Category Archives: backup

Backing Up Servers

Maybe your business is growing—you’ve hired somebody to help with the bookkeeping and you need some way to share the accounting files. Maybe you’ve had a near miss—the power went out suddenly and your data hadn’t been saved recently. Maybe, for some other reason, you’ve come to the realization that your data needs to be protected, whether due to business continuity, regulatory, or other reasons.

Regardless, you need a data protection solution for your server. And you’re not sure where to start.

What do all these terms mean?

Anytime you get people talking about backup, they’ll spit out a bunch of acronyms that can be bewildering to a newcomer. So let’s talk about them!
   •     BCP: This is your “Business Continuity Plan.” In other words,          in the event you lose data—whether it be a single file or a          whole server—how will you recover from the loss and resume          business? Many businesses formalize this as a written plan;          that way, in the absence of all the principals, others know how          to proceed.

   •     RPO: This is a “Recovery Point Objective.” It’s a measure of how much data—measured in time—you can afford to lose.          If you’re doing bookkeeping, you might be able to afford to lose 15 or 20 minutes’ worth of work. If you’re a bank, you          generally can’t afford to lose anything. As this number approaches 0, the solutions tend to get more expensive,          depending on the type of data.

   •     RTO: This is a “Recovery Time Objective.” It’s a measure of how quickly—again, measured in time—you have to be back          up and running. The more critical the data, the lower the RTO usually is.

So how does this all come together? Say you manufacture widgets for a living, and your inventory and customer relationship systems live on a server. Your business continuity plan may be something as simple as:

  1. In the event the server dies and the server is unrecoverable, contact our local server reseller and arrange for delivery of Server Model X. Reseller contact info is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
  2. While awaiting delivery, download restore of most recent restore point. Our backup vendor is Mozy; their support is XXX-XXX-XXXX, with support ID XXXXXXX. Ask for assistance in recovering backup set “Inventory Data.”
  3. When server arrives, reinstall Inventory Management Software (Vendor is XXX-XXX-XXXX).
  4. Restore backup set to location d:\inventory.

Why start with the business continuity plan?

For starters, a business continuity plan helps you identify how you’re going to work through a failure. All too often, the vendors may not know how best to help you. If your inventory control software only runs on Server 2003, a local reseller may not have a machine with Server 2003 available. You may have lost or misplaced the inventory control vendor’s contact info. Your backup vendor can probably help you get your data back, but may not know which application generated it when the data is just files on your server. And so on.

By putting it all in a plan, you’ve already set yourself up for determining what your critical data is.

What is my critical data?

The easy answer is “all of it.” However, when getting your business back up and running, you probably don’t need a 5-year-old quality control report right now. The older the data gets, the less critical it is. In addition to this, different types of data may require different workflow. You may be backing up images and a database; the database is going to require a database engine to be usable. So you should take steps to identify your critical data, categorize it, back it up, and most critically, know how to get it back in a way that allows you to keep your business running.

Your business continuity plan should include steps for getting the most critical data right away and lesser-critical data afterward. This is where the RTO comes into play. In the example above, you’d probably want your vendor to have a server delivered to you within 12 hours and critical production data up and running within 4 hours of the server becoming available. At most, you’d miss one full business day of work this way, most of which is spent waiting on new hardware. By communicating your RTO to your vendors, you can ensure everybody understands what the expectations are, and as things progress, whether or not your business continuity plan is on track.

Some data may reside in applications; for example, Microsoft SQL databases or MySQL databases. These can be protected to, but generally require what’s called an “Application consistent” backup—a backup that ensures the congruency of the database prior to executing a backup.

If you have critical data in applications like that, make a note of it; your backup vendor will want to know in order to best assist you.

So I know what my plan is and what my critical data is. What are my next steps?

Actually protecting data should be the last step of your business continuity plan. Now that you’ve set your standards and understand what needs to be protected, we’d be more than happy to invite you to give us a call, where we can discuss how Dell EMC can protect your most important data. Even if Mozy isn’t the best fit, Dell EMC together is the world’s largest data protection company. We can find the right solution for you!

Common Ways Consumers Lose Files

One of the most common ways a user can lose a file such as a Microsoft Word document is a system or application crash. This can happen while you’re going about your business typing up a word document and the screen suddenly freezes or becomes unresponsive. Then, the inevitable happens: the word processing program shuts down.

