Category Archives: Cloud

Cloud Backup Protects Small Businesses from a Rainy Day

Most small businesses aren’t backed by angel investors or the deep pockets of venture capitalists. They’re financed by their founders, gifts and investments by friends and family, loans from a neighborhood bank, and the owners’ personal credit cards. These companies don’t have the resources to cope with a disruption in their cashflow.

One report found that downtime costs small businesses $55,000 in income every year; that doesn’t even account for the cost of paying employees who can’t work without access to systems or paying them overtime to catch up when systems come back online.

The loss of income associated with an outage can even drive a small company out of business. That’s why it’s important to view data protection as a means of protecting not just your data, but protecting your business.

Even small disasters cause big problems

Natural disasters don’t have to be big enough to draw national news attention to cause big problems for small business. A minor windstorm can down branches and knock out power, shutting you down for a day. A water main break can flood the streets, making it impossible for your employees to get to work.

Either way, without a plan, your data may not be available or your employees may not be able to get to it.

Small businesses are targets of hackers

Your data may also be at risk due to insecure computers at the office. Small businesses aren’t too small to be the targets of hackers. In fact, because small businesses often don’t invest in strong defensive measures, they’re a popular and vulnerable target. One security vendor’s study found that more 40 percent of phishing emails targeted small companies, with trends showing an increasing focus of attacks at small businesses.

A ransomware attack can literally leave you unable to access your data. These attacks encrypt your data, making it unreadable without a key—which the attacker will happily provide, if you pay their ransom. Organizations including hospitals have been forced to pay up to recover their data.

Cloud backup makes data always available

Many small businesses don’t even create data backups, or have never tested restoring from backups, considering it too complicated. It’s simpler to use a cloud storage service like Mozy by Dell, which makes files available from anywhere. With cloud backup, local disasters don’t prevent you from accessing your data. Backups can happen automatically, even throughout the day, and the cloud provider makes sure full security measures are in place to protect your files. If your local data becomes inaccessible, whether because of a natural disaster or ransomware, you can always access a good copy of your files from the cloud.

Viewing the cost of data protection as a cost of doing business is more cost effective than paying for emergency services that cost more and may not be able to recover all your data. With cloud backup, no matter what the weather outside, you’ll always be open for business.

Why Your Business Needs to Back Up Its Data

Ever try to turn on your computer and nothing happens?

Imagine if this was the only computer in your entire business. Years worth of information could be gone in an instant. Word documents that detail business processes are no longer. Sales number spreadsheets and spending are gone.

Problems like these can cripple a business. In today’s data-dependent world, business files are the lifeblood of companies both large and small. That’s why it’s critical that you back up your business data before disaster strikes.

Check out the following to learn more about the common causes of data loss and how to prevent it.

Data loss is possible

The scenario described above is more common than you think. But it’s not always on a large scale. Sometimes, a single file is affected. But depending on the file’s contents, the problem could still have a large impact.

The most common reasons for data loss include:

•     Hardware or system failure
•     Viruses and malware (such as ransomware)
•     Human error
•     Software corruption
•     Natural disasters

 

Hardware or system failure

Computers are fickle. They get old and tired. It’s not unusual for them to stop working for no reason. No matter how well you take care of your devices, things break. It’s a fact of life. Investing in a cloud-based backup solution allows you to save and restore critical information easily. Don’t lose years worth—or even a day’s worth!—of data due to a breakdown.

Viruses and malware

New viruses and malicious programs appear daily. Sometimes they take the guise of legitimate programs or files you need to run your business. No security program catches everything. If these files aren’t quickly identified, they can wreak havoc on your system and infect other files, creating mountains of useless data or in the case of ransomware, data that’s being held for ransom in exchange for a special decryption key that might not even unlock your data. Backing up your data will allow you to revert back to an earlier, working file version.

Human error

People are fallible. Files get discarded that should be saved, or don’t get saved at all. Don’t let your business fall prey to an overly tired employee who inadvertently deletes the latest sales report.

