When you know better, you do better… don’t you?

As I was preparing to write this blog post, I kept reminding myself that the content that I present not only has to be relevant but like all good lessons – should provide some type of “now you know” element. I refer to the latter because I’m a firm believer in the notion of when you know better, you do better. So, here it goes…

Cloud Computing SecurityI’ve worked in the software industry for a few years and as such the terms back up, data security, encryption and the cloud are ingrained in my vocabulary. Having said that, I do realize that not everyone has a frame of reference to these terms. However, regardless of where on the “tech savvy” spectrum you fall, it would be devastating to permanently lose family pictures or business critical files. I think that most of us function on the notion that bad things happen to other people.

How do you re-build your life when you have lost everything? Admittedly, I have no reference to Katrina or Sandy-level devastation but I have been forced to evacuate my home, a couple of times.

The first time was as a child growing up in Ethiopia, Africa – a continent where civil unrest and military coupes are all too commonplace. When the rebel militia overtook the capital city, all foreign citizens were forced to flee so we would not get caught up in the fighting, looting and pillaging. I remember so vividly, watching a barrage of planes from other countries landing on the airstrip, loading their citizens, re-fueling and taking off. I remember holding my baby doll under one arm while my other arm was locked in my mother’s grip and we ran through the airport and out to the airstrip to make sure we got to our plane in time. It was definitely a character-defining moment knowing that bad things don’t happen to only “them” but can happen to everyone – especially when you least expect it. Thinking about it events now, as a parent, I can only imagine the terror that my parent felt about not only our lives but also having to leave everything except what we could fit into one suitcase. We had to leave all our pictures and other files. We did end going back once the government had stabilized and our home had not been touched and we were able to keep all our pictures – but what if we hadn’t?

What would you take if you had to evacuate your home?

The second evacuation took place this past summer during the height of fire season. The fire by our house had been started by some reckless kids while they were target practicing. Dry scrubs, temps in the upper 90s and thoughtless actions started a fire that quickly got out of hand and spread faster than could be contained. By the time I left work and got to the police barricades, I was told that I had 15 minutes to get what I needed before the police would come looking for me. So I sped home, grabbed my dogs, cat, a box of important documents (passports, birth certificates, etc), clean clothes for one day, our external drive and headed to the designated Command Center. As an adult and a parent – this evacuation forced me to re-evaluate my preparedness level.

While in panic mode, you are faced with having to choose which items are your most prized possessions. Do you grab family pictures off the walls or a box of picture albums? How about all your “life” documents – social security cards, passports, insurance documents, etc.? If you store those critical documents in a safe – is the safe portable?

Speaking from experience, here is my advice on how to safeguard critical documents and files:

Scan, scan…and scan again
Scan documents or pictures to the hard drive of your computer. Scan your social security card, passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, and insurance certificates…I would even scan a copy of your dog’s rabies certificate! If you think you’ll need to re-build your life, then scan it. So if you ever needed to grab just one thing, you could grab your laptop or computer.

Plan B to your Plan B
Although incorporating an external drive into your overall back up plan is a good start – things can happen to your external drive. Your external drive could melt in a fire or have severe water damage or you could lose it …. then what? So my suggestion is storing all those critical files to a back up solution provider. For a very reasonable price, you can back up files directly from your computer or from your external drive – either way, you will have secured a long-term viable option to backing up family pictures, critical life documents and business-critical documents.

Bottom image: Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

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

Outta sight = outta mind … why you should care where your data is stored

KidsPlayingOnStreetThe other day I was on Facebook and saw a post that talked about how we are the last generation to play in the streets, ride our bikes down the street, walk home at night from a friend’s house, etc. That got me thinking about some of the security measures that I think most of us took for granted. But with identity theft, system-corrupting viruses downloaded from emails, online scams…the list goes on and on for the type and kind of threats your data is exposed to on a minute-by-minute basis. Given that we are moving more and more towards a technology-based society – all our critical data is now stored as compressed data in datacenters.

I don’t even carry cash with me anymore – any and everything that I purchase is via a debit or credit card. What does this mean to overall security of our data? How do we keep our data safe? And how do we trust that “safe” is not a marketing term used by companies to get you to sign up for an account? Is out of sight the equivalent of out of mind?

