Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

3 1/2 Tips to Make The Most Out of Your IT Budget

It’s not unusual in a small business for the IT administrators to feel beat up over their budgets (or lack thereof), and it’s not without cause. Most small businesses struggle along, especially after the devastating effects of the great recession. In fact, after the 2007 financial crisis small businesses were hit the hardest. Between 2007 and 2012 roughly 60 percent of all the jobs lost were from businesses with fewer than 50 employees. When compared to larger organizations, the job loss was 71 percent worse; small companies lost 11 percent of their jobs compared to only 7 percent from larger companies.

To further compound the problem, executive leadership in these small companies often have unrealistic demands. A study by Bain & Company, about how to make IT spending more effective, found that 70 percent of senior managers believe that IT spending is highly correlated to future business growth. But of those surveyed, 80 percent believe that IT is out of step with their most strategic business objectives.

With limited budgets, soaring demands, and pressure to align closely with business objectives, IT administrators are in a tough spot: How do you deliver more services and better communicate expectations and delivery to senior managers with smaller than needed budgets?

Here are 3 1/2 tips to help you get the most out of your IT budget. In addition to aligning budgets, these tips will help senior managers better recognize your efforts and help you better understand their expectations.

1. Use company-wide task management software
At the risk of sounding cliche or overdone, using task management software such as Trello or Asana to manage IT projects can greatly increase transparency, reduce over expectations and save you budget. Here’s how:

Both of these are free tools, and there are a slew of other free tools out there that do the same thing.
These tools are easy to use and have all the buzz-word-based features your executives love to talk about–collaborative, cloud based, redundant, and secure.
These tools increase transparency by allowing others to see what you’re currently working on, what you have in your backlog, and what you plan on working on next.
Likewise, these tools also increase transparency into all that you’ve done. If you choose Trello, there is a nifty Chrome plugin that allows you to assign time estimates to tasks and easily report time measures and time budgets up to executives or down to those who are submitting requests.
These tools truly empower you to accurately set expectations. Instead of allowing users to email you, drop by your desk, or chat you an IT request, require that they instead put the request into a new task and submit via this software tool. That way they can see how much other work you are currently working on and will better understand why you can’t just drop everything to come help them reset a password.

2. Meet digitally
In small organizations travel can be expensive. If you have sales people who are flying around and meeting with prospective customers, then your executive team is well aware of the costs associated with travel. Instead of simply going with the flow and allowing these travel budgets to eat into the overall company budget you can be proactive and approach your management team with a solution: digital meetings. Be sure to couch the idea as one that will save money but also increase the likelihood of a sale. In our quick-paced world, making time in a schedule for an in-person meeting can delay meetings by days or weeks. Instead, jump on a Google Hangout or Zoom meeting.

3. Purchase nearly new equipment
Equipment purchasing is one of the largest expenses in an IT department. That will probably never change, but it can be throttled considerably, without giving up performance or increasing your hassle. With Moore’s law (computing power doubling every year) being accurate and relevant in today’s age, people are swapping up for new hardware all the time. This leaves lightly used equipment available on Craigslist for the picking. If your organization needs equipment that is even newer, it’s easy to find strong deals by shopping the outlet/refurbished sections of Dell or Apple where you’ll get 15 to 30 percent savings while still getting a new warranty and like-new equipment.

3 1/2. Give up some control
IT administrators are often weary about giving up control, and for good reason. Giving up control often means opening vectors for security breach, over-complicating the network, or increasing time burdens. This tip is an odd one, and one that all organizations may not be ready to adopt, and that’s why we’re making it just a 1/2 of a tip–though we honestly feel like it will bring you some of the greatest cost savings and highest returns in added productivity.

The tip is this: give new employees a budget and allow them to purchase their own equipment before starting at your company. Tech/software company Kuali, a creator of higher education enterprise software, uses this strategy and has seen fabulous results. Their employees hit the ground running, have the hardware they want, and save money over their own “corporate discount” purchase plans extended by Dell and Apple.

