Category Archives: Small Business

Eight days a week—or whatever it takes

All cloud backup providers are not equal. Of course, you already know that; that’s why you depend on Mozy seven days a week. And if there were eight days a week, then we would back up and protect your data on the eighth day as well. And speaking of eight, in a recent BusinessNewsDaily article, Mozy’s Gytis Barzdukas, senior director of Product Management, identifies eight key elements a business should expect from a cloud storage provider:
• Financial stability
• Proven infrastructure
• Established customer base
• Geographically distributed data centers
• Security
• Robust encryption
• Third-party validation and accreditation
• SLA terms and execution

Each element is important and should be expected by the customer. Of course, a few of these elements lose their attraction if the other elements aren’t part of the picture, so it’s important to understand what you need and why you need it. “Online data storage is a broad term that can mean lots of different things to lots of different people, so it’s really important for businesses to properly understand what’s right for their needs and what’s being offered by different providers,” Barzdukas says in the article.

Let’s take a few minutes to discuss why Mozy cloud backup protection is complete. You might already be familiar with this, but it’s still a nice refresher course and a reminder that Mozy has your back when it comes to protecting your data.

Financial stability: Mozy is profitable and is backed by EMC (EMC), the leader in storage. We’re not going anywhere, except to the future. Enough said.

Proven infrastructure: Mozy easily scales complete data protection from a single person to tens of thousands of devices in the enterprise with easy deployment options from Mozy’s feature-rich Admin Console, which lets admins perform their duties in ways that work best for them.

Established customer base:
Sure, we can say that we protect a large customer base (6 million individuals), but we also protect 100,000 businesses and store more than 90 petabytes of information. (When you have a few minutes, read what our customers say about us on our Testimonials page.)

Geographically distributed data centers: Mozy servers are located in world-class data centers across the globe. And because there are regional jurisdictional requirements for data location, our data centers are situated where they need to be.

Security: We don’t take chances with the data that’s entrusted to us. The security of your data is our highest priority. Mozy security policies protect your information from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. Our data centers have never been breached.

Robust encryption: All data handled by Mozy is encrypted with military-grade encryption prior to transfer, during transit via an SSL connection, and it remains encrypted while at rest in our data centers. Users can choose a managed encryption key, or personal or corporate encryption keys for added security.

Third-party validation: Mozy is SOC 1 SSAE 16 Type 2 audited and ISO 27001 certified. These independent verifications certify that Mozy’s processes and procedures meet or exceed the strictest control objectives in the industry.

SLA terms and execution: Mozy is an established cloud provider that has gone through successful certification and auditing processes and has years of experience in deploying and managing cloud infrastructure and providing award-winning customer support.

Maybe it goes without saying (but we like to say it anyway) that Mozy online backup is comprised of all of those elements. They’re eight more reasons why Mozy is the most trusted name in cloud data protection and why Mozy cloud backup means complete data protection. And when we say complete, we mean that your information is private, secure, and accessible. It’s there when you need it, whenever you need it, whether for the home, SMB, or enterprise. Seven days a week, eight days a week—whatever it takes—we’re here for you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Data Loss Prevention – 4 Crucial Tactics for your Business

If you own or operate a business, you know how important it is to protect your data from internal and external threats. Losing data negatively impacts you, your customers, and your stakeholders. If you want to avoid financial loss and damage to your company’s reputation, make sure you’re managing its data in a safe and secure way.

With that said, here are four crucial data-loss prevention tactics.

Develop a sound plan

Your data protection strategy should include a range of controls and protective measures at different points in the data lifecycle (collection, use, transit, storage, archival, and destruction). Implementing a sound data-loss prevention plan with other protection technologies, like encryption and file destruction, is key to your overall success. You should also look into utilizing a cloud backup system. That way, even if your devices fail, your data will be safe. More than half of all U.S. businesses are using some sort of cloud storage system already!

When deciding on a data-loss prevention vendor, carefully consider and examine each company to ensure that it provides comprehensive solutions, centralized workflow capabilities, integrated policies, and customized reporting. The vendor you choose should also offer you a program that has capabilities across three vectors: data at rest, data in motion, and data at endpoints.

While you might overlook it, it’s also important to involve your stakeholders from the start of plan development. This ensures that all parties understand your business’s requirements and how they’ll affect operations, employee behavior, and company culture.

Linking your data-loss prevention plan with key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you measure your company’s performance and the effectiveness of the strategy you’ve developed. KPIs commonly used include percentage of network coverage, number of incidents concerning data leaks, and percentage of application coverage. To make this process easier, eliminate reporting that doesn’t directly involve your data-loss prevention plan or KPI strategy.

