Blog Archives

Mozy is for real, Martians are not

The other day I watched a rerun of the 1960’s sitcom, “My Favorite Martian.” The TV show was about a Martian (who looks like a human) who crashes his spaceship near Los Angeles. He ends up rooming with newspaper reporter Tim O’Hara, who is the only human who knows of this extraterrestrial’s true identity. O’Hara passes off the Martian as his “Uncle Martin” and keeps his identity secret, hoping to avoid a panic that earth has been invaded by Martians. When he’s not trying to avoid a nosey neighbor, Uncle Martin spends his time trying to repair his spaceship.

If you didn’t know that Uncle Martin was a nice guy, you might be afraid. After all, he could raise two retractable antennae from his head and then disappear. Uncle Martin was also telepathic and could levitate things just by moving his finger. And he could freeze people.

A lot has happened since those Uncle Martin days. In 1975, the Viking 1 and Viking 2 probes were launched into space to a 140,000,000 destination: Mars. First the probes orbited the planet for more than a month, sending images back to earth. About a year after their journey began, Viking 1 and Viking 2 touched down on the Mars surface. Mankind had finally put something human-made on the second-smallest planet in our solar system. Uncle Martin might have been jealous that Viking 1 and Viking 2 arrived before he did.

The Viking probes did not encounter Martians, but they did discover geological shapes that seemed to indicate they were formed by water. Information from each Viking was stored in data storage memory, which had a storage capacity of 8,200 words. Data would be transferred daily to a tape recorder, which could store a whopping (in those days) 40 million bits of information.

In mid-2003, two “MERs” blasted off into space. Their mission: to explore the surface and geology of Mars and determine whether life ever existed on the planet. The Mars Exploration Rovers landed on the Red Planet in January the following year. (Tim O’Hara would never have imagined this happening outside of sitcom TV.) Just a few weeks after landing, the MERs—Spirit and Opportunity—discovered that at least some areas of Mars were once water-soaked. In fact, scientists later concluded that Mars may have had lakes or even an ocean. There is much data still to be studied.

All of this talk of Mars and probes got me thinking about Mozy and the Mozy Data Shuttle service. When you need to back up your servers, the Mozy Data Shuttle can do it quickly. No telepathy or levitation required. If you have a server with 100 GB of data or more, the initial upload can seem to take forever, as if it’s 140,000,000 miles away. The Mozy Data Shuttle service provides a super-fast way of getting your data to Mozy’s data centers. Here’s how it works:

You order a Data Shuttle device from Mozy. We’ll overnight it to you (in a really cool box). You do the initial backup to the shuttle device. Put it back in the box and ship it to our data center (note: no propellant required—our shuttle is postage-paid). That’s it! You’ve skipped the initial upload over the wire. Incremental backups can even occur before the shuttle arrives to Mozy, so long as the initial backup to the Data Shuttle is complete. Shuttles are available from 1.8 TB to 7.2 TB.

We may not be able to read your mind, but we can back up your files quickly, without raising antennae.

For more information about Mozy’s space program, visit our Mozy Data Shuttle Service page.

 

Our cloud is being raised on fruits, veggies, and whole grains

There are a lot of very old people living in the United States. We’re not talking about men and women who live beyond the average life expectancy of 79.8 years (for males, 77.4 years; for females, 82.2 years), according to the World Health Organization. We’re talking about seemingly super humans who are well beyond a century old.

Just a few weeks ago the U.S. Social Security Administration’s inspector general identified 6.5 million Social Security numbers that are older than 112 years. According to Social Security records, the individuals who were issued these numbers were born before June 16, 1901.

One individual, according to her Social Security Number, opened her first bank account in 1869. (We’ll assume it’s a her because women in general live longer.)

The problem stems from no death date ever being entered for those Social Security numbers, and those same numbers still being used for a variety of purposes, all of them fraudulent (unless, of course, you really are 112 years old or older). So, at least on paper, the individuals associated with those Social Security numbers have exceeded the maximum reasonable life expectancy.

The truth is, people aren’t really living that long. According to the Gerontology Research Group, only 35 people made it to the ripe-old of age of 112 as of October 2013. And that’s worldwide.