At most companies IT staff struggle to find time to purchase equipment for new employees, and often don’t get it set up in time for the new employee’s first day. On their first day in the office they often have considerable downtime due to not having the needed equipment. If your new employees are given a budget with their offer letter they will excitedly purchase their equipment well before they start and they’ll often set up the equipment themselves.

Additionally, these new employees know what their purchase price cap is and often want to impress their new employer so they’ll spend additional time hunting for a strong bargain, time that an IT administrator simply doesn’t have.

These tips and tools will empower you as small business IT administrator to do more with less, and help your executive leadership team recognize you for all that you’re doing.

Fun and Professional Casual Friday Looks for Spring

Ah, springtime is here! Time for renewal, purge cleaning, and the welcomed freedom from winter’s bitter temperatures. With that sweet sunshine also comes the opportunity for some fun new style picks. And, for those working in the corporate world, you can use Casual Friday as your runway. Unfortunately, some can get carried away with their own interpretation of what is truly “casual” and make it look more like a Saturday morning at home. Here’s some do’s and don’ts for fresh sartorial picks that show off your personality at the office while still keeping it professional.

Shoes

DON’T: flip-flops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, it’s nice to give your precious little piggies some air, but flip-flops are one flimsy strap away from basically being barefoot and therefore they have no place in the office—unless your office is a beach, in which case carry on, you lucky devil.

DO: flat strappy sandals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opt for a low-key yet classy strappy sandal look instead. Your feet will feel less restricted while also ensuring they don’t flop out or make obnoxious noises walking past a co-worker’s desk. There’s nothing more obnoxious than the ol’ “flip-flop” sound. Equally important: maintained toenails!

DON’T: platform heels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platform heels are all the rage right now, but there’s really no place for them in the office whatsoever. There’s no need to tower over everybody to make your presence known! Save these for the Friday night after Casual Friday!

DO: vintage-inspired T-straps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A go-to look this spring is to kick it old school with classic vintage styles. A cute ’40s-esque heel is just feminine, comfortable, and adds a sweet touch of playfulness.

DON’T: your gym shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course your running shoes are no doubt the most comfortable pair of kicks you own, but unless you’re anticipating quitting your job and jetting out the door as you thumb your nose at the boss, these just don’t look good in a corporate setting.

DO: flats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although flats doesn’t have the support of tennis shoes, some would argue their smooth and snugness to be just as comfortable. Plus, you can more easily slip them off under your desk without anyone noticing.

Pants

DON’T: ripped jeans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our modern times love to drop a pretty penny for a pre-shredded pair of denim, but as weed-whackers are typically not allowed in board meetings, neither should these babies.

DO: cuffed skinny jeans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we’re not taking denim away from you! It is Casual Friday, after all. Choose a sleek pair of straight-legged jeans and roll them up to pair with a nice heel or flat for a relaxed but chic statement outfit.

DON’T: sweatpants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This should go without saying, but for some reason sweatpants at work still persist. No matter how much certain brands try to dress them up and make them trendy, at the end of the day, they are still sweatpants and it will always say you gave as little effort as possible. You can and will put real pants on—the weather’s too nice to still be this lazy!

DO: vintage-inspired high-waisted slacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pants with a high waist and a wide leg are the secret weapon for dressing incredibly comfortably while still appearing very composed and calculated. The perfect solution to having to part with your sweatpants for just one more work weekday.

Skirts

DON’T: bodycon mini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While this can be toned down with some tights, body con skirts are simply too snug and short for the office—like a tube top for the bottom half.

DO: A-line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A classic A-line skirt is always as romantic as proper and put-together. Pick out a floral one to perfectly ring in springtime!

 

DON’T: strappy tanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure they’re cute and comfortable, but letting too much of the guns out at the office still doesn’t cut it for workplace appropriate. Not to mention it’s always freezing! Aren’t you cold? We’re always cold!

DO: patterned blouse over a strappy tank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sophisticated way to still have a bit of a sleeveless look is to wear a camisole over a patterned sheer blouse. And yes, a camisole. Incorporating your bra into your outfit should not be a thing. Ever.