Increase employee effectiveness

When dealing with your employees, the first action you should take is to assign roles and responsibilities to them, providing in-depth training and outlining what you expect. A detailed, accountable, and informed staffing model will help you determine how the different functional areas of your company factor into the plan, design, implementation, and operation of your data-loss prevention solution. You also include your stakeholder’s role in this plan.

Remember though, some employees might consider your vendor of choice intrusive. It’s important to gauge your company’s culture so you can establish protections that are vital to it without being too invasive. The goal here is to complete a smooth implementation of your data-loss prevention strategy. Also remember to identify data owners, establish close relationships with them, and engage with them in effective and ongoing communications.

Streamline and simplify your processes

When establishing a data-loss prevention program, the most important step you can take is identifying your most sensitive data and assigning it a classification. Doing this will aid you in creating the right policies you need to detect and respond to incidents that involve sensitive data leaks. It also helps your company understand what data is most important and how it should handle and protect that data.

Conducting a data protection assessment will allow you to analyze the existing process controls and technology, finding any gaps within the system. Make sure that you include all areas of the company, document the location of the sensitive data, estimate the exposure it faces, and measure the potential magnitude of the loss. Doing so will help you develop processes that are simpler, yet more efficient.

Use technology to detect and prevent data loss

You should aim to deploy modular solutions that offer the maximum coverage with minimal internal disruption. This makes it possible for your company to implement robust data protection solutions as technologies mature and your business needs dictate.

Underestimating the threats to your data can prove to be a major mistake. If you want to protect your company and avoid an unfortunate future situation, keep these four points in mind when developing a sound strategy.

Has your company developed and implemented a data-loss prevention plan? How has it worked so far?

 

* DJ is a freelance writer who focuses on technology and business. He has an entrepreneurial mindset and passion for story telling. You can follow his musings on Twitter @MillerHeWrote.

 

Thoughts about Backup and Recovery from the Coop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When High Tech Touches Your Food

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

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

Codes, calories, and consumer confidence

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

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

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

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

The new fast food?

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

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

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

Improving efficiencies

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

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

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

Using the cloud to help prevent waste

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

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

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

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

The State of the Modern Meeting

Business owners and professionals can come together on at least one idea about meetings: While nobody loves to take them, everybody agrees that face-to-face time is a key value to the conference-room setting for meetings. Companies are increasingly looking for effective ways to provide that face-to-face opportunity–even when one of those faces is far apart from the other.

Indeed, the circumstances around “face time” are changing.

The State of the Modern Meeting

A new Blue Jeans Network survey shows that while 71% of polled professionals believe they’ve lost a business deal because their personal contact with a client or partner was replaced by conference calls and all-audio environments, some 30% are now using online tools to create video meetings that can in turn replace the physical conference room.

“This new way to collaborate means that bad weather, budget cuts, holidays and a geographically scattered team are no longer threats to business productivity,” said Stu Aaron, chief commercial officer at Blue Jeans. “You can easily conduct face-to-face meetings with nearly any browser-based device — from any location.”

The Blue Jeans Network survey offers additional insight into the state of the modern meeting and the changes business conferences will undergo in 2014.

Meeting Modern: Trends and Technology

A number of trends are affecting the meeting milieu.

  • In 2013, winter storms resulted in more meetings rather than fewer–some 20% more. Meetings simply became online conferences instead of in-office meet-ups.
  • One-third of all meetings now include participants who are appearing via mobile devices. New York holds the title for most mobile meeters, with San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston close behind.
  • Mobile is driving a change in meeting times, as well. Three times the conferences via mobile devices are now happening at 7 a.m. versus 8 a.m., or at 6 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.
  • Meetings on Saturdays and Sundays declined by more than one-third in the last half of 2013–from one in 10 meetings occurring on the weekend to just one in 15. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the most popular meeting days of the week.
  • The traditional lunch hour is also improving, at least in terms of how many times meetings intrude upon it. The polls shows a 20% dip in conferences scheduled between 12 noon and 1 p.m.

The survey also revealed another interesting statistic: While 41% of meetings begin on time, the survey stated, CEOs, CTOs, and other C-level execs typically arrive after everyone else.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

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How Small Businesses Can Avoid Common Hiring Missteps

Small Business InterviewHiring a new employee can be stressful–especially for a small business. Get it right, and you improve the productivity and profitability of the company. Get it wrong, and it can end up costing the company dearly–in time, money and, potentially, reputation.