For parents out there, think of data security as those instances where your kids are playing in the next room and you don’t hear them….nine times out of ten times it means that there is something destructive happening, so you have to constantly check in to make sure everyone is on the up-and-up. Just because you store your data with a company that says that they are secure and your data is safe, what are they doing on their end to make sure that your data is really safe? Are they like the parent that checks the next room to ensure that everything is fine or do they leave the house for a few hours and not worry about safety?

I would much rather know where my data is being stored and how it’s being used. Who has access to my data? Why do they have access? How are they using it? Who can I trust with my data? Why should I trust them with my data – just because they say so? These are just some questions that I need to consider – do you?

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

Striiv: An App That Turns Exercise into an Interactive Game

The business of trying to make exercise a fun activity is not for the faint of heart. Nintendo tried it with its famous Power Pad accessory back in 1988, but while the game itself was fun, it was hardly the calorie-buster it advertised. From the other end of the spectrum, infomercials have been pushing all kinds of unintentionally hilarious “can’t miss” products, inventions better suited for generating YouTube views than sales.

Smartphone apps look to be the new frontier of making exercise fun. Striiv is the latest innovator attempting to turn exercise into an interactive game, this time for a new generation of technology.

Striiv hopes to avoid the fate of the Hawaii Chair by not trying to re-invent exercise or guarantee a six-pack. Instead, the smartphone app just accurately calculates the exercise you take for granted–like your daily walk from the train to work–and motivates you to do more of it by handing out awards and prizes. It might seem like a challenge to make exercising as addictive as, say, World of Warcraft, but luckily for Striiv, one WoW’s visionaries is part of the team.

Below is an interview with Lexy Franklin and Melanie Joskel, two members of the Striiv’s marketing team:

What is Striiv?

Striiv is a Smart Pedometer that counts every step you take throughout the day and motivates you to walk a lot more. Striiv goes beyond tracking and gets you active with personalized challenges, activity based games, and competitions.

What was the original thought process behind creating a Striiv gadget as opposed to just focusing on an app?

There are many people who prefer a separate, discrete device to carry around with them. Striiv Play lets people track their activity, even when their iPhone isn’t on them. It also has a high-precision altimeter to count stairs and is a great option for people who want to extend the battery life on their phone. The original Striiv Smart Pedometer is a standalone device with its own color touchscreen. It is great for people who want a one-stop solution, no smartphone required.

When was the app launched? How many app downloads have there been?

The app launched on October 16th. We haven’t announced our download totals, but we are very excited about how quickly the community is growing and how engaged Striiv users are.

Who are Striiv’s main competitors?

There are other companies like Fitbit and Nike Fuelband, but they are focused on tracking activity in charts and graphs. Striiv is really different because we go beyond tracking and we focus on motivating you to be more active by making fitness fun and social.

What makes Striiv different?

It really is the Striiv experience that sets it apart. Striiv is unique in that it uses games, your social network, and tailored challenges to inspire you to be more active. We are laser-focused on making fitness as fun as possible. Striiv’s Trumotion technology assures our users that the steps they take everyday are being counted and are real. There are no false steps in the car for example, which you see with many other pedometers.

When look at the landscape of fitness devices and apps, everything is based on just measuring your activity. It’s charts, graphs, and more graphs. At Striiv, we really are the fun guys. We take our background in designing video games to turn every step you take in a part of a game. Our goal is to inspire users to get up from their computers or TVs and walk, not because they feel like they should, but because they are trying to play a game to grow a plant or walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Our mission is to make fitness fun and accessible for millions of people.

What kinds of awards and prizes can Striiv users get? Are there future plans to forge partnerships with mainstream companies for more alluring prizes?

We believe that one of the best ways to motivate people to move is to walk for someone else’s benefit. Striiv’s original Smart Pedometer counts every step taken toward a donation to charity, at no cost to its users. Users can earn real world prizes like Climbing the Eiffel Tower or Burning a Cupcake. They can also compete against their friends’ daily averages and personal best.

We are always looking at interesting partnerships that will bring a better or more rewarding experience to our users. We have already begun a great partnership with MyFitnessPal to bring nutrition tracking capabilities to the Striiv experience and we will continue to find partners that can help us motivate our community to get active.

 Where do you see Striiv in five years?

In five years, we see Striiv as the platform you go to in order to walk with your friends all over the world. We want empower millions of people, just like you, to feel like the best versions of themselves.

 

Mozy Mobile Apps for Android and iOS

 

Mozy Named One of Utah’s Best Companies to Work For – 2012

Yesterday Mozy was honored as one of the 25 best companies to work for in the state of Utah. While our headquarters is in Seattle, Mozy maintains a large office in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and also has offices in Boston, Massachusetts, Cork, Ireland, and Shanghai, China. Here are the highlights!