T-shirts: do or don’t?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dress up a T-shirt by tucking it into a pair of high-wasted pants or skirt and adding either a collared shirt underneath, or a cardigan or blazer overtop. When it doubt, you can never go wrong with adding a blazer and a clean pair of shoes. Simple and chic!

There you have it, my fashionable little professionals! Welcome springtime’s temperatures and pastel palettes in these tasteful choices and be sure to start the season off with a hopefully raise-inducing style!

Small Business Owners and IT: Yes, You Can DIY

Running a small business requires creativity, a relentless work ethic, and the ability to wear multiple hats at any given time. While regular employees can “turn it off” once they leave the office, owning a business is a 24/7 undertaking and business owners simply don’t have that luxury.

No matter what type of business you own, it’s likely that technology plays a key role. These days more business is done via smartphones and computer screens than ever before. So it stands to reason that in order to remain competitive in the marketplace, small business owners have to stay on top of their technological needs. Generally this means having to pay an expert to manage their IT process.

The problem is, a lot of business owners can’t afford a dedicated IT admin, and as a result many tech issues go unresolved.

But what if there was a way for the small business owner to manage some of these IT needs themselves, without having to hire an outside person? Luckily there is! Here are a few ways that business owners can pick up tech skills that are relatively easy to learn, yet incredibly powerful for helping manage a small business.

Look online
Whether you are just starting out and handling multiple tasks within your company or you are an experienced business owner, every entrepreneur can benefit from continuing education and do so without paying tuition and taking evening classes at the local community college.

These days there are a number of online resources that will help develop skills in any subject matter—information technology included—often for free or at a much lower cost than college or tech school tuition.

Among the most popular options (Udemy, Coursera, and Lynda), business owners can learn from experts in their field the skills needed to become proficient in managing technology issues.

Reach out to your local Small Business Development Center
Small Business Development Centers work in conjunction with local colleges and universities to provide training, advice, and assistance to small business owners. They offer courses, workshops, and seminars on a range of topics from how-to courses on accounting software to Internet marketing and managing tech issues.

While the exact courses and workshops offered may differ from one SBDC to another, they generally will offer some basic instruction on managing technology for small businesses.

Seek out a mentor
Although online coursework and workshops are an invaluable resource for business owners, all learning doesn’t have to be completely structured. Organizations like SCORE match retired executives with small business owners who are in need of advice or help.

These interactions generally take place on a one-on-one basis, and an owner can get help on a wide variety of business topics from general business to specific technology-related questions.

In addition to the one-on-one assistance, SCORE’s website also offers online learning options. These can serve to supplement the other learning options and help reinforce understanding in a particular subject area.

By educating yourself on your company’s technological needs, and working with the correct tools and professionals to help you make sense of it all, you’ll be well on your way toward long-term success—all without a negative hit to your bottom line.

How Women Can Secure Grants to Jumpstart Their Business

Do you have a great business idea but need the cash to fund it?

Believe it or not, there are grants that might be able to help you jump start your business. There are ones that offer small business grants to women. That being said, it is not as easy as you think.

What about government grants?

Most might believe that the government has a lot of money to hand out, when in fact that is simply not true. Many federal grants for small businesses are for very specific things, such as development or research projects for rural areas. So if you’re looking to get a grant to cover startup costs or daily expenses, you might be out of luck.

However, if your business features a product or service that can positively affect women’s lives, you can try your hand at the InnovateHER Challenge, hosted by the US Small Business Administration. The top three national finalists can win up to $40,000. To qualify, you need to win a local InnovateHER challenge.

Because grants like the InnovateHER challenge can be very competitive, you might want to consider your state or local government grants. Keep in mind that the availability and types of grant differs depending on where you live, so you’ll need to do some research to find specific grant programs.

A good place to look is at your local women’s business centers. The Small Business Association (SBA) sponsors around 100 of these centers all over the country. They are specifically there to help females gain access to capital and with developing their business plans. Some of these places will actually lend you money directly. Others will help you figure out what kinds of grants you can qualify and apply for.