Living an extra-long time got us thinking about data and how it’s stored and backed up. How long does data “live”? The better question is: How long does the device on which the data is stored or backed up to live?

  • Data stored on tape: Data stored on tape starts to disappear when the tape starts losing its magnetic charge. Not only is tape susceptible to wear and tear, high humidity and temperatures are problematic. Maybe 10 to 30 years, but we’re not talking centenary storage.
  • Data stored on CDs and DVDs: According to the Optical Storage Technology Association, the unrecorded shelf life of CDs and DVDs is between 5 to 10 years. For recorded CDs and DVDs, perhaps 25 years.
  • Data stored on drives: Hard to say. According to one study, three years is the point where hard drives start wearing out.
  • Data in the cloud: Forever (even centenarians with fake Social Security numbers can’t compete).

Although cloud computing is relatively new, Mozy by EMC has been around since 2005, which makes us one of the oldest cloud backup services. If the Social Security Administration were to issue the Mozy cloud a Social Security number, our number would be in perpetuum.

BTW, if you’ve got your sights set on living to be a century old—or coming as close as possible—here is some information that should prove useful:

  • Maintain some level of activity (like the doctor from Paris who even at the age of 99 walked up three sets of stairs every day on the way up to his study).
  • Move to a geographical area where people live longer than average (if you don’t speak Japanese, it’s time to learn! Okinawans live longer than anyone else in the world).
  • Eat, but not too much (and eating the right kinds of foods will help; foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).

Efficient cloud-based backup

Although it’s true that most large organizations rely on on-premises backup solutions, many of those organizations realize that backing up to the cloud is making more and more financial sense. For those organizations that are just now looking into the cloud, the idea of building and managing another data center might seem formidable and expensive. But that’s not how it is; just the opposite is true.

Building and managing a remote and reliable data center for backup and disaster recovery is easier than you might think; it even makes good financial sense. That last part—good financial sense—is particularly important in this day of ongoing cost-cutting measures. It isn’t likely that the need to further decrease costs and increase efficiencies is ever going to fall by the wayside. (Try telling your finance department and shareholders that decreasing costs and increasing efficiencies no longer matter!)

Why does a cloud-based backup solution make sense? Two words: capital expenditure. Actually, it makes more sense to mention four key words: capital expenditure and operating expenses. Recent research demonstrates that organizations that implement cloud solutions are enjoying significant benefits, among them (1) no capital expenditure for hardware, (2) very little up-front cost, and (3) minimal administrative overhead.

Those benefits become particularly important when you consider that more than 40 percent of respondents to a recent survey indicated that reducing IT infrastructure costs was the top benefit of backing up and protecting their data in the cloud. Here are the top-five most common benefits:

  1. Reducing IT infrastructure costs
  2. Reducing complexity within the IT environment
  3. Reduced IT personnel costs
  4. Improved user productivity
  5. Reduced power and cooling costs

An interesting aspect of benefit #3 is that reducing IT personnel costs doesn’t necessarily mean more workers in the unemployment line. Not by a long shot. Because cloud backup is a cost-effective way to protect your servers and computers, IT personnel who once worked on on-premises backup solutions can now focus on other important tasks; they can be repurposed to work on more strategic onsite systems and/or applications.

It’s no surprise that organizations large and small—and everything in between—are becoming more and more reliant on digital capabilities. With those capabilities come opportunities for growth and success; however, the exposure to threats to data is increasing dramatically.

In the beginning, sending data to the cloud might have seemed like a challenging prospect, perhaps more bother than benefit. But that’s certainly not the case today. Security and trust are essential elements of the cloud. The uncompromising physical security of offsite data centers, the backing of third-party certifications and validations, the experience and reputation of the cloud provider monitoring and management, the ability to restrict data access and, should it ever become necessary, the capability of restoring data all contribute to keeping data safe, secure, and accessible.

Once you understand and embrace the benefits of the cloud, you can focus additional energy on supporting your business goals and doing more with existing resources. That kind of efficiency makes all kinds of good sense.

