Category Archives: Business Notes

We Have to Start Meeting Like This: How the Cloud is Making the Conference Room Obsolete

We have to start meeting like thisPart of the experience of working in a world of mobile tech is that your meetings are no longer conference-room bound.

Instead, you can bring together people from anyplace, using a virtual space that opens your team up to possibilities that once required a lot more time and money.

Want to sit down with your graphics designer in San Francisco, but also pull in your head of marketing who’s at an expo this week in Toronto? And you’re in New York? With the help of cloud computing, you can.

Cloud conferencing allows users to share information and makes meetings a multimedia experience. This isn’t a teleconference with disembodied voices bouncing off the walls of a teleconference. Attendees can work with all the documents, sound, and images — the real-time collaboration that you’re used to in a physical space.

So, how do you get your small-business on board with meeting software? And how much is all this going to cost, anyway? Let’s take a quick trot around the course of cloud conference technology, noting some of the platforms out there in the online-meeting world, especially those that put your small-business budget in the front seat and allow you to work for low costs or for free.

1. MeetingKing 

If all you need is a basic way to participate as a team from individual screens, MeetingKing is a free way to get started along that path. Beginning with its nuts-and-bolts public meeting space, if you wish you can later pick from a suite of paid monthly programs. The top-end version of the app costs about $125 per month.

At its most elaborate, you’re looking at packed-in templates for creating agendas and minutes and customizable graphics such as logos. Each meeting gets archived for a period of time — from three months to forever — depending on the package that you choose.

2. MeetingSense

MeetingSense can take your online conference to yet another level. In includes task-allocation and tracking features, and communications- and member-update options that create connectivity between the pre-, during, and post-meeting experience.

And MeetingSense’s pricing is scalable. You pay approximately $20 per member, per month. So you can implement the app by assigning it to particular team members within a particular timeframe. Start it when you need it, turn it off when you’re done.

3. AgreeDo

This app approaches cloud conferencing with a similar suite of tools to the preceding example, but it provides them for free. From keeping track of decisions and documents, to getting those needed documents to everyone once the meeting is done, you can’t really beat the number of options at this the price. The company suggests that for-pay features may be forthcoming, but for now users get access to everything without a charge.

4. Minutes.io 

Say you don’t need a whole suit of cloud conference services, and you haven’t the time to learn a whole software system.

If it’s simply minutes and to-do lists you’re looking to create, and you want the ability to push them to participants and link them to other software applications along the line, check out the free Minutes.io app.

Presenting an intuitive and tablet-friendly environment, your end result is an interactive doc that shows tasks, decisions, and ownerships at a glance. It gets stored locally on your browser, so even if the meeting you’re in hasn’t got an Internet connection, they’ll live in stasis, awaiting publication, until you’re in a Wi-Fi zone again.

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Mobile Business 101: Communicate Better, Collaborate Better (Here’s How)

Mobile Business 101What’s more impressive than a mobile workforce 1 billion workers strong?

It’s this: a mobile workforce topping the 1.3-billion member mark.

That’s the recent prediction by the International Data Corp., which tracks workforce trends. That’s a lot of employees communicating all at once via a whole spectrum of devices.

When it comes to small businesses, the success of going mobile largely depends on a well-planned and smartly implemented communication system. Mobile small-biz professionals need to plug into best practices to keep everything running smoothly, out there on the road.

Let’s look at four ways to do just that, (with some advice provided by industry experts at eVoice to help out). It’s time for a quick study of mobile business 101.

1. Unify Your Company’s Mobile-Comm Profile

No matter how sophisticated your network of mobile employees, if you’re presenting your customers with the concept of a company, stick with a single central phone number that they can call. Thanks to technology, anyone can connect to the trunk number, and then get connected to a representative’s roaming mobile device.

In this age of cloud-based systems, that’s the reality. Virtual phone systems mean that the call, to the caller, will sound  just like the conventional greeting and menu-option environment that they’ve come to expect. It doesn’t matter where the person picking up the call is actually speaking from.

2. Deploy Voicemail as a Prioritizing Tool

It’s an old trick, but it’s still a good one when it comes to protecting employees’ valuable time. Prioritize calls by what virtual-phone software tells them about the incoming caller allows them to divert certain conversations that they can get to further down the line, and bump the most important calls to the top of their response list. Virtual voicemail means that the mobile worker can — again, thanks to cloud technology — access the account from anywhere during the day.

3. Circumvent the Dead Zones: VoIP Helps Eliminate Carrier Loss

Versatile and professional communication from anywhere, in this mobile work-world: that does  sound appealing.

But many of us know the truth about office-ing from our smartphones: dropped calls, cellular dead zones, these things mark the surefire path to frustration for the client and the small-business.

Clicking over to a virtual phone system can help, one that bounces hard-to-connect calls to the Internet and replaces a potentially shaky carrier with hardwired Wi-Fi whenever its possible to get online. It can make all the difference when that important call catches you out in the country. (Especially if you’re tethering for Internet anywhere.)