Now, what? Unless you’ve enabled the autosave feature such as that available in Word, you may be at a loss. All your writing gone; all the time you spent creating the document is now time lost. In some circumstances, when you reopen the Word application it may be possible to retrieve part of but not all of the material you’ve written.

Another way that you may end up losing valuable spreadsheet information or a PowerPoint presentation is by accidental deletion of portions while making changes. You may have thought that you’d backed up or saved a copy of your file and then started editing your work before checking to make sure a backup did in fact exist. User error is to blame. As much as we don’t like admitting it to ourselves, sometimes the biggest factor when losing files is of our own doing.

One of the most destructive ways we could lose valuable data occurs when our computer is attacked by a virus or invaded by malware such as ransomware. Hackers use ransomware to get your important files and data and hold them hostage until you pay a hefty ransom for their safe return. It’s becoming a more mainstream occurrence. And paying the ransom isn’t a guarantee that you will get your files back. Because ransomware is an unpredictable and unfortunate event that can occur without warning, in addition to saving your files to your computer’s internal hard drive, it makes sense to also store your data externally.

Additionally, be sure to update your computer’s operating system files when new updates roll out. Software updates are important because they usually include security updates that can help keep your data better protected.

One thing that’s out of our control is the possible malfunction or failure of our computer’s internal hard drive. If you’ve stored everything from the beginning of time on your hard disk only, this could make for a dreadful situation down the line. If your hard drive were to crash and burn, well, you’d be out of luck, losing some very significant data that might not be possible to replace.

Not only will saving files externally give you piece of mind, it also ensures that you’ve got a second copy of your work and precious data that can be accessed from a secure location. Mozy cloud backup is a great way to protect your data and ensure anytime, anywhere access to it. Backing up all of your digital data and files automatically and on a regular basis in the Mozy cloud is peace of mind. To learn more about safeguarding your data against user error, hardware failure, and ransomware, visit

In the path of Hurricane Matthew?

With the approach of Hurricane Matthew, we here at Mozy hope that you and your loved ones are safe. As you do whatever you can to protect your home, business and belongings, don’t neglect to protect other important assets, ones that are often neglected in the ensuing panic of an impending natural disaster—your data.

Whether it’s important tax documents or irreplaceable digital photographs on your home computer, or business-critical files on desktops and laptops that you rely on to conduct your business, be sure your data is backed up so that in the event that your files are lost or damaged they can be quickly recovered.

For important tips about protecting your data, visit the Mozy Community blog.

From all of us at Mozy, be safe!

Getting Started with Your Data Disaster Recovery Plan

A business that doesn’t have a data disaster recovery plan in place is like the Titanic on its way to hit an iceberg without nearly enough lifeboats on board. Data is the lifeblood of any business, and how quickly and smoothly you can recover from a data disaster might eventually determine the survival of your business. Just knowing that you’re doing regular backups isn’t enough. You need to have a plan that covers every possible contingency, then you need to test your plan to find its weaknesses and adjust accordingly. A good data disaster recovery plan should also be updated frequently, to adjust to changes in your business.

No one can tell you what needs to be included in your plan without intimate knowledge of how your business operates. These plans aren’t boiler plates or one-size-fits-all propositions. However, the first steps for putting together disaster recovery plans are pretty much the same for all businesses, as are some of the things you need to consider as you begin developing a plan that’s tailored for your unique business.

Start with RTO and RPO

You start by assessing two metrics that have to do with your plan’s objectives. The first is the recovery time objective (RTO)—the time you have to restore usable access to your data after a disaster before the business begins to suffer. The other is the recovery point objective (RPO), which is the acceptable age of the files that will need to be recovered, which really means the amount of recent data loss that’s acceptable.

Both of these figures vary widely from business to business. A small convenience store using a point-of-sale system, for example, might be able to whip out a calculator and get by for days until a data connection is restored and might even be able to continue operations with a week or more of lost data. A stock brokerage, on the other hand, holding buy and sell orders tied to the market’s movements, might urgently need to have service restored in less than an hour with very little loss of data.

These two measurements will lay the foundation for the remainder of your data disaster recovery plan. For example, the mom-and-pop convenience store knows it should be able to make do by backing up to a thumb drive when preparing the daily bank deposit, while the brokerage firm will probably need to invest in the services of a secure and dependable cloud backup service like Mozy for frequent backups.