This award represents our commitment to you

We here at Mozy are always looking for ways to improve how we meet the needs of those who rely on our data backup and protection services. That’s why our customers have come to expect nothing but the best from us. So we are pleased to learn that Mozy Support is the recipient of a 2015 Stevie Award, considered to be the world’s premier business award.

Mozy’s Mark Goetz (left) and Damien O’Halloran accept a Silver Stevie Award in Las Vegas on behalf of Mozy Support.

The Mozy Support team was awarded a Silver Stevie Award for “Best Use of Technology in Customer Service for Computer Software and Services.” In other words, Mozy is being recognized for use of technology that has directly improved customer service delivery, provided real business benefits, and shown system adoption across our entire customer service function.

“Knowing you offer a world-class support experience is one thing, but to receive an award confirms just that,” said Damien O’Halloran, director, Mozy Technical Support. “Continued investments in innovative technology around self-help have allowed us to use that as a differentiator in our Support offerings.”

In awarding “Best Use of Technology” honors, judges recognized Mozy for “making support for millions of users in the software as a service industry efficient, fast, and personal.”

Earlier this year we launched our new Support portal, which is the result of feedback from our customers, industry trends, and other research. The portal is just another way for us to improve our services. You’ve probably noticed how easy it is to access support from Mozy. For example, we recognize that you’re looking for very specific information when you visit the portal, so we’ve made that information easier for you to find with a new structure based around the activities for which you want information, such as restores, account setup, etc.

In addition, if you are looking for help on a particular product, you don’t want to have that information obscured with information about another product. So, once you’re logged in to the portal, the only information you will see will relate to your product. If you want to see other product information, simply change the product filter at the top of the page to the product you are interested in.

Be sure that you’re taking advantage of all that Mozy Support has to offer by signing in when you visit the portal.

Learn more about Mozy’s world-class support team.

P.S. This isn’t Mozy’s first rodeo. About this time last year Mozy took home a Stevie Award. To be sure, Mozy by EMC takes support seriously. Backing up your files may be automatic, but we never take for granted your trust in what we do to back up and protect your valuable data.

 

I did it my way

After I got home from work yesterday I popped in one of my favorite Frank Sinatra CDs and listened to it on my stereo. Call me old fashioned, but I still like listening to CDs through a two-speaker system.

This morning when I got to work I was reminded of an infographic that we published a couple of years ago, 50 Things We Don’t Do Anymore Due to Technology. The blog generated more comments than our blogs usually do, in part because although many of the things on the infographic are things that many of us don’t do anymore, others still do. So we thought we’d visit the topic again, in part to see which habits of yours have changed during the last two years and which ones have remained the same.

To get us started, let me share with you a few of the so-called old fashioned habits I’ve willingly carried into the 21st century. You already know that I buy and listen to CDs. And as much as I love reading on my Kindle, I still enjoy a good book in hardback. And a good story is often worth re-reading more than once. For example, I knew the movie “Unbroken” was opening at the end of the year, so before I saw it, I reread the bestseller by Laura Hillenbrand.

Since I’m pretty sure that my wife doesn’t read this blog, I can reveal one of her habits that is, well, pretty old-fashioned (even though she is not old). She doesn’t like using the clothes dryer much because she says it causes clothes to wear out too fast. So she hangs just about everything to dry on lines in our basement. (She felt pretty good about her clotheslines when a few years ago she came across a book by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who mentioned the benefits of not using the clothes dryer to dry clothes.)

Other things I do or sometimes do that might be considered old fashioned:

  • Subscribe to a local newspaper
  • Subscribe to a weekly news magazine
  • Write a letter (with pen on paper!) to a family member
  • Send Christmas cards every year
  • Try on shoes at the mall and buy the same shoes at the mall
  • Heat up leftovers on the stove

How about you? What things are you still doing in an old fashioned kind of way even though it might make more sense to do them with the assistance of modern technology? Come on, let us know—there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Do you listen to vinyl records? Do you make your own yogurt? Do you open a can with a hand-crank can opener? Do you shave with a straight edge razor? Do you prefer to bake your own bread?

When we’ve logged sufficient responses from our readers, we’ll create an infographic with our findings.

