FedEx vs. the Internet

If you wanted to transfer hundreds of gigabytes of data across the country, you have a couple different options to consider.

You could upload the information to a file sharing service and then access and download the files on the recipient’s computer.

Or, you could take the physical storage containing the information (hard drives, USB thumb drives, SD cards, etc.) and use a package delivery service similar to FedEx to send the files, and then access them at the destination.

Wait for data to upload, or ship?

Which of these is faster?

The blog “What If” recently took a calculated look at this question, using shipping giant FedEx to stand in for the physical shipping service.

Cisco estimates that total internet traffic currently averages 167 terabits per second. FedEx has a fleet of 654 aircraft with a lift capacity of 26.5 million pounds daily. A solid-state laptop drive weighs about 78 grams and can hold up to a terabyte.
That means FedEx is capable of transferring 150 exabytes of data per day, or 14 petabits per second—almost a hundred times the current throughput of the internet.

In fact, based on current Internet traffic growth estimates (29% annually), it will continue to be faster to ship your data until the year 2040. However, because the amount of data hard drives are capable of holding will increase as well, that estimate may not be accurate.

According to “What If“:

The only way to actually reach the FedEx point is if transfer rates grow much faster than storage rates. In an intuitive sense, this seems unlikely, since storage and transfer are fundamentally linked—all that data is coming from somewhere and going somewhere—but there’s no way to predict usage patterns for sure.

So for the foreseeable future, it’s faster to send your physical data to another location rather than trying to transfer it via the internet.

How can you take advantage of this with your business data? Do you have a server with hundreds of gigabytes or even a terabyte or two of information that you want to back up online? Of course you could back it up “over the wire”, taking weeks or even months to get your information stored online. (We could say talk about LAN bandwidth competition, IT pain caused by monitoring network traffic and kicking off backups at night for prolonged periods of time, but you can see where we’re going with this.)

Mozy Data Shuttle

But what if you want to expedite the process? Enter the Mozy Data Shuttle. After you order a Data Shuttle device from Mozy, we’ll overnight it to you (some areas in the EU are priority mail which means it will arrive within 3-5 days typically), and you do the initial backup to the shuttle device. (Incremental backups can occur following the initial backup to the Data Shuttle, even before the shuttle arrives to Mozy.) Put it back in the box and ship it to our data center and you’ve skipped the initial upload over the wire (saving your IT staff time and unclogging your network so your team can actually work) Fast. Simple. Secure.

By using this method, you can take advantage of the speed of a shipping company as well as the convenience, security, and experience of MozyPro Online Backup.

How Technology Can Cure Tax Season Headaches

Tax Stressed BusinessmanTax season is one of the most stressful times of the year for many Americans, but according to accounting experts, the proper use of technology is a better cure for tax-season headaches than a few aspirin.

“We live in a digital world,” explained Rebecca Berneck, founder of Officeheads, a provider of operational strategies and back office services to small companies. “There are a variety of different things taxpayers and business owners can do electronically throughout the year to make things much easier come tax time.”

One of the biggest hassles that can be avoided, according to Berneck, is having to carry around piles and piles of paper receipts. There are several ways you can now store them on your computer or mobile devices, she said.

According to Berneck, taxpayers should look to their mobile phones and devices for apps that allow you to scan in receipts and save them digitally. One such app is Proongo, an application and website where you can record your receipts, mileage, credit card information, and more, so it’s easily accessible come tax time.

She also suggests using your smartphone to take photos of the odometer in your car when you get gas, receipts from company dinners and outings, and any other expenses you plan to claim on your return.

Even if you’re not comfortable using apps or smartphones, you should at least consider scanning in important documents, like receipts and tax forms, said Julie Miller a spokesperson for TurboTax. TurboTax now offers tax software online, through tablet or smartphone, or via CD/Download. (Many employers are even starting to offer tax forms in PDF format so individuals don’t have to do it themselves, she said).

One new technological idea TurboTax has brought to the table to help with tax claims is ItsDeductible Online, a site that allows individuals to enter charitable donations right when they make them. ItsDeductible Online will automatically add those donations as deductions to the taxpayer’s TurboTax account. (In case you’re wondering, yes, you do have to use TurboTax to file your taxes for this feature to be useful).