Mozy’s Best Companies to Work For Video

Mozy’s Acceptance Speech:


Utah Business Magazine’s synopsis:

The work environment is enhanced by the office space, up-to-date computer equipment, a fully stocked break room, great parking, paid time off for full-time employees, and contests for quality, knowledge and satisfaction.

Mozy employees love the company’s laid-back work environment that is created by a casual dress policy, free snacks and drinks, a ping-pong table, foosball and an Xbox. The fun is extended to activities like the company’s Mozy Olympics, barbeques, movie showings and inter-department competitions. Once a year, employees are encouraged to attend an annual hike up Mt. Timpanogos.

“I’ve never worked at a company that cared more about the future of its employees than Mozy. Not only are my college classes reimbursed, but my manager assigns projects to me that complement my field of study and give me excellent experience for the future,” says an employee.

This is the fourth year in a row Mozy has been honored with this award. Mozy also won the award in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Mozy offers amazing benefits and is always on the lookout for awesome people. Learn more about Mozy’s current job openings.

All in the Family – Who Stores What?

Ah, the holidays. That special time of year when we return home to our ancestral stomping grounds and spend a few special days in the company of those closest to us, and all of their devices. From cell phones to game consoles and everything in between, these tiny gadgets have cemented their place in our daily lives. You can’t attend a family party without someone taking pictures on their cell phone or playing some Bing Crosby on their iPod. There will be quite a few kids (and adults, too) falling asleep with visions of tablets and PlayStation 3s dancing in their heads.

More and more of our lives are taking place in the cloud, so the need for devices to access that information has increased as well. This year, as you gather with your family, take some time to be grateful for all that they do for you, and the devices that let them do it.

 

 

Mozy Mobile Apps for iOS and Android

Protect your data while you can

No one wants to lose their laptop but, with the best will in the world, mistakes happen. And more of them happen at this time of year than any other.

Lost Laptop

According to new research from Mozy, more items go missing in December than any other month of the year. And 70 per cent of us, the figures show, have lost a data storage device such as a smartphone or laptop.

The research suggested that commuting puts everyone at risk, with 6:00 pm being the peak time of day to lose something and cars and public transport featuring highly on the list of locations where things are mislaid.

For IT managers, that means a flood of requests coming your way for replacement devices. But it’s not just the devices themselves that will be slipping through fingers. Unless it’s properly protected, the data on the devices will be walking out the door with them.

So, if you want to minimise the impact of unintentional loss, make sure that you’re prepared before it happens. It’s easy to insure a laptop but the best insurance for your data is comprehensive backup.

To find out more about how to protect the devices at your company, visit mozy.com/pro.

Or to read more results from Mozy’s research, head over to mozy.com/lost.

Smile! – Until you realize your phone is gone

Family gatherings, catching up with friends, the school holiday performance … there are so many reasons why we take more pictures with our smartphones in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Group taking picture with phone

But, the memories you’re trying to preserve may not last as long as you’d hoped if your phone doesn’t come home with you at the end of the day.

According to new research from Mozy, Saturday evenings in December is the most dangerous time to lose something, and a smartphone is the most commonly lost item. In fact, 70% of us have lost a gadget such as a smartphone or laptops.

And, if it’s the memories on your phone that you value most, you’re not alone. The majority of people who took part in our survey told us that it was the pictures, contacts and other documents on their phones they missed most.

If you want the peace of mind to snap happy this Christmas, make sure that the stuff on your phone is protected. Sync your phone with the Mozy app and make sure that your laptop is backed up with Mozy. It’s simple, automatic and you can even get a version for free.

To check out Mozy sync and backup, visit mozy.com. Or, for further results from the survey, head over to mozy.com/lost.

Shop ‘til you drop – your smartphone?

Does this schedule sound familiar: Get kids ready for Christmas party and shopping. Coats on. Shoes on. Go to the bathroom? Coats off. Bathroom. Coats on. Lost shoe. Find shoe. Leave house. Go back for forgotten present. Get in car. Out of car. Arrive at friend’s house. Shoes off. Coats off. Swap gifts. Shoes on. Coats on. Leave house. Arrive at shops. Coats on. Coats off. Coats on. Coats off. Call home to check which Lego set you were supposed to get. Call home to check what to get when that one’s sold out. Coats on. Coats off. Drop bag. Juggle bags. Coats on. Wipe noses. Leave shops. Go back for lost coat. Back in car. Arrive home. Collapse!