While there is always an element of the unknown when making a new hire, there are some tried-and-true guidelines that organizations can follow to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Your ‘gut’ isn’t a hiring manager. Your intuition can be a powerful force, but, when it comes to hiring, gut feelings should not drive your decision-making process. Rely more on work samples and references and less on a candidate’s charisma.
  2. Favors to friends and family won’t do you any favors. Cousins, nephews, buddies and next-door neighbors–keep all these individuals in their place. Due to emotional ties and the complications that come with friendships, bringing personal and family relations into the workplace can be a recipe for trouble if things don’t go well on the job.
  3. Not every great candidate is a great small-business candidate. The stellar designer whose last job was in a shiny office tower with 10 times the resources your small business can provide might not be the right fit. Problems arise when a new hire has all the right qualifications and skills, but also has expectations that are torqued to a big-business kind of horsepower. Be clear with your candidates about the nature of a small business — your small business. Be specific about its atmosphere and limitations, and also its charms. How a candidate responds can tell you a lot about how he or she will fit into a small-shop experience.
  4. Listen more than you speak. You feel strongly about your business and love talking about it, but it’s important when interviewing a job candidate to listen more than speak. Market the pros of your company and provide all pertinent information, but then stop talking for as long as you can and open your mind to what the potential employee has to say. Watch the candidate’s body language and seek out tones, textures and all the little things that will develop your impression of how this person’s skills and background match up with how they present themselves and who they probably really are.
  5. Beware of illegal questions: Small-business owners may not have a human resources department or even an HR specialist on board, so they have to learn themselves what is and isn’t OK to ask during a job interview. Stay away from questions about things like pregnancy, marital status or age. Basically, avoid any questions whose answers could be perceived as placing a candidate at a disadvantage.

The good news is that successful hiring comes down mostly to common sense. Pay attention to these tips and then start fielding your best bets with the confidence that you’re about to find the right person for the job — and that you’re going about it by making all the right moves yourself.

 

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The One Question Business Owners Should Ask When Looking At Data

Small Business Owners Should Ask Questions About Data“So what?”

Although the question may sound stupid and the answer may seem obvious, it is absolutely necessary to ask.

The Web is overflowing with rich data, but much of it is mined and reviewed in the absence of clearly defined goals. Oftentimes, mining data is expensive. Many businesses have aimlessly followed the big data trend and now have nothing to show for it. Business owners would benefit immensely from data — big and small — if they knew how to turn that data into actionable insights.

Here’s an example from personal experience that illustrates this point.

Turning data into action

When I’m not blogging, I analyze data collected from 200,000 websites reaching over 250 million people each month to identify important inbound traffic trends. Last month, I produced a report titled “Search Traffic vs Social Referrals,” which reviewed the amount of traffic the top 5 search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, AOL) and the top 5 social media platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit) drove to websites during the past 13 months.

The predetermined goal was to understand–relatively–how much traffic search engines and social media sites sent to sites around the Web.

The data suggested social referrals to sites doubled over the past year. As the marketing manager for Shareaholic, I asked myself the all-important question, “So what?” I reasoned that because social media has driven an increasing number of visits to websites, more resources should be invested into improving social reach. Thus, I began creating content that was more shareable versus simply optimized for search engines.

Asking “So what?” when looking at data drives you to extract important information–the kind of data that can provide valuable insights useful for making sound business decisions.

The above example illustrated how I, as a marketer, used inbound traffic data to make smarter marketing decisions. Similarly, you can look at financial spreadsheets, technical data or the results of a survey to improve your business.

Looking beyond the data

With all of this said, it’s important to have a bit of healthy skepticism toward findings. When I discovered social media referrals grew 111% year over year, I didn’t immediately — and blindly — follow the numbers.

I researched the underlying causes for the recorded trend to make sense of it all. In this situation, my research corroborated the trends I saw. The explosive growth of social networks such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter provides supporting evidence that social media could — and did — drive an increased number of visits to sites across the web.

Conclusions

Essentially, data gives you an opportunity to observe trends, understand why the trends are happening and make wise decisions that will help your business.

If you’re in the planning stages of a data mining project, be sure to ask the question, “So what?” before moving forward. Pursue the data with meaningful purpose; don’t gather data for the simple sake of doing so.

If you’re wrapping up a research project with nothing to show except spreadsheets filled with numbers and charts with poor labels, don’t feel overwhelmed, and don’t throw in the towel. Instead, figure out ways to use the data to further business goals.

 

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Starting the Year Off: Setting (and Achieving) Resolutions for SMBs

SMB Goals in 2014We’ve come a long way, baby.

That’s the underlying message from small-business owners about 2013, according to a new Manta survey.