4. Cloud Conference 

When it comes to demos, real-time brainstorming, and all the business-class communication that used to have come solely from the board room, the cloud is now the conference room for mobile workers.

According to one recent survey conducted by ConferBlogs, 77% of employees and owners of small- to medium-sized businesses say that web conferencing saves them travel time, travel costs, and connects them to more people than traditional face-to-face meet-ups.

There is certainly more than one option out there, when it comes to the tech that can drive these mobile communications strategies.

From Adobe Connect to MegaMeeting, from Vocalocity to the suite of tools that come with eVoice, the range of services — and prices — allow small businesses to pick and choose what suits them best.

Start with these tips and get your mobile workforce talking —  and conferencing, and sharing desktops. All these points of integration will make them part of a dynamic and moving workforce, soon to be 1.3 billion strong.

 

Mozy Mobile Apps

 

Is backup alone enough?

Mozy Online BackupInteresting question, isn’t it? For years it seemed that a simple duplicate back up of your files was enough to provide peace of mind and opportunities for your company to succeed. However, in today’s mobile world, is backup enough?

Written by industry analyst firm IDC and sponsored by Mozy, a new white paper, entitled “Make Your Backups a Competitive Advantage for Greater Productivity” shows companies how to make backups more strategic, and how accessibility is the new name of the game in online storage.

According to the paper: “Service providers are leveraging backup services to enable higher levels of worker productivity to individuals, departments, and organizations. This increased productivity comes from providing functions pertaining to collaboration and data sharing, managing accessibility, reuse and leveraging the value of the data, and improvements in disaster recovery scenarios.”

Rather than just preserving data, businesses now need to understand and implement ways to make that data more accessible and easier to share. Backups of your company’s important information are still valuable, but the more businesses can empower employees to utilize and share that data, the more productive they will be.

An example of such a service that allows businesses to easily share this data is the recently launched public beta of Mozy Stash. Stash is feature that provides Mozy customers with a simple and secure way to keep their files current and available across multiple computers, smart phones and tablets. With Stash, current Mozy customers have access to a combination of Mozy’s industry-leading online backup with the ability to synchronize files across multiple computers and devices.

Working together, Mozy online backup and Stash ensure that all files are not only protected but are available to you from anywhere you have Stash installed, as well as on your iOS or Android device through the Mozy mobile app.

Make sure to download the full IDC white paper “Make Your Backups a Competitive Advantage for Greater Productivity.”

What’s Your Business Data Loss Recovery Plan?

The New York Times warned small business owners to think about a disaster recovery plan last week. Jennifer Walzer, the author, has experience working in small businesses and understands a complete plan isn’t always possible. However, she does write that some elements of a disaster recovery plan are better than none.

According to the article, data loss is the most common business disaster. Here is the second of six steps Walzer suggests to make sure you get the right solution for your business’s needs:

“Consider backup options. Your backup must be offsite, secure and available for recovery 24/7. One popular option that meets the above criteria, with the added benefit of ease of use and automation, is online backup.” (A Small-Business Guide to Disaster Recovery)

The Baltimore-based law firm Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dan learned that data loss can happen to anyone anytime. A senior partner was preparing for a trial in Arkansas when his computer crashed two days before the hearing. The firm had yet to implement a backup solution, so the Director of Technology, David Roden, found himself on the next flight into Arkansas.

After this, Roden began looking for a reliable solution that wouldn’t hog their network resources. Shortly after that, the firm decided on MozyPro. If a computer ever fails again, anywhere in the world, Roden will be able to manage the recovery right from his office.

MozyPro provides simple, secure, and automatic backup that can literally save your business in the event of a disaster without the large investment in time and money of other backup solutions.

Financial Industry Grows by Triple-Digits

Yesterday, we were thrilled to announce triple-digit new customer growth over the past 12 months from companies in the accounting and financial services industries. These businesses cited cost savings and the need to protect irreplaceable data as the primary reasons for turning to MozyPro.

These reasons are supported by a recent report from Forrester stating that small business IT spending will decline more than enterprise IT spending in 2009. In addition, a Gartner survey found that losing intellectual property or customer data was the number one concern for North American organizations.

Paul Emmons, founder of Emmons & Co., said he would recommend Mozy to any business because it addresses these exact concerns. “It is off-site, automatic, and gives quality protection at an affordable price,” he said. “The ability to set backups and move on to other responsibilities is invaluable and something no other solution has given me.”

Most small businesses are not immune from facing struggles in this economic environment. Fortunately, products like MozyPro help businesses meet these challenges head on and allow them to focus on providing quality services to their customers and communities for years to come.

University of San Francisco speaks about Mozy at EduComm 2009

Walter Petruska speaking about Mozy at EduCommAt the sunny Ritz Carlton Resort in Orlando, Walter Petruska of the University of San Francisco stood at the EduComm conference and presented on how the university implemented new technology to cut costs and improve protection of the university’s intellectual assets. Petruska specifically addressed how online backup has helped the university protect information on faculty and staff laptops and desktops.