Software corruption

Just like there’s no perfect solution to preventing system failures, software corruption is a fact of digital life. Sometimes a system update creates an issue. Or the software is used so much that it doesn’t run properly when opened the next time. Backing up information to the cloud allows you to easily open files on another device.

Natural disasters

Fires and floods can ruin machines and destroy digital files. Storing data in the cloud protects your sales figures, proprietary information and other important business files from burning up or being damaged by water. One of these disasters can ruin all of your machines at once, so backing up your data locally doesn’t protect you if all of your devices are destroyed.

Why cloud backup?

Backing up business data to the cloud protects you from a device failure or a total loss. Using an easy-to-use and cost-effective solution like Mozy automatically backs up files, so there’s no need to remember to perform a periodic backup. With options to restore to any device or computer, these solutions make it easy to restore data anywhere, anytime. Additional features such as file sync and mobile access can actually increase productivity with anytime, anywhere access to your important files.

Keeping data secure should be a top business priority. Don’t risk your investment when you can easily protect your business from loss for just a few dollars a month. Invest in a cloud-based backup solution for your company today.

Don’t Fear Ransomware!

Did you hear about the Bay Area light-rail system that was hit by ransomware a couple of weeks ago? You can read about it on The Core, Mozy’s parent company’s blog.

Some ransomware facts

Although it’s true that ransomware sounds scary, you shouldn’t fear it. There are a few things we know about this type of malware. Ransomware:
   •     Is prevalent (there were more than 431 million malware          variants added in 2015)
   •     Continues to grow more sophisticated (some ransomware          uses unbreakable encryption)
   •     Usually gains access through a network’s weakest link (for          example, a user’s email or social networking site)
   •     Has cost businesses millions of dollars this year (US$209          million just in Q1 2016)

Knowing these facts helps us to understand the very real nature of the threat of ransomware to today’s businesses.

It can’t happen to my business…right?

According to the Global Data Protection Index (GDPI), data protection—which includes data backup—is critical for a number of reasons. Of the organizations surveyed by the GDPI:
   •     52% suffered unplanned system downtime in the last 12 months
   •     29% suffered data loss
   •     36% reported internal or external security breaches (including ransomware)
   •     Hardware failure is still the number one cause of data loss and/or system downtime

Clearly, a ransomware disaster is more common than most people think. It can happen to your business!

Ransomware isn’t going away

As already mentioned, businesses have already forked over more than US$200 million just in the first quarter of this year. According to the FBI, ransomware is on course to become a US$1+ billion industry by the end of 2016. There have been 2+ billion records leaked in 2016 as a result of cybercrimes.

Although ransomware isn’t going away, it’s important to remember this: a ransomware disaster is preventable!

So, what can you do?

Like most criminals, cybercriminals are opportunists who are looking for the easiest targets. One of the best things a business can do is no be an easy target! For starters, be sure you can answer “yes” to the following questions:
   •     Are your employees aware of the risks of unsolicited emails?
   •     Are your firewalls and mail filters always up to date?
   •     Are you using expired antivirus software?
   •     Are you syncing data from endpoints up to cloud-based file sync share systems?

But there’s more to be done in order to prevent a ransomware disaster.

Backup and restore

The most reliable form of protection organizations can leverage to safeguard their data is backup. But simple backup is not enough to ensure that your files are protected from ransomware. It’s important to note that common backup solutions such as a USB drive or network-attached storage device (NAS) are not reliable methods for backing up and safeguarding your data. Ransomware typically spreads throughout an organization’s entire file system, including an attached drive or network share, encrypting both production data and backup data.

It’s also important to note that backup off site (away from your primary site) is critical. Mozy by Dell backs up your important endpoint files and server data to the Dell EMC cloud to ensure that it cannot be compromised by ransomware. When a malware infection is involved, restoration of an endpoint or server from a backup works best when you can easily select a moment in time from where to restore. With Mozy cloud backup, once you have identified the point of infection and the time the malware was introduced to the machine, the Mozy solution lets you restore all of the files for the given user from the point in time just before the malware was introduced.

For more information on how you can prevent a ransomware disaster with endpoint data protection, visit Mozy by Dell.

