheese will satisfy your craving for something “light.” I’d say Swiss cheese just got lighter.

Maybe food by parachute is not the next trend. But how would you know if it is? Food Genius might. The big data startup claims it is able to detect future food trends. Lately, Food Genius has been aggregating data from restaurant menus and has determined that burgers are one of the most popular foods in the country. Maybe you already thought that, but what you might not know is that peppers are a more popular topping than pickles. And if you like cheese on that burger, cheddar is the most popular cheese for primping the patty.

I’m no genius, but they might be on to something. Dang, I’m getting hungry all of a sudden. Maybe something topped with peppers. And cheese! Hmm, I wonder if that can be delivered by parachute? Who would refuse a peppered patty provided by parachute?

Improving efficiencies

Not only is high tech figuring out food trends, high tech is also helping restaurants increase efficiencies.

Avero’s  software lets restaurants track purchases and voided items at the time of transaction. Restaurants can use that information to improve service, increase sales, and identify employees who might be stealing food, like burgers topped with peppers and cheddar cheese. This type of information is vitally important to staying in business when you consider that pre-tax margins for restaurants is a scant three to five percent. If profits were food, those would be low in calories.

But let’s say you didn’t like your burger (because you never really liked peppers), you could use Punchh’s mobile app to share your disappointment by writing a review. But if you loved that burger because it was dominated by those peppers, you could proclaim the virtues of the pepper-topped patty. Pucch’s app does more than just provide a way to share your gastronomical experience. Restaurants can use the app to let you sign up for their loyalty programs, take surveys, or even order your next burger. That’s one small touch to get your hands on the next great burger.

Using the cloud to help prevent waste

And because we’ve been talking about food and high tech and how the two get along (unlike those nasty gray peas that rolled into your applesauce when you were a kid), what about the food that goes uneaten? According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a whopping 40 percent of food in the U.S. ends up in landfills. Americans throw out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, according to the NRDC report. Can high tech change that?

LeanPath is one company that’s passionate about food waste. Making the most of their cloud-based analytics platform, they’ve helped their customers reduce food waste by as much as 80 percent. Before throwing away any pre-consumer food waste, including overproduction, expired items, and food trimmings, restaurants are able to “catalog” it, analyze it, and then use that data to gain insights into making future food purchases and running the business more efficiently.

High tech and food go together like two peas in a pod. And that involves a lot of data in one form or another. So, be sure that whatever you’re doing with your data that you’re also backing it up and protecting it—and that it’s fully and quickly recoverable. And that’s more than just food for thought.

Tell us how high tech has influenced what you eat. And let us know if you are one of those people who likes peppers on your burger.

We’ll handle HIPAA and PHI, but you make the APPT at the DR

These days, you’ve probably heard plenty about health insurance and affordable health care. But have you ever heard of PHI?

What, you don’t know what PHI is? You should. After all, you’ve got it. It has to do with your health, but it’s no disease. PHI, or “protected health information,” is the information your healthcare provider keeps on file as a result of your visits to your general practitioner, gynecologist, psychologist, dentist, psychiatrist, counselor, the emergency room, etc. It’s your personal health information. It’s detailed and it’s private.

Did you know that Mozy plays a critical part for those professionals who work in healthcare—be they doctors, nurses, administrators, and other staff members—by providing security measures for the protected health data and files about you that they back up?

You’ve probably heard the term “HIPAA,” and maybe you’ve even wondered if it’s some species of wild animal. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The act sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient data in the United States. Any business that stores health information is required by law to protect it. Businesses must ensure that all of the required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and followed so that your health information remains protected.

As a provider of HIPAA-compliant backup services that safeguard health information, Mozy ensures that health information is protected in a way that complies with HIPAA regulations. Mozy software and services ensure that the appropriate safeguards are in place so that the businesses that back up health information have the tools to keep it confidential and secure. That means encryption keys are required and that data must be encrypted during the backup process. That same data must be encrypted at rest while it’s stored in Mozy’s data centers (only the ones in the United States as required by HIPAA). What that means is that those who are not authorized to access protected health information cannot access it.

Whether or not it’s protected health information or any data that businesses back up, or files that you back up at home, Mozy provides automated cloud backup and disaster recovery protection against hardware failure, theft, virus attack, deletion, and natural disaster.

If you don’t work in healthcare, you might consider some of these details boring. But remember this: your personal healthcare information is yours—and it’s private. And Mozy takes the details to protect your data very seriously so that you can focus on other things.

The intricacies of HIPAA may be complicated, but our commitment to you and your data is simple and based on these principles:

•    Your information is your information, not our information.
•    We never sell your information to anyone, nor do we sell information about you.
•    We never sift through your information in order to create a profile of you or target advertising.
•    You can always get your information back while your account is active. We have no rights to your information if you leave the Mozy service.

So, whether it’s your health information at your doctor’s office or it’s your family photos or tax documents on your home computer, Mozy can protect it.

By the way, when was your last checkup?

We’re Proud to Be On the List

Top Apps Employees Sneak Into the OfficeIf you’re a fan of Mozy (and it’s hard not to be if you like simple, automated, and comprehensive backup that includes everything—even the sync—and first-class support, and all of this for a bargain), you’ve probably seen the article in Business Insider about how Mozy is one of the top 50 apps employees sneak into work. Mozy is on the list at a respectable #18.