This is only the beginning, of course. From here you will need to determine, among other things, all of the different types of disasters that can threaten your data, whether man-made or natural, and develop contingency plans for each and every one—and more importantly, perhaps, figure out ways each scenario might be avoided. You’ll also need to test each scenario with data disaster “fire drills,” to discover any kinks in the procedures you’re establishing.

A good plan that covers all foreseeable disasters will be very complex, and a larger business will eventually need to seek outside consultants to fill in the gaps. It might be best to get started on your own first, however, so you can be a better help to the people you hire to help you.

Captain Sully saved his life. Mozy saved his files.

You’ve probably heard about the new movie, Sully, the story that recounts US Airways Flight 1549 and Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who “landed” the Airbus A320 in New York’s Hudson River on January 15, 2009. Just after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, both of the aircraft’s engines were disabled after striking a flock of Canada geese. Realizing there wasn’t time to return to the airport, Captain Sully and his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles made the decision to ditch the plane in the river. Miraculously, all aboard survived.

Although the “Miracle on the Hudson” is a story that’s known worldwide, there is a smaller, related story that’s not so well known. Businessman Paul Jorgensen was one of the passengers aboard Flight 1549 that day, and EMC was a small part of Jorgensen’s story. That day Jorgensen, a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, was on his way home from New York to spend the weekend with his family. “January 15, 2009, started as a normal day for me,” Jorgensen remembers. A few minutes after takeoff, things changed. “I thought for sure we were going to die,” Jorgensen says. “I was convinced. I didn’t think we any chance at all to survive.”

Fortunately, Captain Sully’s quick thinking saved all aboard. The 150 passengers and 5 crew members were rescued that day, but personal property was all left behind in the damaged, sinking plane. “It never even occurred to me to grab my laptop or cell phone…or wallet…or keys before I got off the plane,” Jorgensen says.

Once safely back on solid ground, Jorgensen called his company’s IT department. “I’m without a laptop; you have to get me something,” he recalls. The next morning IT provided Jorgensen with a replacement laptop and all of his files as they had been backed up by Mozy from EMC. “I was shocked,” Jorgensen remembers, who says it would have taken him months to replace everything that was on his hard drive.

“Having the laptop delivered with my entire hard drive replicated exactly as I left it saved me literally months of time and hassle,” he says.

Jorgensen says that his experience on Flight 1549 is a reminder that we have very valuable files and “we just simply can’t afford to not back them up on a daily basis.” Today when Jorgensen tells people his story, “I like to say that Captain Sullenberger saved my life. MozyPro from EMC saved my laptop files.”

Tom Hanks plays the lead in “Sully.” It’s quite a performance, but he’s only acting. When it comes to data loss, that’s real. Jorgensen says that backing up valuable data is not a precautionary step to take lightly. “And it doesn’t have to be a plane crash to remind us of that,” he says. Fortunately, you can protect your valuable data with Mozy backup—without landing on the Hudson.

You can hear Paul Jorgensen share his dramatic story here.

Experiencing a CATastrophic data loss

Recently, we asked our dear readers to submit a favorite story about how Mozy has saved their bacon. We’ve received numerous accounts that underscore just how important backup (and a quick restore!) is. Some of your stories are funny, some not so funny (who likes to lose data, even temporarily?); however, all of the stories have a happy ending, thanks to Mozy—and your good judgment in choosing the most trusted cloud backup software.

The following story and photo were submitted by Karie Ford, who works at Mozy. Karie’s story and photo remind us of how backing up without Mozy is like trying to herd cats: it can be done, but not easily and not always successfully.

My daughter Josie is currently attending her last year at Utah Valley University. When she is not in school she is at work or in her room studying or writing papers. She basically has no social life, except for Callie. Callie is her 10-year-old cat, who wants ongoing cuddles and attention. In short, this feline believes that my daughter is here to serve her. Callie loves to knock stuff off of dressers and sleep on the laptop keyboard when my daughter is trying to do her school work.

The accompanying photo was taken about two weeks prior to our data-loss incident. Callie is a diva and, it seems, felt like the laptop was getting all of the “love.” Callie decided to “own” this laptop and peed on the keyboard. The laptop is not only disgusting, it is also TOAST.