The biggest downside to going digital with all of your tax documents is the fact that sometimes computers can crash and data can be lost, said Berneck of Officeheads . However, there’s an easy way to prevent that from happening: cloud software, she explained.

“Cloud provides secure and seamless accessibility,” she said, adding that having cloud software has saved her on numerous occasions. “These are extremely important documents,” she said. “When you work with them on a daily basis you want to make sure they’re as safe as can be. Cloud provides that needed security.”

So whether you use an accountant for your taxes, or you do them online yourself, technology can make your life easier. And all the experts agree that you should be recording your tax data electronically all year long. Do not wait until the last minute when tax season hits.

“The best thing you can do is get organized in advance of sitting down to do your taxes. More and more people are wanting to keep those documents electronically,” Miller said. “You want to make sure you get every dollar you deserve. Being organized is the best step to making that happen.”

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Hukkster: The Future of Discounted, Online Clothes Shopping

Hukkster HomepagePeople who enjoy fashion know their favorite designer brands. So, when sites like Gilt, Rue La La, and Haute Look offer heavily discounted deals from Rag & Bone, John Varvatos, and Jack Spade, for instance, buyers tend to, well, buy. Yet even though these sites are extremely successful, in most cases, the discounted items are not necessarily the popular designs featured in the company’s flagship locations on 5th Avenue or SoHo. If anything, they’re more like sample sale items.

But that is not to say that even the most yearned-after paisley tie from Brooks Brothers is never heavily discounted. For one reason or another, popular clothing companies will mark down normally-priced items on their online stores, but might not advertise the discount to the public. More importantly, there’s a good chance these discounted items will never be placed on popular “deal” sites.

So aside from incessantly checking online stores, how else would a prospective consumer easily find out about the discount? The answer: Hukkster.

The difference between all these established, mainstream online shopping websites and Hukkster is that Hukkster isn’t trying to spam discounts you would never buy in the first place. The online tool, which was founded Katie Finnegan and Erica Bell, and financed by the famed Winklevoss twins, simply tracks products you personally select, and notifies you via email when they go on sale.

“Online deals are being pushed to people today in a very untargeted method,”said Cameron to Time.com. He explained that Hukkster aims to empower retailers to target their deals and shoppers to find exactly what they want.

Hukkster is designed for a user-friendly experience. A prospective “Hukker” can sign-into the site using either their GMail or Facebook account, and simply drag the “Hukk It” tool into her browser’s toolbar. When a user stumbles upon a desired article of clothing, she can press the “Hukk It” tool, and seamlessly add to her “My Hukks.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Hukkster has amassed more than 2,000 active monthly users. About a quarter of its users are men. Among these beta users, Hukkster’s founders report that 90% of them open Hukkster email notifications and at least 60% click through to look at the items on sale.”

Hukkster acts in real time too, so as soon as your designed belt, button-down, or dress pant goes on sale, a user is immediately notified.

The new online shopping tool not only just poses to save people a lot of money on clothes they actually want, but also, could revolutionize how consumers shop on the internet.

 

MozyHome Online Backup

 

The Mozy Mac Client – Better and Better

Mozy for Mac is Improved!

In December we released Mac Client 2.9 and are very proud of the improvements made in this version and in the great community feedback we’ve gotten. The newest Mac Client includes:

  • Awesome performance increases
    • More courteous resource handling – if you’re running another process that needs more memory or CPU, Mozy automatically backs off until your system has less going on.
    • Large file CPU optimizations are much kinder to your Mac when backing up large files
    • Better file scanning so that a file won’t be re-uploaded for backup if only metadata changed
    • Pausing a backup is honored much more quickly
  • Day-by-day backup speed throttling.  Want to limit bandwidth use on weekdays?  No prob, Mac Client Settings let you control how much bandwidth Mozy uses on each day.
  • AES Encryption for all files encrypted with a private key – Mozy security gets better and better!
  • Mountain Lion Notification Center integration for backup notifications and updates.
  • Restore Search – the Mac Restore Client now lets you search for a particular folder or file in addition to the file system navigation options you’ve always enjoyed.

