Poll: Small-Business Owners Talk Worst Headaches (and Solutions)

Small Business Headaches and SolutionsWhat do the majority of small-business owners say are key points of stress in their world, in late 2012? The answer is, of course, related to how they manage money.

Nearly three-quarters of business owners polled in a recent Xero survey, 73% of them, said that managing revenue, expenses, and collecting overdue payments top the list of financial stressors.

“As a small-business owner, I am constantly in five places at once,” says Caitlin MacGregor, cofounder of Cream.hr, a hiring consultancy. What she seeks, in the way of solutions, MacGregor says, is a way of seeing big pictures and understanding the finances of the whole small business, moment to moment.

And so the trend, owners say, is increasingly the move to mobile.

Mobile Tools and Small Biz Finance

It’s not news that people use their smartphones and their tablets to check personal finances from almost anywhere, at any time.

Xero’s poll shows that almost half (46%) the mobile-device consumers it surveyed are looking at their bank accounts on vacation, and 18% of them will check their balance at the bar, or at the restaurant table.

Small Business Headaches and Solutions

Meanwhile, 67% of the small-business owners and operators polled say that they use mobile apps to help run their shops. And 58% of those polled describe the effect of these apps and devices: mobile makes small business operations more efficient.

How? Small-business owners are adopting the mobile finance mechanisms available to them to solve those key stressors that 73% of them describe. (Xero has a horse in this race — that’s part of why they’re so interested in these numbers. The company builds online accounting software that does the kind of things these owners are talking about, when it comes to finances and mobile apps.)
Here’s what more than 500 say about their implementation of mobile finances, in 2012.

— 33% said they check bank balances, making managing revenue the kind of minute-by-minute scenario that owners such as MacGregor say they desire.

— The expense-report problem. Some 23% of the polled owners said they use a mobile device to capture receipts. In other words, they’re submitting expense reports and the required documentation right from their phones.

— 18% are utilizing mobile tech to invoice their clients. This means, given the right apps, that they’re creating invoice documents for their customers on the spot, e-mailing it to them, and then following up on overdue statements, all from a mobile platform.

 

Mozy Mobile Apps

Free Mozy Data Restores Available for Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

We acknowledge the sensitivities of reaching out to customers at a time like this. In addition to our attempt to reach our U.S. East Coast customers through other means, our reason for communicating in this way is the hope that through word of mouth the message will reach those who still have no access to power.

Mozy is offering free DVD restores for its online backup customers and resellers affected by Hurricane Sandy. The number to call is 1-877-MOZY411 (1-877-669-9411) and the email is restores@mozy.com.

Although Mozy never charges customers or resellers to download their data restores from the web, natural disasters often interrupt Internet access. The alternative method to restoring one’s data involves Mozy creating DVDs and mailing them directly to the customer. Mozy will absorb all DVD restore processing and shipping fees for individuals and businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy to assist them in getting back up and running as quickly as possible.

More details:

  • This offer applies to Mozy customers residing in the United States of America or Canada.
  • For those affected by Hurricane Sandy, Mozy will pay the full cost of the media restore, including costs of the DVDs, labor, and shipping.
  • The offer is good for restores of up to 100GB of data.
  • The offer is good through December 31, 2012.
  • Mozy reserves the right to decide whether applicants meet the above requirements.

Contact:

Phone: 1-877-MOZY411 (1-877-669-9411)

Email: restores@mozy.com

Mustaches – Who Made Them Famous and Who Followed

As part of our celebration of Movember, we’re excited to present this quick study of “Mustachios”. This infographic looks at some of the most popular mustache styles, who made them famous, and then who followed in their footsteps. Be sure not to miss out on the rest of the festivities here at Mozy, including a chance to help us donate $5,000 to the Movember cause. This cause also gives us a chance to share our favorite new Mozy feature – Mozy Stash. Stash compliments your existing back up and lets you sync files between computers and devices with ease. Please share the infographic and help us spread the word – long live the ‘stache!

Mustaches - Who Made them Famous, and Who Followed

Mozy and Mountain Lion

Mozy Hearts Mountain Lion

Did you know that Mozy is fully compatible with Mac OS X Mountain Lion?