And since this is the Mozy blog, I might add that I do back up my home computer with Mozy. So I am not as old fashioned as some of my habits might indicate.

I don’t always have a good reason for doing something the way I do it, other than I just like to do it that way. As I like to say—and as Frank was so fond of singing—I did it my way.

 

*We would like to hear from you. Really! Let us know what things you still do in an old-fashioned kind of way (give us the details if you want to share) even though technology would let you do it easier or faster.

Mozy gives back

This past holiday season the Mozy team based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, participated in its annual food drive to benefit the Utah Food Bank. This year the results were dramatic. Mozy employees donated 2,153 food items. That’s an average of 13 items per employee. (While we don’t envy the crew that had to cart the items from the second floor of our building to the delivery truck, we do appreciate their efforts.)

When you consider that the average can of food weighs 15 ounces, Mozy’s donations represent hundreds of meals for individuals and families in need.

The following Mozy teams participated in the food drive: Engineering, Finance, Marketing, PM/BU, QA/PgM, Rubicon, Sales, and Support. Of particular note are the efforts of our Support team; members brought in a whopping 1,089 items! And during all of the activity of giving, they never missed an incoming call. Talk about Support’s support!

Thanks to all who participated in the food drive. We look forward to raising the bar next year with expectations for even more donations. But you don’t have to wait until the next holiday season to donate. The Utah Food Bank is always grateful for you canned donations, particularly high-protein items such as tuna and peanut butter. And that’s an effort Mozy is proud to back.

Oh, baby, technology’s sweet!

One of my co-workers recently became a dad for the first time. He and his wife are the proud parents of a baby girl.

As a parent of adult children, I can tell you that parenting these days is a bit easier, thanks in large part to modern technology. Take, for example, monitors. They’ve come a long way, baby.

Today’s technology not only allows parents to use their baby monitor to listen from another room, parents can also use the monitor to talk to their baby and watch their baby. You can even download an app that works with your monitor so that no matter where you are, you can keep tabs on your little one. Using any Internet-enabled smartphone or handheld device, you can listen to, watch, or talk to your baby from anywhere you have a connection. Baby is a star and doesn’t even know it.

The disposable diaper, which was introduced in the early ‘60s, will soon be able to inform parents when baby has done the dirty diaper deed. That’s right: a small moisture sensor will sync with an app that will tweet you whenever baby needs a change. The diaper even has a clever name: TweetPee. It stinks that the diaper is not yet available (it’s currently in beta), but it should be available to the masses dealing with messes soon.

And speaking of diapers, you’ve heard of smarty pants, now there are smarty diapers. Currently, there is at least one “smart” diaper available that can help you monitor your baby’s health using what’s in the diaper. The diaper looks like an ordinary disposable diaper, except for the small colorful square with the QR code on the front. The square accumulates data based on what accumulates in the diaper. The square can be scanned and the data uploaded with a smartphone and then analyzed for possible issues, including urinary tract infections and dehydration, and even diabetes.

These days, even something as simple as taking your baby’s temperature is much easier. Digital thermometers are superfast, super accurate, and super easy to read. Within a matter of seconds a parent can know their baby’s temperature (after an audible alert or flashing light) and see the results on an easy-to-read back-lit screen. Some of these thermometers even store the most recent past readings in their memory so you can identify trends.

Baby car seats have gone high tech, too. The Carkoon baby seat features a sliding protective shell made from Kevlar (a super-strong material that’s even bulletproof) and Nomex (a highly flame-resistant material used by firefighters, fighter pilots, refinery workers, and others) that the company says will keep the baby safe for 18 minutes. The design literally “cocoons” the baby in her seat. This next-generation safety seat also includes a transmitter that alerts emergency services to the accident scene using GPS coordinates.

Regardless of the technology, babies are still babies. With that comes the inevitable crying that results from needing or wanting something. Sometimes the solution is easy: change the baby’s diaper, feed the baby, hold the baby, sing to the baby, etc. One small handheld device may actually help you figure out the right answer quickly in case it’s not so obvious. The CryTranslator is a small handheld device that “translates” your baby’s crying. The device is not designed to replace a parent’s intuition but help interpret why baby is crying and then make suggestions.