Hear directly from the developers! Listen to an interview with Lance Helsten, team lead on the Mozy for Mac developer team.
If you’re using a pre-2.9 release of the Mac Mozy client, you’re going to want to upgrade right away to enjoy all of these new features and performance enhancements.  Get it now at http://mozy.com/download/

When Earth Attacks – Protecting Your Data From Natural Disasters

When a natural disaster strikes, protecting your digital information can often be the last thing on your mind. Worrying about your own personal safety and that of your family and friends, as well as protecting or saving your possessions can take all of the time and energy you have available. Since your focus should (rightfully) be on helping those around you, important business information can be lost if not backed up.

Because natural disasters can be unexpected and surprising, protecting your business data is of critical importance. Data is near impossible to replace, and without it, many businesses can be completely wiped out by an act of God.

Online backup service providers like Mozy can protect your data by storing a copy of it in a data center. This infographic illustrates the disruptions that can occur when the status quo is changed, and tells the story of three different businesses that were able to rise up and recover from disasters quickly with the help of cloud backup.

 

A History of Natural Disasters

 

MozyPro Online Backup for Business

 

Encrypting/safeguarding your USB drives and removable media

USB flash and hard drives and removable media make it easy to carry data around – almost too easy. You can buy 16 GB drives for about $20 these days, and larger ones for not much more.

But with this convenience comes risk. If these items are lost or stolen, someone can have access to your data. Fortunately, some drives offer built-in encryption and free tools like TrueCrypt and Microsoft’s BitLocker To Go can safeguard your data and ensure that no one besides you can read your files. The encryption means that you need to enter a password before you open any of the files on the drive, otherwise all the data is just gibberish.

BitLocker To Go was introduced in Vista, but many users found it too difficult to setup and administer. It is much improved in Windows 7 and in Windows 8. Once you insert your USB drive in your computer, you right-click on the drive and start the BitLocker preparation process. You are asked for a password or a smartcard to protect the drive and where you want to store the recovery key information. It is simple and it just takes a few minutes to perform the encryption, depending on the size of the drive itself.

Note that if you want to read any of the files on your encrypted drive with older versions of Windows such as XP, you can’t.

You should see screens similar to ones the below when you want to decrypt the files on the drive.

Encrypting and Safeguarding USBs

Once you set up BitLocker To Go on a drive and a specific computer, you can set things so that it automatically decrypts the drive when it is inserted on that computer, which is a nice touch and makes things very easy to manage.

If you are responsible for your organization’s IT infrastructure and want to enable BitLocker across all the PCs in your company, you might want to review the group policies that are part of Windows here.

If you don’t use Windows, or if you want something more powerful and flexible, then TrueCrypt.org has free open source tools for Mac, Windows, and Linux machines. One of the features that I like is the ability to recover a forgotten password, which is probably the biggest fear in using any of these products. The Windows 7 BitLocker has this recovery feature too. Another feature is that you can encrypt a portion of your hard drive, where BitLocker needs to encrypt the entire drive.

If you want something more powerful than simple password protection, you can link the encryption technology to the Trusted Computing Module chip, (see this video here on TPM) or make use of the built-in fingerprint reader; both are part of most modern Windows laptops.

 

MozyHome Online Backup

 

Super Bowl Blackouts and Online Backup

 If you were one of the millions of people who tuned into the Super Bowl last night, you saw a great football game, 55 commercials, Beyoncé’s half time show and, most unexpectedly, a 34 minute delay due to a loss of power at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisana.

The Superdome had been selected as the site for the 2013 Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLVII) in 2009. Preparations for this game have been in the works for years. The Superdome is also the regular season home to the NFL’s New Orleans’ Saints, and is no stranger to hosting impressive sporting events, having play host to boxing matches, basketball games, soccer games, gymnastics meets and countless other gatherings.

Super Bowl XLVII

The power outage (currently being blamed on an ‘abnormality’ in the Superdome power system) became one of the main talking points of this version of the Super Bowl a hotly contested 34-31 win for the Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers.

Even with all of the preparation that went into hosting the biggest football game of the year, something went wrong. This is a good reminder that something can go wrong at any time, and usually when you least expect it. The only way to prepare for something like this is to make sure that the things are the most important or irreplaceable are protected.

Whether it’s a house fire or a a flooding river, we’ll all likely experience our own “power outages” – make the right choice and make sure that your data is safe and protected, backed up online.

Image Credit: 2013 Super Bowl XLVII / RMTip21 / CC BY 2.0

The world didn’t end – the New Year begins…now what??