Another place to look is your local SBA sponsored centers. They are usually found at colleges and they offer free one-on-one business consulting. Simply set up a meeting with an adviser who can help you find grants in your area.

Are there any private grants?

There are a few national grant programs for women. You can win $500 from the Amber Grant Foundation. If you are a winner, you might be one of 12 grant winners to be awarded another $2,000. To apply, all you need to do is describe what your business is all about and tell them what you plan on doing with the money. After you pay a $7 application fee, you just have to wait and see if the foundation’s advisory board likes your story and passion.

Another grant you might want to look into is the FedEx Small Business Grant. They award 10 small businesses up $25,000 each annually. To apply, you need to explain what your business will be and how you would use the money. In addition, you need to provide photos or a video or your business. This one is not specifically geared towards women, but it doesn’t hurt to look into it.

If you need more options, a great website is Grants For Women. You can search through their database for grant opportunities, though you need to make sure the grants are specifically for businesses.

Conclusion

Grants are a great way to jump start your business. Again, understand that the grant money you receive might not be enough to cover all your costs, so try your hand at applying to as many as you can to help make your business dreams come true.

When Old Tech Becomes New Tech

Every few years we are forced to upgrade the devices that are so much a part of our everyday lives. In fact, we explored the limited lifespan of technology in a recent blog post. For example, the resolution on your new camera soon becomes grainy when compared to what’s available just months after you’ve made your purchase. Smartphone operating system upgrades soon make it impossible to run the apps that you so love. That 42” TV just doesn’t show your football game like the new 80” 4K Ultra HD that stares you down every time you hit the electronics section of your favorite store.

The rapid advance in technology is causing a glut in tech devices such as computers, mobile devices, camcorders, game systems, computer hardware, and video players. In 2014 the world produced 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste. To put that in perspective, that amount of garbage would fill 1.15 million 18-wheel trucks. If you lined up those trucks they would stretch from New York to Tokyo and back again! The EPA estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled and the rest goes to the landfill. Once the materials in the computers start to break down or are incinerated, they release a variety of toxins that are harmful to the environment as well as to humans. Unfortunately, a lot of that e-waste could have been recycled, up-cycled, or useful to someone else.

I found out that I am part of the 68% of consumers who are stockpiling old devices for no reason. For starters, I have an old iMac G5, a ‘90’s Compaq computer, and a handful of phones and mp3 players. You can probably relate. So it’s time we start doing something about the problem! It’s time we stop dumping them and adding to the fastest-growing source of waste; instead, we can save time, space, and money by properly “disposing” of out-of-date devices.

There are many local organizations that would love your old tech; for example, schools and low-income members of the community. And your donations are tax deductible. If you don’t want to spend the time to find a taker, there are organizations that will pick up your items, refurbish them, and donate them to someone in need. human-I-T is one organization in particular and is a non-profit that transforms unwanted or inoperative technology and makes it operational again for those in need. Consumers as well as companies like LinkedIn, Google, and Cars.com have all reduced e-waste and benefited the community by donating technology to human-I-T.

If you are worried about the data on the device, organizations that refurbish outdated technology follow strict guidelines on removing data from devices so that it can no longer be accessed. This process follows guidelines specified by such laws as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

Your old tech can find new life with low-income families, veterans, those with disabilities, and schools and organizations. Consider that in 2014 human-I-T was able to divert more than 15 tons of e-waste from landfills. But even more importantly, what was once considered waste was turned into tools to help kids to stay current in their studies and the unemployed to find jobs.

Source;
https://www.causesinternational.com/ewaste/e-waste-facts

Oh, baby, technology’s sweet!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Tablet Takeover 2: Choosing a Tablet

All in the Family Infographic

Tablets are a mainstay in homes around the world now. So how much data does a typical family store? Learn more in our “All in the Family – Who Stores What?” infographic.

Apple recently announced next-generation iPads and again sent tech writers into fits of exultant exclamation marks. Thinner! Lighter! Faster! But new and improved tablets aren’t coming only from Apple. Microsoft just launched a new Surface model, and Nokia premiered the new Lumia 2520. Add to these well-regarded tablets from Samsung, Sony, Google, Amazon and others, and you’ve got a crowded market.