The poll shows some 72% of SMB leaders characterized the past 12 months as a period in which their companies flourished. The grimmest days of a recession-bound marketplace may be behind us, after all.

Good news, if it’s the case, but that doesn’t mean these SMB owners are resting on their laurels. Instead, the plan for the year to come seems to be growth, to push even harder. Let’s look at where small businesses say they are headed next, and break out some of the tips that can help them — and you — achieve a similarly successful 2014.

Working for the Best: SMBs on This Year’s Goals

Marketing is the word for the new year, according to the Manta poll. Small-business owners — 40% of them — said that finding new ways to promote their company would be the priority between now and December.

Other resolutions included:

  • 21% said improving customer service and bringing in new clients topped the list
  • 14% plan to launch new products, or upgrade and enhance the goods and services they currently provide
  • 9% said that increased networking was a primary goal
  • 5% intend to delegate more responsibility to employees

What does this all mean? For one thing, online resources will likely play an even more prominent role.

“With almost half of small-business owners focusing on amplifying marketing and promotions, we can expect to see more [of them] leveraging techniques that capitalize on their online and offline networks and digital content and distribution strategies,” said Kristy Campbell, director of marketing and communications at Manta.”

How to Get There: Tips for Achieving in 2014

Whatever your goals may be, your business is more likely to prosper if you apply your energy and resources to them in fresh and smart ways.

Start with the following points. Each is geared to help your company write this year’s success stories, no matter what your resolutions may be.

  1. Align your personal and professional vision: This year, establish a vision for your business that is aligned with your personal vision. Your personal health and professional health impact each other, so it is important to maintain both. One way is by complementary goal setting.
  2. Create your own advisory board: Business owners don’t need to have all the answers. Consider developing a small-business advisory board. This can be in a more traditional format with knowledgeable experts, or you can create your own virtual boardroom through online forums, Google Hangouts and other Internet-fueled meet-ups.
  3. Give and grow: Giving back to those in your network–whether they are employees, other small-business owners or loyal customers–will help you to grow your own network and business. Exchanging advice, developing strong internal teams and enhancing your relationship with clients are all important parts of making your business thrive.

Goals set. Strategies in place. May 2014 be a year in which business is better than ever. Because, right now, for SMB owners, the numbers suggest that the future is looking bright.

 

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New Year’s Resolutions and the Future of the Cloud

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

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

25% of Cloud Backup Providers Will be Gone by 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Navigating a Successful Platform Partnership

Navigating a Successful Platform PartnershipPlatform partnerships are key to many corporate technology strategies. When their different services are integrated, companies are able to reach more customers, deploy new services and harness IT resources more efficiently.

Instore, a software company providing mobile point-of-sale solutions to retail merchants, has been able to grow its customer base through a network of technology partners. For example, Instore partnered with Mercury Payments to offer efficient payment processing out of the box instead of building an entirely new system from scratch.

Matt Niehaus, Instore’s CEO, explained that these kinds of integrations have been invaluable for helping his company meet growing customer demands.

“We get a large amount of requests from our merchant customers to help them grow their business and run more efficiently,” said Niehaus. “Example requests include online ordering, customer rewards, gift cards, and better analytics.”

Instead of building new product features using in-house staff, Niehaus and his team rely on partnerships with vendors to fill the gaps.

“Integration partners allow us to offer more services sooner,” said Niehaus. “We also save on the cost of developing these services, which can be quite large for complex features.”

Ensuring Alignment with Partners

Integration partnerships can be resource intensive and expensive to implement. Before decided to pursue a deal, Niehaus and his team look to ensure that both companies will derive a significant return on investment.

Currently, Niehaus and his team are working on setting up a partnership with an online food delivery service.

“We have an excellent alignment of interest in that both parties benefit quantitatively and qualitatively from the other’s services,” said Niehaus.

To ensure a successful product integration, Niehaus recommends that organizations look for partners with the following characteristics:

  1. They target a similar customer base.
  2. Their product(s) will help your company build its offerings comprehensively and over the long term.
  3. They aren’t a direct competitor and are unlikely to compete with your organization down the road.

While platform partnerships can initially require significant technical and IT resources, such as the need for engineering and customer support personnel, some organizations are now offering integrations through APIs (application programming interfaces), which don’t require the same kind of heavy lifting.

Not Just a Technical Issue

Platform integrations are not just a technical issues, however.

“It’s not enough to connect your technical teams to make the software work together,” said Niehaus. “You need solid interaction with marketing, sales and customer support.”

Indeed, because business considerations drive the partnership, business development and executive teams should be leading the process.

 

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