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.

 

 

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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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FanCloud.com: You Pay Them to Write

Fancloud.comThe Internet has both provideth and taketh paid writing opportunities from writers. While many sites rightfully pay their freelance writers (the latter usually by word-count, experience, expertise, etc…), other sites, like Huffington Post, famously do not. Yet, despite the amount of flack non-paying web sites get from the writing world, FanCloud.com, a sports news outlet, is attempting to go where no site has gone before. They’re proposing that interested bloggers actually pay them to write for FanCloud. Yes, you read that correctly.

For a “lifetime membership,” prospective writers have to pay the site’s founders fifty dollars, enabling them to publish anything from “Who Should Close for the New York Mets in 2013″ to “An In-Depth Look at My Son’s Pee-Wee Hockey Team.” But, there is some incentive to write articles closer to the former.

According to the site’s “publishing” section:

“As a member of FanCloud Publishing, you will have the opportunity to be rewarded with equity for reaching certain milestones. Through these milestones we are committed to giving away 49% of our publishing division to our members by the end of the first year. Each month FC Publishing will give away 16 awards of .25% equity (for a total of 4% equity) in the company for milestones achieved. There is no limit to the amount of equity any one writer can earn.”

Before you writers/potential shareholders start dreaming about cashing in your stock and buying that house in Hilton Head, keep in mind that certain “milestones” first have to be reached. For instance, FanCloud lists: most unique pages views across all of an author’s content, highest average article rating, most unique views for a single article, most articles published, lowest visitor bounce rate, and most comments as prerequisites to earning any shares of the company. Not only are these goals a bit on the ambiguous side, but also, it would take a heck of a lot of time and energy for a writer–one who is most likely juggling a variety of jobs that pay in a real currency–to make this offer worth its while.

But, for a moment, let’s say you’re an aspiring sportswriter, you have no other job (and no life expenses either), and simply cannot land a paying gig. Based on your disposition and aspirations, you decide to make it your sole priority to become FanCloud’s most prolific blogger, and subsequently, its greatest non-founding shareholder. There’s just one remaining question then: “What exactly do minimal shares in a identifiably-profitable company entitle you to?” It’s a valid question.

Usually when you’re in-line to become a minor, medium, or major investor in a company, it is standard procedure to have access to said company’s financials. Yet, the only impressive number listed by FanCloud is the supposed twenty-two million visitors per month the Yardbarker Network averages. While FanCloud is a subsidiary of Yardbarker (which is owned by Fox Sports), the popular blogging umbrella is home to blogs for every single team in just about every sport known to humankind. Yardbarker might collectively enjoy the viewer-ship of twenty-two million visitors per month, but there’s little-to-no analytical proof that FanCloud will see even a small fraction of that. So not only does FanCloud have to compete with mainstream giants like ESPN or CBS Sportsline (and a plethora more), but it even has to compete with other similar sites within its own umbrella.

The final variable to weighing FanCloud’s potential success as a sports news outlet comes down to the quality of writing the site will offer its potential readers. If literally anyone (and their mother) could be a writer, how will there be any quality control? Even though sports enthusiasts vary in intellectual expectations for written content, it is unlikely that the model “written for sports fans, by sports fan” will generate a compelling enough grass roots campaign to oust the most mainstream, and non-stat-heavy giants like ESPN’s and CBS Sportsline’s of the world.

Even in the case of Huffington Post, which has both paid staff writers and unpaid contributing bloggers, there is good reason the news-mammoth has such a rigid payment ideology. According to Nate Silver’s article The Economics of Blogging and The Huffington Post, Huffington Post’s paid political articles receive twenty times more comments than the unpaid political articles. Since Silver uses “comments” as a means to roughly determine the site’s page views (as Huffington Post does not release its page view numbers to the public), Silver’s analysis exposes that the average reader is a heck of a lot more likely to read an article by a paid writer than an unpaid writer; perhaps insinuating that most readers still tend to gravitate towards articles of greater quality (or unfortunately, of “celebrity” status).

There is no doubt that FanCloud will face an uphill battle to discover top-shelf writing talent and the big readership needed to retain that talent. But then again, those who thought Huffington Post’s ideology was too iconoclastic to become successful saw that publication laugh all the way to the bank.

 

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Common Insider Security Threats – And How to Stop Them

Suspicious EmployeeThe biggest security threat companies face isn’t hackers or cybercriminals – it’s their own employees.

Most data breaches can be blamed on negligent employees failing to keep sensitive corporate data secure, according to a recent report from research firm Forrester. At the 7,000 organizations surveyed, just 25% of the data breaches they’d experienced were blamed on external attacks.