If you’re in the market for a tablet, how do you wade through the wide range of features, sizes, and price points? Here are some things to consider.

Operating system: Google, Microsoft, and Apple aren’t just battling to get their devices in your hands; they’re also competing for operating system domination. The OS matters for design and performance, but, for many end users, the difference is what’s available for these operating systems: apps, media and accessories. Currently, iOS offers the deepest library of apps and media. The downside is that iOS is available only on Apple products; Microsoft Windows Mobile and Google Android, in contrast, are available on devices from several different manufacturers.

Android offerings have improved dramatically in the past year and seem poised to continue on this trajectory. According to Strategy Analytics, Android was the OS on two-thirds of the 51 million tablets shipped in second quarter of 2013. iOS controlled 28% of the market, and Microsoft Windows Mobile had less than a 5% share. With such considerable market share, developers are racing to design products for the Android platform.

If you plan to use the tablet primarily to access email and the Web, all three of the major operating systems will suit your needs. But if you’re on the prowl for the buzz-worthy new apps and games, your best bet is with Android or iOS.

Hardware: Tablets generally in the 7-inch range or the 10-inch range. The smaller models sacrifice a degree of performance, but cost less and can fit in small bags.

Battery life: As you’d expect, battery life is less important if you’re using the tablet primarily from your couch than it is if you’re regularly trapped in coach on intercontinental flights. Most tablets from major manufacturers have batteries that last between 8 and 10 hours.

Storage space: If you plan to keep feature-length movies or your music library on your tablet, look for a model with 32 GB of storage or more.

Screen: For the most part, you can readily tell the quality of the screen by looking at it from different angles and judging its brightness. But if you’re a real graphics junkie, check out the Nexus 10 or the iPad Air. Both of these tablets have resolutions so sharp that the human eye cannot discern individual pixels.

Connectivity: All tablets are Wi-Fi-ready, but some can also connect to cellular networks. These cost extra for the technology, plus a monthly fee for the connection.

Price: Whatever your budget, you can find a tablet. A search of BestBuy.com found tablets ranging from $69.98 for the Azpen A701 to $1,929 for the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T. While price will generally align with the number and quality of features a tablet has, CNET warns that buyers should look beyond price. For example, Amazon takes a loss on each Kindle Fire sale, keeping its cost lower than its features would indicate. On the other hand, iPads may lack some desirable features but justify their cost with overall quality.

Beyond these core considerations, look at the extras and determine which are most important to you. For example, many tablets–though, notably, not iPads–have memory card slots and USB ports. Several tablet devices have front and rear cameras, and, if you are planning on using your tablet at the beach, some devices (the Sony Xperia Tablet 7, for example) are waterproof.

In any case, when choosing from among a bunch of different tablet devices, nothing beats trying them for yourself. Check how comfortable you are with operating system and how easy it is to do the kinds of things you plan to do with the device. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with your options, do a little research on your selected models. There are several useful tablet reviews available online (such as those from CNET and Engadget).

And be certain to check back regularly: The next new tablets are just around the corner.

 

MozyPro Online Backup For Business

 

Use Mozy to Capture Whiteboard Ideas

I’m captive to the whiteboard. So many of my work conversations require on-the-spot diagrams and quickly jotted notes that it’s sometimes impossible to talk without one. Despite all of humanity’s technological wonders, whiteboards show that our ancestors had something right when they planned hunts using sticks to draw lines in the dirt.

Naturally, I often need to capture what’s on a whiteboard before someone erases it. If you do the same, here’s a tip for how you can use Mozy to capture the whiteboard artifacts of your conversation and open them up on your computer.