Just like more and more parents are relying on the latest technology to make life easier, better and safer for their little ones, more and more businesses rely on Mozy by EMC for data backup and access. From an individual business owner to the enterprise with many thousands of employees and devices, including servers, desktops and laptops, and handhelds located at headquarters and remote and branch offices around the world, Mozy offers complete data protection in the cloud. After all, we hate to see a grownup cry over lost data.

 

 

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The cloud saves the day and other non-myths

It’s no surprise that we frequently write about the cloud on our blog. We think the cloud is bigger than sliced bread. And during the holiday season, it’s certainly much, much bigger than sliced fruit cake. But whatever you think of the cloud, it is a lot bigger than just one thing.

Sure, the cloud can save you lots of money. It can make data protection a lot more convenient. And it can save your bacon if your company’s computers are destroyed in a fire or flood. But again, the cloud is more than just one thing. Because of that, there are lots of myths surrounding it.

One of the key findings in Gartner’s recent The Top 10 Cloud Myths report is that “Cloud computing is uniquely susceptible to the perils of myths due to the nature, confusion and hype surrounding it.”

Consider the 10 myths highlighted in the Gartner report:

  • Myth 1: Cloud Is Always About Money
  • Myth 2: You Have to Be Cloud to Be Good
  • Myth 3: Cloud Should Be Used for Everything
  • Myth 4: “The CEO Said So” Is a Cloud Strategy
  • Myth 5: We Need One Cloud Strategy or Vendor
  • Myth 6: Cloud Is Less Secure Than On-Premises Capabilities
  • Myth 7: Cloud Is Not for Mission-Critical Use
  • Myth 8: Cloud = Data Center
  • Myth 9: Migrating to the Cloud Means You Automatically Get All Cloud Characteristics
  • Myth 10: Virtualization = Private Cloud

Like anything else of value, the cloud is what you make of it. For example, you’ve no doubt heard someone say that the cloud is great for backing up data.

Yes, the cloud is great for backing up. But backup is only part of the value. When you understand the many things the cloud can do for your organization, therein lies the greater value. In many respects, the overall value—the sum of the cloud parts—is much greater. For example, it’s tough to measure the value of the peace of mind that results from knowing that your data is backed up AND recoverable. All it takes is for one employee’s laptop with critical data on it to be lost or stolen to really appreciate the value of the cloud. Lost data that’s recoverable—that’s priceless.

Based on the amount of data that people lose, recovery is an ongoing necessity—and a crucial benefit of the cloud.

Consider that 70 percent of people who carry around a laptop, smartphone, or tablet have lost a storage device. In fact, the average person now loses 1.24 data-holding items each year and less than half of those items are ever recovered. The average cost of a lost item is about $200, but it’s not the cost of the item itself that has the greatest impact. It’s the data on the item. In a 2012 independent survey of 3,500 people in the U.S. and Europe, 57 percent of those who lost a device said that they were more upset about losing the data on the device than the device itself. After all, the device is usually replaceable; however, the data is not—unless it has been backed up and is recoverable.

So when the data from that laptop that was left behind in the taxi that was never seen again is quickly recovered just in time for the CEO’s presentation, which motivates the sales force to such an extent that they increase sales by 200 percent during the next quarter, which catches the interest of a VC firm, which eventually takes the company public, which makes a lot of employees really wealthy, which calls for a celebration in which very excited employees light off fireworks in the break room, which causes the fire sprinklers to go off in the building, which causes major damage to a whole bunch of computers, which causes everyone to give a sigh of relief because they know their data is backed up to the cloud, well, it’s easy to see how the cloud can continue to be the source of yet another myth.

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Do you have too much access to data?

Be aware: You probably have access to too much data!

That’s right: you can access data you’re unauthorized to see. That’s according to the Ponemon Institute’s latest research report, Corporate Data: A Protected Asset or a Ticking Time Bomb?

In its December 2014 report, the research center found that 71 percent of the 2,276 U.S. and European employees surveyed have access to sensitive information that they don’t need access to.