Tired Shoppers

It’s no wonder that many of us find ourselves missing one or two things – once we get a chance to check. According to new research from Mozy, December is the time of year when most things are lost, and Saturdays are the worst days and that most stuff goes missing – at around 6:00 p.m. as we head home.

And with the top reasons for losing things including “getting carried away,” “carrying too much” and “getting distracted,” it’s understandable how the Christmas season creates a hotbed for loss.

Frustratingly, although hats, gloves and other lower-cost items do feature highly on the list of things that don’t make it home with us, the most commonly lost item is a smartphone. In fact, 70% of us have lost a phone or other electronic gadget.

And, when we do lose our electronic gadget, it’s not just the device itself that we have to say goodbye to. It’s often the pictures, music, contacts and other data that we lose too. The majority of people who took part in Mozy’s survey told us that it was their data they were most upset about when they lost their phone or laptop – not the hardware.

So, before you head out once more into land of lost items, make sure the stuff you care about is protected. You can sync your phone or backup your laptop with Mozy. It’s simple, automatic and you can even do it for free.

To find out more about how to protect your data, visit mozy.com. Or, to get more results from Mozy’s Lost and Found survey, head to mozy.com/lost.

Beware 6:00pm on Saturdays in December!

If you’re out and about this month, keep an eye on your stuff – as December is the most common month for items to go missing. And, more precisely, keep a tight grip at 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, as that’s the time when people are most vulnerable to loss.

According to our new research, Americans will lose $39 billion worth of items this year – the average person in the U.S. has misplaced nearly $250 worth of possessions in the past 12 months.

Proportion of total number of items lost nationally

Proportion of total items lost - US

It’s most important to keep an eye on your electronics as 70% of people have lost a data device such as a smartphone or laptop. In fact, the smartphone is the item most commonly lost.

Of course, it’s not just the device itself that you may never see again. Photos, documents and all manner of other irreplaceable information can disappear with it. And the majority of people taking part in our survey told us that it was losing their data that upset them far more than losing the device itself.

So, if you’re heading out this Saturday, make sure you’re prepared! Make sure that the stuff on your device doesn’t contain the only copies of your pictures and other data. Sync your phone and backup your laptop – it’s simple to do and it’s free with Mozy if you visit mozy.com/home/free. To find out more about the lost and found items from our research here in the U.S. and around the world, head to mozy.com/lost.

My Dog Ate My Photos; Safe Keeping for Your Pics

Protect Your Digital Photos this Holiday SeasonAngela Wijesinghe, Marketing Specialist for Professional Photographers of America has heard some unbelievable stories about how photographers have lost their digital photos. Just this year, she says, a professional wedding photographer (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons) left the flash drive with all the photos of the ceremony on his kitchen counter, only to have his dog eat it when he went out to the store.

“We hear about things like this happening all the time,” said Wijesinghe. The organization she works for, Professional Photographers of America, is a non-profit organization that provides education, resources, and industry standards of excellence to photographers. According to Wijesinghe, digital photos are taking over the industry. Not many photographers, amateur or professional, are using film anymore. So the days of looking through old photo albums are passing us by. Now it’s an age of looking over slideshows on a computer.

“Digital cameras are just a lot more convenient for people to use,” she said. “They allow you to manipulate images easier, they can be stored easily, and they’re not overly difficult to work.”

One of the risks of using digital cameras and photos, however, is that your work can be lost in mere seconds if not secured properly, she explained.

“Digital image data loss is huge,” said Wijesinghe. Anything can happen. A storm can wipe out your hard drive. A house fire can take your computer. Freak accidents happen. Having multiple options of backup is the smartest thing to do.”

So how can the everyday photographer make sure to protect his or her wedding photos, baby pictures, and other memories captured digitally?

As Wijesinghe said, your best option for keeping your photos safe is to use several of methods, including cloud; external hard drives; flash drives; and sites like Flikr, Facebook, Shutterfly, and Snapfish. You may also consider having physical prints made, rather than just relying on the digital world.

Make sure to keep all of your devices in safe places, and, if possible, in different locations from one another, she said. That way if there’s a fire, flood, or some other unforeseen circumstances, you should still have some of them in one piece. And lastly, keep them out of the reach of babies, dogs, or other pets; you don’t want them to become a quick meal.

 

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