Now, I’m not a fan of sneaking apps into work. I tend to follow the workforce philosophy that was pounded into me while serving in the military: “If it isn’t issued to you, then you don’t need it!” But today’s workplace isn’t the same. For example, with more and more employees embracing the bring-your-own-device approach to get the job done, it’s not hard to see why so many of the apps on The Top 50 Apps Employees Sneak Into Work made it on the list. Today, I don’t believe it’s so much that employers are concerned about too much goofing off on company time with these apps; instead, it’s more that IT has concerns (and rightly so) about employee privacy and corporate data security. But as employees were quick to recognize the benefits of BYOD (such as workforce productivity and the flexibility for employees to do their work from just about anywhere and at any time), employers have recognized that it makes for good employee morale when the workforce is enthusiastic about getting the job done in a way that works best for them. It’s one of those win-win situations that isn’t going to go away.

But getting back to the list, clearly, some of those apps have nothing to do with work. However, these days, it’s not always easy to know why someone downloads an app at work. For example, while one employee may be checking their Google mail to see if their recent amazon.com order just shipped, another employee may be sending a work file to their Gmail account to so that they can work on it at home later that evening . (Clearly, this employee needs to learn about Mozy and quickly download the Mozy backup software with file sync capabilities and mobile access. And after he’s done that, he needs to share his knowledge with his fellow workers and manager. (I can hear the conversation now: “Sir, Mozy is complete data protection with anywhere, anytime file access. It’s time to boost productivity, sir!”)

While old habits are sometimes hard to break, I think I am changing my ways. I don’t have any issue with someone downloading Mozy on their work computer if it helps them do their job better and they’re more enthusiastic about doing their job because they can do it in a way that works best for them. And while the military way of “If it isn’t issued to you, then you don’t need it” approach isn’t always the wrong approach, sometimes there are better ways.

But if you’re going to download Mozy on your work computer, be sure to drop a line to your IT department about the benefits of Mozy. Mozy just makes good sense. And we’re #18 on the list to prove it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to check my latest LinkedIn news…

New Year’s Resolutions and the Future of the Cloud

January is over. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many who made goals about eating better and exercising, your efforts might already be paying off by way of a few lost pounds. As a result, you’re probably feeling better. You might even be enjoying mental clarity with that new-found energy that results from a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s something else that should add to your mental clarity: Mozy. That’s right. Mozy means peace of mind. And when it comes to backup, who doesn’t want peace of mind? After all, backup means protecting information and files that might not otherwise be replaceable should they ever be lost, whether by accident or some unforeseeable catastrophe. And speaking of peace of mind, here’s an interesting bit of recent cloud backup news that may not instill peace of mind for those who are currently backing up or even those who are still considering purchasing a backup service: 25 percent of cloud service providers will be gone by 2015, and acquisitions and bankruptcy will be the two primary reasons for their demise, according to research firm Gartner. “One in four vendors will be gone for whatever reason—acquisition, bankruptcy,” said Gartner analyst William Maurer as quoted in a Computerworld article. That should cause anyone who relies on cloud services to seriously ponder the question, “How strong is my cloud service provider?” and “Will it still be around next year?” And if you’re currently in the process of choosing a cloud service provider, Gartner’s research is no less unsettling. After all, how do you confidently choose a cloud service provider when there is a 25 percent chance that it might not even exist by the end of next year?

25% of Cloud Backup Providers Will be Gone by 2015

That should cause anyone who relies on cloud services to seriously ponder the question, “How strong is my cloud service provider?” and “Will it still be around next year?” And if you’re currently in the process of choosing a cloud service provider, Gartner’s research is no less unsettling. After all, how do you confidently choose a cloud service provider when there is a 25 percent chance that it might not even exist by the end of next year?

“There is real risk,” Maurer added. Gartner also predicts that when last year’s data is in, it will show that the portion of organizations using cloud services will have reached 80 percent. Truly, the cloud is no passing fad. It’s not even the future (though it certainly is in the future for the other 20 percent of organizations not yet taking advantage of the cloud)—it’s today. From the consumer to the SMB to the enterprise, the cloud won’t be blown away by any sudden wind but will become more and more a necessity. To be sure, the nature of backup will continue to change; however, cloud backup will remain a major part of data protection and doing IT efficiently. Recent research shows that public cloud computing services are definitely affecting IT strategy: nearly 80 percent of respondents to one survey report that cloud-hosted apps or cloud-based compute and/or storage services will have a significant impact into their storage-related strategic planning over the next five years.

It won’t surprise anyone to know that people tend to be very careful about their data and files, so trusting a cloud backup service may not be easy. But as a Mozy customer, you can be confident in the strength of the Mozy cloud (especially as you consider Gartner’s recent prediction about the future of 25 percent of cloud service providers and why they’ll be history by the end of 2015):

  • Mozy was already acquired (more than six years ago!).
  • Mozy is profitable.
  • Mozy is part of EMC’s Data Protection & Availability Division and its long-term strategy.

That’s food for thought that will encourage you to rest easy with Mozy—though it may not do too much toward helping you keep your New Year’s resolutions. But continue to eat healthy and exercise anyway. Just knowing that Mozy, your choice in cloud backup, is the most trusted name in cloud data protection should boost your energy levels. And you didn’t even have to say no to your favorite food or put on those exercise clothes. But let’s be clear: we’re not telling you to ignore your New Year’s resolutions. Say no to that piece of pastry! And consider putting on your running shoes and going for a jog at lunchtime. No worries. You can count on Mozy to back you up while you’re jogging, and anytime—this year, next year, the year after….