Earlier in the day during the general luncheon, The New York Times Columnist David Pogue gave the keynote. He, too, discussed how new technologies are changing the college campus. He called out Twitter and other social media tools that engage students for better or worse.

EduComm 2009 brought together those in education who have a vision of tomorrow’s campus and how new technologies are shaping the future of higher education. At Mozy, we too are committed to helping those in higher education to protect their information through a simple, secure and affordable backup service. In fact, we announced this week that we have more than 700 educational institutions using Mozy. More information can be found at www.mozy.com/education.

Over 700 Educational Institutions Turn to Mozy

Today, we announced that the number of educational institutions using MozyPro as their online backup solution has more than doubled from the previous year. This figure consists of elementary and secondary schools as well as recognized national universities such as Northwestern and Stanford.

With the amount of digital information being created at an all time high, institutions are seeing the value in using Mozy because they only pay for the storage space they use and there are no hardware or installations costs. This assists schools in complying with stricter budget requirements without sacrificing security and simplicity.

Barbara Sutcliffe, manager of business operations at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University said, “Like so many schools today, we are looking for solutions that are affordable, reliable, and easy to use. While the cost of Mozy is minimal, the peace of mind it provides is priceless.”

Although my college days were not that long ago (or so I tell myself), I can’t help but wonder how many hours I could have saved not having to retype papers or class notes if Mozy had been around. It is good to see that students and faculty now have a better option than floppy disks for saving files!

MozyPro Growth Doubles in the Legal Industry

Yesterday, we announced that the number of legal organizations backing up their digital data with MozyPro has more than doubled from the previous year. Cost savings, security benefits, and the explosion of electronically-stored information have lead thousands of legal professionals to turn to Mozy for their backup solution.

Like most companies facing economic challenges, law firms are looking for ways to cut costs and improve efficiencies. For instance, long time member and contributor to the American Bar Association, Joseph Booth, knew he had to be smart about his investments when he opened his own practice. By choosing MozyPro, he realized a 92 percent savings over other backup solutions and was still able to easily and securely protect his most important business data.

Mozy also helps law firms address the need to protect large amounts of case files and client information, as Tina Peot of PHMPP Law attests. “I have endless amounts of data to manage, so it is essential I have a simple backup solution,” she said. “Mozy doesn’t take up more of my time, but instead makes my job easier.”

Not that I need a lawyer, but if I did, I sure hope that they knew how to keep my information safe. I guess Mozy offers peace of mind to more than just law firms! For more information, or to read more of our customer stories, visit http://mozy.com/legal.

The Best Intentions

I’m always surprised by the statistics which suggest more than 50% of companies have little or no backup strategy. Whether it is reluctance to new technology, perceived lack of threat to their computers or servers, or the misconception that backup is too expensive, many companies decide to forego off-site backup, thus opening the door for catastrophic data loss.

Take AVSIM for example. AVSIM, a leading website dedicated to the flight simulation community focusing mainly on Microsoft’s Flight Simulator program, recently had their two servers hacked and their site brought down. The company had no external backup system. Thirteen years of hard work and success where instantly wiped out.

“Yes, we dutifully backed up our servers every day,” the site’s founder said. “Unfortunately, we backed up the servers between our two servers. The hacker took out both servers, destroying our ability to use one or the other back-up to remedy the situation.” As of right now, AVSIM founder fears that the company may never recover from their data loss.

While we don’t wish disaster upon anyone, the truth is, disasters happen. Accidentally deleting a file, contracting a virus, or being the victim of a hacker can ruin your business in minutes. Unfortunately, stories like that of AVSIM’s are occurring more and more. I’ve made sure my friends and family have a backup plan, and so should you!

Cut Costs, Stay Secure

If you’re like most businesses, you’re probably looking for ways to cut costs wherever you can. Whether it’s waiting to refresh hardware, reducing workforces, or changing your IT workflow, businesses are feeling the effects of our current economic climate in the way they operate.

Citing a recent webinar by Gartner analyst Kurt Potter, Shane Schick of ITWorld Canada notes that companies should exercise caution before making drastic changes in an effort to cut costs, especially in their IT environments. Some cost-cutting measures can actually harm a business when it comes to the delivery of their products or services. Potter states, “You need to build competencies and discipline around cost optimization.”

One vital aspect of any business is the protection and storage of critical customer and business data. So how do you protect what’s most important with reduced resources? Schick says that being willing to embrace emerging technologies is one way to effectively reduce cost and increase productivity.

Instead of backing up your business information with traditional on-site storage, which many times requires expensive hardware, setup fees and constant monitoring, you could use Mozy’s online backup solution. Not only will this save you money on power, infrastructure, and physical space, but it will also save you time and resources, which is priceless for any business.

The great part about Mozy is, you still get the highest in security standards. With files transferred and stored in encrypted states, you will never have to worry about the integrity or security of your data. Even if you move offices or lose systems to theft, viruses, hard drive crash, or natural disaster, your critical information is securely stored and accessible when you need it.