If you subscribed to the idea that December 21st was the end of the world, as opposed to the end of the cyclical Mayan calendar – what did you do when you woke up on the 22nd? Hopefully you didn’t blow your entire life savings during a weekend trip to Vegas or quit your job or say something really nasty to that wench in the apartment down the hall. The world didn’t end….so, what now? What’s your Plan B? Is having a Plan B pessimistic? Do you really need a Plan B?

What is your plan B?Maybe I can blame it on my Type A personality but I like knowing all the details about (fill in the blank) so I can formulate a sustainable Plan B. I remember once, as a little girl, I had received the prettiest baby doll – she has large blue eyes, auburn curls and the sweetest dimples in her cheeks. She had a soft, pale lavender onesie with a matching binky. And as all little girls that play Mommy to their dolls, I wanted to give her a bath and wrap her in a blanket so I could feed her a “bottle.” As I started to get the bath water ready, I was hit with the realization that I had never given this particular baby doll a bath and I might ruin her. So the first thing I did was come up with a Plan B of what I would tell my mother if by chance I did ruin the doll – do I blame it on the dog or do I come clean? But all’s well that ends well and it turned out that I didn’t have to resort to my Plan B since my pretty baby doll had her first bath of many and she survived.

Now that I have kids of my own, especially as a working mom, I think about “If this plan doesn’t work, then what can I do so I’m not up the river without a paddle?” I have certainly imparted some of this behavior to my 5-year-old. I came to this realization as I watched him get ready to build a snowman in our backyard a couple weeks ago. I watched as he assembled all the tools he needed in one spot then started another menagerie of tools in another spot. He then began to build the snowman, step-by-step, taking meticulous care of positing and packing the snow so the resulting snowman was quite impressive, given his skill level. As he was sipping his hot chocolate a little later, I asked why he had created the two separate piles of tools. He looked at me, with his rosy cheeks, and said “I wanted to make sure that if my snowman fell over on this pile of tools, my other pile would be just fine and I could finish my awesome ninja snowman.” – is he a chip off the ol’ block or what??!!

So moral of the story is – have a Plan B! Plan Bs extend to every possible part of our lives – from building snowmen to backing up data. Plan Bs are for those that are prepared – even if nothing were to ever go wrong *fingers crossed*.

 
Shash Cates is the Creative Project Manager on the Mozy Marketing team.

50 Things We Don’t Do Anymore Due to Technology

A study conducted by Mozy last year found that technology is replacing many of the tasks that have been mainstays in our lives for years. When you consider the telecom industry, for example, when was the last time you looked something up in a phone book? Or used a phone book? Sure, they have 50 listings for party clowns for your 8-year-old’s birthday party, but isn’t it just faster to search online? Have you or your children ever called to hear “At the sound of the tone, the time will be 4:13 PM”? Technology is making life easier, faster, more accurate, and more personal. Take a stroll down memory lane with us and review 50 of the things we don’t do (or maybe have never done) thanks to technology.

50 Things We Don't Do Anymore Due to Technology

Mozy Stash - Free

Mozy’s Dave Robinson Honored As Rising Executive

Dave Robinson, MozyDave Robinson, Mozy’s VP of Global Marketing, has been honored as one of the 40 Under 40 by Utah Business Magazine. This award honors the top 40 executives under the age of 40 in the state of Utah. More information (and voting for the magazine cover) can be found at 40 Under 40 on Facebook.

Dave was hired in 2006 as Mozy’s first marketing employee. Over the past seven years, Dave has grown Mozy’s marketing operations, which now spread across North America, Europe and China. Dave’s team is responsible for marketing MozyHome, MozyPro, MozyEnterprise, and Mozy’s newest feature, Mozy Stash.

Prior to Mozy, Robinson worked for several other Utah companies, including the Publicis agency in Salt Lake City, Webmiles, and Ancestry.com, helping grow its email marketing business significantly over a three-year period.

Mozy is grateful to have such a marketing expert leading the charge to spread the Mozy awesomeness. Dave’s leadership and experience are critical in a fast growing technology industry like online backup. Thanks, Dave!

If you’d like to see Dave on the cover of Utah Business Magazine, you can vote for him here! Voting runs from now through January 22, and you can vote once daily.