The Importance of Personal Data Backup

For years we created photo albums and mixtapes of important photos and music. Family memories were recorded on videotapes and later burned on DVDs. Important paperwork was filed into folders and moved into boxes when it became too cumbersome.

As we moved from an analog world to a digital world, photos were stored on cards and music burned on CD. Movies stayed on DVDs, and paperwork was filed in PDF format on the family computer.

But today, even these digital formats have limitations. We have to keep track of camera cards, DVDs and CDs. Files can become corrupted or lost when the family computer is replaced with a laptop or tablet.

Not only do we have to keep track of multiple storage mediums, but the cellphone has become both the camera and video recorder. We have files strewn across multiple devices without a system to get those things back if the devices they’re stored on become lost or damaged.

That’s why it’s critical to have one system that seamlessly stores all your files to be backed up automatically and restored at the push of the button.

Keeping memories safe

At one point, cameras were only available to the wealthy. Photographers took family portraits that hung on their walls and decorated their mantels. As technology made cameras available to everyone, anyone could become a photographer.

These devices required film to be developed on paper, and photos were collected into albums and boxes.

As digital cameras rose in popularity, their prices dropped, once again putting photography into the hands of the masses.

Today, the smartphone is quickly replacing the digital camera. Devices like the iPhone and Pixel allow low-light photography and high quality on a small, portable object.

Another device, the video recorder, has also been replaced by the smartphone. Combining still photography and motion video in one application allows anyone to create home movies.

The problem with these devices is the same as always: Technology advances, devices become obsolete. Or even worse, they break and all our memories are lost along with them. But there’s a better solution. Using a cloud-based backup system allows you to save and restore files from all your devices in one place. And because it’s automatic, there’s nothing to remember. Now you can easily access all of your memories at the push of the button.

Securing important documents

Paperwork isn’t usually stored on paper anymore. In the past, paperwork was delivered and signed in person. Later, papers were relegated to boxes or cabinets where they would remain if ever needed again. This method has its limitations.

Files can be destroyed by fire, flood or damaged from years of sitting in a musty cellar or attic.

Technology now allows us to create documents and sign them without being present. This eliminates the need for paper entirely, allowing us to store mountains of paperwork without wasting space. But digital documents also have limitations. They can become corrupted or infected with a virus or malware (such as ransomware), rendering them unreadable. Storage disks can get damaged or hard drives get destroyed. This is why backing up important documents is critical for different reasons than one would protect their memories.

A digital world needs world-class data protection

Old-fashioned data protection doesn’t work for the modern world. That’s why it’s important to invest in a backup solution that works for all your devices. Don’t depend on hard drives and CDs and DVDs and camera cards to keep you protected. Mozy by Dell is a one-stop solution that works seamlessly for all of your needs, allowing backups and restoration at the push of a button. Learn more at Mozy.com.

Championship Data Protection Year after Year after Year

Because it was so exciting to watch, it seems like only yesterday that after more than a century the Cubs finally won the World Series. Game 7 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians was a battle—one requiring an extra inning!—to the end. On November 2 the Cubs finally ended a 108-year World Series championship drought.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. The obvious one might be “Never give up”; however, there is something more important to remember when it comes to protecting your data. It’s this: Just because your data has always been safe and you’ve never had a data breach or lost your data as a result of hardware or software failure doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Data loss is going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.

Consider that the Cubs played in the 1906, 1907 and 1908 World Series, becoming the first major league team play in three consecutive World Series. The Cubs won back-to-back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908, becoming the first team to win it twice (they lost the Series in 1906 to the Chicago White Sox). If you were alive back then, you might have expected the Cubs to play in the 1909 World Series. And even if they didn’t, you certainly would have expected them to play in a World Series before 2016! But it didn’t happen that way; their lucky streak didn’t last. The Cubs never played in another World Series—not until 1945, and they lost.