Ingredients for this Tip:

So here’s what you do…

  1. Get out your mobile phone and snap a picture of the whiteboard you want to capture.
  2. Use the Mozy app to send the new photo to your Stash
    • iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) –  Launch the Mozy app and go to the Upload tab. Tap the Choose from Library button, select the photo of the whiteboard and upload it. (Note also that you can take a photo directly from the Mozy app for iOS.)
    • Android – Launch the gallery app, tap the photo of the whiteboard, and then tap the Share button. In the Share Via list, select Mozy to upload the file to your Stash. (See “Android: Using Stash with the Mozy App” for step-by-step instructions.)
  3. Once the photo has uploaded, the Stash software will download it to any computer you have linked to your Stash. Now you have a copy of the photo right on your computer.
Now you have a quick way to preserve your whiteboard thinking.

Bonus Tip:
The Fast Way to Find a File Uploaded to Your Stash

Here’s a handy trick: from the Stash menu, under Recent Activity, if you click the latest downloaded item, your computer will open its file explorer to show you the file. That gives you fast access to the whiteboard photo you just uploaded.

If you have other tips on ways that you put Mozy to work for you, leave us a comment. Perhaps we can feature your tip here on the blog.

As always, be safe and happy Stashing!

–Ted

Mozy + Stash – A Winning Combination at Tax Time

With tax season here, many of us are rounding up receipts, checking our W2 forms, and meeting with accountants to get ready to submit our taxes. Now that so much of this information is stored online, data storage, backup, and sharing become even more important. MozyHome online backup and Mozy Stash can help make this record compiling and storage much easier.

Here is one Mozy user’s story from earlier this year:

“I met with my accountant recently to prepare my taxes and accidentally forgot to bring my W-2 form. Since the form is essential for tax preparation, my accountant was ready to postpone our meeting until I had all the proper documentation. But I had a Plan B: My W-2 form was in my work computer’s local Stash folder. So I pulled out my iPhone, opened the Mozy mobile app, found my W-2, and emailed it to my dumbfounded accountant sitting across from me.

My accountant is a MozyPro customer, so he understands the need for backup. But the fact my work computer synced with my phone and other computers to enable me to access my files anywhere was astounding to him! When I explained that Mozy Stash is available to MozyHome customers now and that it’d soon be available for him to use on his MozyPro account, he was chomping at the bit to use it for himself. He just may never need to carry a briefcase full of paper documents again!”

Get the most out of Mozy

Mozy’s backup and file synchronization features can make tax time a breeze. Do you use an Intuit product to help with your personal or business finances and taxes? Make sure to check out this post on backing up Intuit data.

Also, be sure to check out the Mozy mobile apps and utilize the many features Mozy Stash has to offer.

Pausing Backups – Why? When? What Happens?

It’s happened to all of us—kids are streaming the new episode of Phineas and Ferb from Netflix on the Xbox 360 and all of the sudden the images start pixelating, the video stops to buffer, and weeping and wailing abound. Or you’re in the middle of editing an HD movie on your computer and all of the sudden your CPU fan starts whirring, your processes slow down, and your editing screeches to a halt.

When your computer or network’s resources are stretched, how can you make sure Mozy isn’t adding any additional load to the system?

  1. 1. Enable network throttling. Both the Windows and Mac Mozy clients allow you to limit the amount of bandwidth used by the Mozy client. You can even configure the client to limit bandwidth usage only during your periods of intense use (such as from 8 am to 8 pm).
  2. 2. Enable CPU throttling. If desired, you can configure your Mozy client to not back up unless your computer is idle or the CPU is busy.
  3. 3. Modify the backup schedule. If you usually use your computer or network heavily at a certain time of day, you can modify your Windows or Mac backup schedule to back up during times when you generally don’t use your computer heavily.
  4. 4. Pause backups. If you’re using your computer or network heavily, you can pause an in-process Mozy backup. In the Windows Mozy client, you can click the pause button to stop the current backup and then restart the backup again by clicking the same button or waiting for the next scheduled or automatic backup. In the Mac Mozy client, moving the slider to “Off” will stop scheduled and automatic backups until you slide it back to “On” or click “Back Up Now”.

We at Mozy want to make sure that your every email, document, and photo is safe. By following these guidelines, you can also ensure that your data is backed up in a way that fits exactly how you want to use your computer, because backups should never get in your way.

Jamie Morningstar, Mozy Product Manager