The report reveals that there is insufficient oversight and control over employees who have access to confidential information. Oftentimes, such information is sensitive in nature and includes:
• Customer lists and contact information
• Intellectual property
• Private information about customers, employees, and business partners

Part of the challenge with controlling data is that too much oversight could sacrifice employee productivity. On the one hand, employees cannot work efficiently if they cannot access the information they need to do their jobs. On the other hand, too little oversight means that employees can access sensitive data that they don’t have any reason to access, jeopardizing an organization’s security and the privacy of customers, co-workers, and others.

Interestingly, it is the employees themselves who believe that they have access to company data that they should not have access to. Even so, of the 71 percent who said that they have such access, 54 percent admitted that their access to the information is frequent or even very frequent. In other words, they know they shouldn’t be accessing the data but they’re doing it anyway, even frequently.

The report found that employees who participated in the survey believe that data protection oversight and controls to their company data are weak. That’s a serious concern, but no less concerning than the survey’s finding that 78 percent believe their organization is unable to tell them what happened to lost data, files, and emails.

It should come as no surprise that IT professionals who participated in the study agree with employees who believe that data protection oversight and controls to the data are weak. Part of the problem, according to the IT practitioners, is that their organizations do not enforce a need-to-know data policy.

Although more than 70 percent of IT practitioners in the survey said that their department takes data protection very seriously, clearly more needs to be done to ensure that their data is protected from unauthorized access.

What can be done to protect corporate data? First, organizations must see data protection as a priority. Second, organizations must ensure that they have a need-to-know data policy and then enforce it. Unenforced policies increase the risk of misused and unauthorized access to confidential and sensitive data.

Today’s technology allows the workforce to access large amounts of data quickly and easily, even from smartphones and tablets. Fortunately, with Mozy cloud backup, critical and confidential data on servers, desktops, and portable devices can be automatically backed up and protected. With Mozy, your data is always protected, recoverable, and secure.

How we love to squeeze the cloud for all it’s worth

The holiday season is yet another opportunity to consider how much influence cloud computing has in our lives. For example, have you:

•  Sent holiday greetings and family photos using your Facebook or Gmail account?

•  Purchased any gifts from amazon.com or other online stores?

•  Downloaded and watched a favorite holiday movie or TV show from Netflix?

•  Downloaded a new or favorite holiday song from iTunes on your handheld device?

If you have, then you have benefited from the cloud.

Although all of us are taking advantage of the cloud, do we ever consider how different life would be without it? For example, what happens when the weather turns bad? Are we prepared for a bad day of cloud computing?

Will your holiday greetings and sharing of family photos be delayed? Will your online order arrive late? Will you be watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” after the holidays? Will you be tapping your fingers wondering when you’ll get to hear “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”?

Come again?

Believe it or not, lots of people (to be exact, 51 percent of 1,000 people surveyed) think that bad weather affects cloud computing. And of those 1,000 people surveyed, 95 percent don’t think that they use the cloud. These are the same people who:

•  Bank online

•  Shop online

•  Use social networking such as Facebook and Twitter

•  Store photos online

•  Store music online

•  Play online games

Granted, the Wakefield Research survey was conducted more than two years ago; however, even today many who regularly use the cloud aren’t always aware that they are in fact enjoying many everyday conveniences because of the cloud.

Surprisingly, some university students aren’t sure what the cloud is. Surprising because it is students who have embraced the benefits of the cloud perhaps more enthusiastically than any other single group. Yet when a senior executive veteran of the IT industry asked (via a Skype call!) a group of university students enrolled in a digital journalism class if they had ever used the public cloud, no hands went up. Eventually, one student tentatively offered up “Google Docs?”

Those of us who use the cloud and can also define what the cloud is and the countless benefits it provides—such as backing up our data and safeguarding it should  it ever need to be restored—need to do a better job of educating the masses that the cloud is an important part of life. All of us use the cloud and benefit from it greatly every day.

Some will continue to define the cloud as a “fluffy white thing.” Others will define it as a place to store, access, and share data using their Internet-connected device. But all will continue to enjoy life made easier and more enjoyable because of the cloud—even if Buffalo gets another five feet of snow.

So, if you haven’t already done so, now might be the perfect time to download “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole.

Happy holidays.