The remaining 75% were caused by employees and other insiders – and most often due to their negligence or failure to follow policies. The most common causes of those data breaches were:

  • Laptops, smartphones or other computing devices lost by employees (31%)
  • Inadvertent misuse of sensitive information (27%), and
  • Intentional theft of data by employees (12%)

As those numbers show, IT pros could prevent many data breaches by directing more attention to finding and eliminating the threats that exist in the company’s own workforce. Here are the most common types of insider threats to watch out for – and what IT can do about them:

1. Negligent employees

As Forrester’s report shows, negligent employees are the most common security threat IT departments face. Often, data is leaked because those people fail to follow IT’s security policies. And the threat is only becoming more common because employees are carrying more information around on mobile devices.

Requiring those devices to be equipped with encryption and other security tools is key to keeping data locked down. Also, IT should be careful to only give employees as much access to data as they need to do their jobs.

2. Malicious insiders

Insiders who knowingly steal data or cause other problems may not be as common as negligent employees, but they can do a lot of damage. Malicious insiders might steal confidential information to sell to competitors, use financial data to commit fraud, or carry out other costly crimes.

IT staff should work with other departments to determine who has access to a lot of sensitive data. That way, those department managers can make sure they’re conducting background checks accordingly. And again, keeping access privileges to a minimum is key for lowering the risk.

3. Ex-employees

IT must also protect against recently terminated employees that could still have access to data. Those people may include fired workers who sabotage networks or data for revenge, or an employee who took a job at a competitor and steals trade secrets to take with them.

To prevent that, IT should be in communication with HR to know when employees leave the company so their access rights can be terminated immediately.

4. IT staffers

IT managers don’t just need to worry about the potential security risks lurking in other parts of the company – there’s also a chance the IT department may have insider threats of its own. Tech staffers often have access to the most data in the company. And in fact, 20% of IT pros have admitted to snooping on sensitive data, including the CEO’s private information.

That’s why IT managers should conduct thorough background checks on their own hires and watch out for suspicious behavior from their direct reports.

5. Business partners

In addition to their own employees, companies must be careful about the employees of any cloud computing provider or other business partner they work with. Those people are out of the organization’s watch, yet often have significant access to the company’s data.

When contracting with a third party, companies should ask about the vendor’s security policies and background check protocol to make sure the proper standards are in place.

About the Author: Sam Narisi is editor in chief of IT Manager Daily, published by Progressive Business Publications.  Connect with Progressive Business on LinkedIn or Glassdoor.

 

 

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 Takes You Directly to Your Data

More and more, MozyHome customers have been telling us that they now come to the Mozy website to access their files. That makes sense to us. People increasingly use Mozy for access to files in addition to protecting files against loss. You can use the Mozy app to get at your files from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. And with Stash, you can use Mozy to keep your most active and important files up to date on each of your computers. Browser access completes the access-from-anywhere story. For example, if you forget to put a file in your Stash and you need it on another computer, accessing your backed up files from the browser is very convenient.

The increased interest in using the Mozy site for quick access to files has lead us to change what happens when you log onto the mozy website. From now on, instead of going to the Account Details page and having to click Restore Files (or in the case of Stash, Access Files), we’ll take you straight to your files.

You can still access the Account Home page when you need it. Just click on your name in the upper right corner and  then select Manage Account.

For those who may not be familiar with accessing your Mozy-protected files through the browser, let’s take a quick orientation tour. You can match the letters of the list items to the screenshot below.

A. Account Access - Your name in the top right corner provides the menu shown above. From it, use Manage Account to access the account page that allows you to change your password, expire mobile access, or change your MozyHome plan.

B. Top tabs – Use these tabs to view your account Dashboard, access files stored in your Stash, or to access backed up files on each of your Devices.

    1. Dashboard – The Dashboard tab provides you with summary information about your account, such as how much data you have backed up or stashed. It also lets you change the default top tab.
    2. Stash - The Stash tab shows only if you join the Stash beta, and provides access to the files that you have put in your Stash.
    3. Devices – The Devices tab lets you access your files backed up from any device on which you run Mozy online backup. You can instantly download a single file or a whole folder, or you can initiate a complete restore of all your files from a backed-up computer.

C. Files panel – The files panel shows on both the Devices tab or Stash tab. It lets you browse the content of folders, download items you need, recover deleted files, access a file’s version history, and so on.

D. Actions panel – The Actions panel changes according to what you have selected in the Files panel. For example, on the screenshot below, you can see that with Stash you can upload files right from the web.

E. Status summary – The status bar at bottom summarizes your current select. For example, in the screenshot I have a folder selected, so the bar shows how many items the folder contains and its total size.

If you have questions, ideas or suggestions related to this new direct-to-your-data feature or using the Mozy website to access your files, please leave a comment for us.

As always, be safe,

Ted