Mozy online backup and restore to the rescue! We bought a new laptop and restored all of my daughter’s files over the weekend. Yes, we still have the cat.

Thanks, Karie, for sharing how Mozy saved your bacon!

The takeaway from this account? When it comes to backup and restore, anything other than Mozy should make you nervous, kind of like a cat would be in a room full of rocking chairs. Don’t take chances—insist on Mozy cloud backup!

We would love to hear more from our users. There are two opportunities to win a gift card for your submissions:

•     This contest is open to MozyHome and MozyPro users only:  For a chance to win a $200 gift card, tell us how            Mozy has saved your bacon for you or your business. Submit your entry by May 31, at which time we will randomly            select a winner. Your story may be published in a future Mozy blog or newsletter! For more information, visit our blog.
•     This contest is open to Mozy Resellers only: For a chance to win a GoPro camera, submit a photo in the Comments            below of the most bizarre or funny way that someone can lose data (real or not). A winner will be selected by the Mozy            marketing team at the end of the quarter (June 30). We will publish the winning photo in a future Mozy blog or Mozy            Reseller newsletter. Interested in becoming a Mozy Reseller? Click here.

Sorry, but Mozy/EMC employees are not eligible for these gift cards (but you may still submit your stories and photos).

How to Back Up Your Computer

Today’s businesses are faced with many challenges, including regulation and compliance, customer service, and financial management. One major challenge is the growth of company data. Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if all the files on your computer disappeared? Have you thought about how much down time and lost sales an incident like this would cause? These are simple questions that both business owners and employees should be asking themselves on a regular basis. If you did lose data, does your company have a plan in place to restore lost data?

Hopefully the answer is yes. If not, there are steps you can take to make sure your business is backing up data in a proper manner. One method of backup is to use an external hard drive and perform a backup on a daily or weekly basis as you see fit. This method of backup is not recommended because there are too many variables. What happens if you misplace the external drive? What happens if you forget to back up your important files one night? The next best solution would be backing up to tape.

Tape is an inexpensive way to back up your data (though a little out dated). Tape’s biggest advantage is price. Tape backups have a very low price per gigabyte, making tape a viable option if you are trying to keep your IT costs at a minimum. That said, tape backups have been around for a while and have a few problems of their own. Tape drives consist of many moving parts both in the media and the drive, meaning parts will break in time. Also, tape access speeds are dismal when compared to drive-based backup. Tape drives can take several minutes to load and position before you can even begin to access their data. Last but not least, manual tape backup is associated with security risks. Losing a tape with important business information or worse, customer information, would not be good for a company’s reputation.

In order to properly and efficiently back up your data, jumping to the cloud is probably your best bet. The best word to sum up cloud-based backup is “simple.” That’s true in part because most cloud-based backup is now run as a service. The end user performs a one-time full system backup over the public Internet. After that the provider will run incremental backups, only capturing the changes since the last backup, making for a quicker backup. Cloud backup can also be automated for business requirements. With backup automation there is no need for employees to set aside time to back up their endpoints; instead, the backup software will run silently in the background.

Cloud backup addresses problems that both external drives and tape cannot. For example, with cloud backup businesses do not have to worry about employees forgetting to back up their data to an external hard drive, or worse, losing the external hard drive. Tape may sound like a viable option, but there are still too many variables. With cloud backup your data is much more secure because data is always encrypted—while it is being transferred to the data center and at rest in the data center, where it is monitored and protected 24/7. And getting your data out of the data center is much easier then performing a tape restoration. Many cloud providers offer a variety of data restore options, including but not limited to right-click restore, web restores, and media restores.

Cloud-based backup is the way forward and has tremendous upside for business owners. Backup technology is no longer a nice to have for business but rather a must have. Developments in technology as well as an increase in cloud backup vendors has helped to significantly decrease prices, making cloud backup much more accessible than you might think. What can cloud backup do for you?

Make Digital Backups of Your Precious Family Photos

One very vivid memory I had growing up was the amount of time I spent looking through my family photo albums. I remember the days when I would sit down with my mother and father looking at photos, asking them questions about the very first apartment that we lived in, or about the time when we got our first dog, and about the pictures of them before I was born. Even to just go back and reminisce on that one summer when we took a family trip to Disney World brought back so many great memories and conversations. I always loved these moments.