Again, just because your data protection strategy has never been challenged, consider yourself lucky. The streak won’t last. Eventually, your organization will lose critical business data. The Global Data Protection Index found that of those organizations surveyed, 29% suffered data loss. There is no comfort in that percentage, not when you count on critical business data to keep your business up and running and profitable. Here’s another percentage that even a streak of good luck won’t change: a whopping 36% of organizations reported internal or external security breaches (think ransomware) or hardware failure. If you think your hardware is fail-proof, think again. The number one cause of data loss and/or system downtime is hardware failure, according to the GDPI.

So what can you do to protect your data? Key to your data protection strategy should be a solid backup plan. Mozy by Dell offers complete data protection for SMBs and next-generation endpoint protection for the enterprise. MozyPro lets you schedule backups to run daily, weekly or monthly. It’s automatic and affordable backup that includes file sync and mobile access. With Mozy Sync, you simply place a file in your local Mozy Sync folder, and it’s immediately available from any computer, smartphone and tablet that you regularly use. The Mozy mobile app for iOS and Android devices gives your smartphone or tablet access to your Mozy Sync folder wherever you are, and whenever you need it. It works hand in hand with Mozy cloud backup, making all of your files safe and available.

MozyEnterprise seamlessly protects endpoints and remote offices, helps increase workforce productivity with file sync and mobile access, and keeps IT in control of corporate data. This cloud backup solution for desktops, laptops and small servers gives you more complete data protection for users on any network, and the powerful administrative console lets you manage it all from anywhere. And should your organization be hit by malware or other cyberthreat—including ransomware—Mozy allows you to restore files from any point in time prior to the attack, meaning your files are accessible when you need them most.

To be sure, no data protection solution can cause your favorite team to win a World Series, but it will ensure that you can champion a winning data protection strategy year after year after year. Don’t let your business wait a century to discover that.

I can hardly wait for the 2017 World Series!

Why Cloud Computing Makes Xbox One the Ultimate Console

Back in 2013, Microsoft made a peculiar declaration that the Xbox One wouldn’t be like other consoles that showed their age in the dying days of their life cycle. Instead, the new console would become more powerful with cloud computing. Since then, there haven’t been many examples of games showing it off and most people still don’t exactly know why or how it will improve the console. While there’s no software that fully takes advantage of the feature currently in consumers’ hands, there’s still plenty of reason to be excited about the technology that will change gaming forever.

The best example of cloud computing on the Xbox One is featured in the upcoming game, Crackdown 3. Making its visual debut at Gamescom 2015, the developers showed how an entire environment could be demolished in a multiplayer setting. Seems simple enough on the surface with how powerful the console is, but not even the newest-built PC could handle all the processing required to do this.

This is where cloud computing comes in. It gives the Xbox One hidden processing power by using servers in the cloud to store the destruction. For years, multiplayer games have ran by declaring one console the host while other units would feed off of it, but these matches have always been held back because there’s only so much information that can be shared. Cloud servers create more room for the game’s multiplayer matches to feature full-scale destruction that won’t disappear.

Dave Tach of Polygon describes how the additional servers made Crackdown 3 a thrilling experience:

“When the server’s horizontal bar maxed out, it added another, represented by a progress bar beneath it. And another. And another. The game didn’t so much as hitch as the buildings fell and more and more servers made it happen.”

Unfortunately, there’s nothing currently available to consumers that clearly shows how amazing using cloud servers can be. Titanfall does have its multiplayer universe built using them and it creates more room for physics and artificial intelligence. Still, the game’s multiplayer mode still behaves like a traditional one. There isn’t anything that truly shows the power of cloud servers. Crackdown 3′s ability to have multiple players destroying the entire environment could finally be the software that changes that when it’s released to the public.

Will the additional cloud servers make the Xbox One the only console you’ll need for decades? Not necessarily. Games will continue to require better graphics cards and more processing speed, and that will have to be upgraded. There will still be a need for new consoles, or slightly upgraded models that the current generation will be releasing soon. They also won’t wow consumers like a decked-out PC rig with the latest technology.

People who have never heard of cloud servers probably won’t be any the more wiser after playing through Crackdown 3, simply thinking that it’s just how powerful the Xbox One is. However, as more developers take advantage of them, the longer the console’s shelf life will be.