The thought of not having these pieces of memorabilia never even crossed my mind. What if my father never had those photos developed? What if my mother never collected those photos and put them into albums? Today, in the world of digital, in the world of the cloud, I wonder the same thing about my pictures, and the moments in time that I have the responsibility to capture for future generations. Every picture that I capture now is taken through my digital camera or my smartphone. With the over abundance of ways that we can capture pictures, the need for digitally backing up these photos to one safe place is more important than ever. While it’s easy to think that by simply keeping your pictures on your camera, your smartphone, or even on your computer is secure, in actuality, it is not. What would happen if that camera or phone gets lost, or if your desktop computer crashes? How many memories will be lost if your printed photos go missing or get misplaced during a move or home relocation?

Some of our best moments in our personal history are captured through photography. Pictures give us the ability to share stories that are most important to us. It’s important to safeguard our photos so that our memories are not lost forever. Luckily there are digital backup tools that have been created to make digital storage easy and automatic. These advanced tools leave out the unnecessary manual process and time that it used to take to back up files and photos. Digital storage options that are available today allow you to access your files from your home computer or from your smartphone and download at the simple click or tap of a button. In this day and age, I wouldn’t even think twice about not backing up my important pictures.

Digitally backing up your photos allows you to save, store, and preserve everything from old family photos to those amazing, in-the-moment photos taken from your smartphone. I couldn’t imagine having my kids miss out on the cherished memories that I had as a child, looking through old photos, and reminiscing on old times. Having a digital backup system assures me that my family photos will be passed on safely for future generations to keep and share for decades to come. What methods are you using to back up your most cherished family photos?

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.


$1.7 trillion says a bundle about data losses and downtime

By anyone’s standards, US$1,700,000,000,000.00 is a lot of money.

According to the findings of a recently released study, globally, enterprises are losing as much as $1.7 trillion through data loss and unplanned downtime.

The EMC Global Data Protection Index (GDPI), which was commissioned by EMC Corp. and conducted by the global technology market research firm Vanson Bourne, is the result of interviews with 3,300 IT decision makers from 24 countries. All respondents were from enterprise-size organizations of at least 250 employees or more.
The study had three primary goals:
•    Calculate the impact of data loss to existing businesses.
•    Assess the maturity level of data protection strategies in multiple countries.
•    Measure IT leaders’ confidence in protecting new and emerging workloads—cloud, big data, and mobility.

In assessing the maturity level of their organization’s data protection, IT decision makers were asked questions relating to their backup and recovery experience, strategy, and infrastructure. Points were awarded to each organization based on the maturity of their data protection strategy, including for shorter recovery times, confidence in backup infrastructure, modern backup systems, and the ability to replicate data offsite. Here are the results:
•    Laggards (scored between 1–25 points): 36.8 percent
•    Evaluators (scored between 26–50 points): 49.5 percent
•    Adopters (scored between 51–75 points): 11.3 percent
•    Leaders (scored between 76–100 points): 2.4 percent

Only 13 percent of organizations globally can be described as adopters or leaders, or, in other words, those who are ahead of the maturity curve. Clearly, many organizations need to redefine their data protection strategy, especially when one considers that of the organizations represented in the study, during the past 12 months:
•    64 percent experienced data loss or unplanned downtime
•    49 percent experienced unplanned downtime
•    32 percent experienced data loss
•    17 percent experienced data loss and downtime

Worldwide, the estimated annual cost for disruptions equates to $754 billion for data loss and $954 billion for downtime, for a total of $1.7 trillion. Regardless of whether an organization is defined as a laggard, evaluator, adopter, or leader, organizations large and small are losing money as the result of data loss and unplanned downtime. But it doesn’t have to be that way. EMC recommends the following:
•    Make sure there’s an appropriate data protection solution in place for all of your critical data no matter where it is or how it is generated.
•    Manage an integrated data protection strategy and maintain a level of visibility and control for application owners.
•    Evaluate the gaps in your protection strategy that may emerge from disparate vendor solutions.
•    Match your data protection approach with the availability and protection requirements for your tiers of applications/data.
•    Understand who owns data protection, especially in the cloud.

All companies can do more to ensure that one of their primary assets—their data—is protected from loss, damage, or theft. After all, no one needs to be convinced that being a laggard is a lot more costly than being a leader. Fortunately, the tools are available to avoid contributing to that $1.7 trillion for disruptions. You CAN be a leader.

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