Beginning with the Mozy Mac Client version 2.8 in early October, Mozy now works seamlessly with OS X Mountain Lion.  Now you can combine the advantages of the new Mac OS features with the peace-of-mind that comes with Mozy backup, including:

  • Access to any file anywhere at any time through Mozy web, mobile, and tablet apps
  • Confidence that your files are safe even if your local Time Machine drive fails
  • Premium security, optionally coupled with FileVault encryption

Download the newest Mozy Mac Client today for Mountain Lion compatibility and all the newest Mozy features and enhancements.

Frightful Haiku Contest 2.0 Winners!

Mozy Frightful Haiku Contest WinnersThe winners of our Frightful Haiku contest have been chosen! Everyone who entered did a great job capturing the fear and devestation that a hard drive crash, viruses, and other computer problems can cause. For a scary good time, be sure to read through all of the entries here.

Congratulations to our winners!

Grand Prize Winner:

Wind whips through the cloud
Malware-wolves lurk in shadows
Full hard drive tonight

- chelroos

Runners Up:

Windows crashes hard.
Screen flickers. Zombie attack?
Did I save my work?

- Darryl L.

Writing an essay
Without a computer is
The one true nightmare

- Ryan H.

Mom tries to cut, paste
Deletes a picture from screen
Thinks it’s in the mouse.

- Describli

We’ve attempted to contact all winners – if you haven’t heard from us, please email contest@mozy.com by 5:00 pm MST on Nov. 2 to claim your prize! Congratulations again to our winners, and thanks to everyone who participated. Stay tuned for an upcoming contest right around the corner!

Scary Security Tips

Happy Halloween, muh, ha, ha, ha…! This month’s mashup of All Hallows Eve AND National Cyber Security Awareness Month has us thinking about scary new security risks, and the steps people can take to stay safe online. Here are a few tips to help you avoid being another victim of online ghouls:

Scary Security TipsThink before you link! – Remember how that character in scary movies ALWAYS opens the door that the audience knows they SHOULD.NEVER.EVER.OPEN? Clueless! Just like opening that scary door, clicking on unknown hyperlinks on your screen is one thing you should never do because it can turn your computer into a zombie! Click the wrong link and suddenly your PC or Mac is following orders from a malevolent leader, spewing out spam and out of your control. Everyone knows that phishing attacks entice you to click that evil link putting your computer on the path to zombie-land. The latest? “zpear phishing” techniques are even more sophisticated, and include enough personal information about you to make the offer look legitimate. If something doesn’t appear right, stop, think, and look before you click.

Mask your social activities – Evildoers target “spear phishing” attacks by gathering personal information about you and your contacts. Be skeptical about responding to requests for personal information in any context, even from well-known social applications like LinkedIn and Facebook. Another thing: shut down your social applications when you’re not using them. Facebook’s Open Graph can be accessed by malware and used to trick you and your friends. Even though social applications may just look like a fun place to hang out with friends, remember that there might be a monster lurking in the shadows. There are boundless horror stories that have been told about such social network exploits.

Protect your data – One way to keep yourself safe in a spooky cyberland is to encrypt your data. If you think the word encrypt sounds like it should be part of a frightful poem by Edgar Allen Poe, you need to learn about this important tool. It’s a way to lock your data in a safe place, so only people with the right “keys” can access it. Another important way to protect your data is to use strong, unique passwords. Most people already know that passwords are important for your computer, even though studies show that a good percentage don’t use sufficiently strong password protection. As more people use smartphones, it’s essential to password-protect your phone, too. Your phone is an open door to all kinds of sensitive information: business email, home addresses, photos etc. Passwords on your phone can help keep the devils from darkening your doorstep.

Scary Security TipsUpdate your software — The scary guys can get into your system by exploiting vulnerabilities in your software – especially if you do not keep it up-to-date. These spooky characters are always looking for these openings, which are like an unlocked door or window, so they can get inside and do bad things. Software vendors protect you by releasing new versions of their programs that are less vulnerable to attack – sort of like installing a “new and improved” lock on the door. At the same time, some of the updates include advanced new capabilities. It’s safer to update your software regularly.

Backup your data – You never know when goblins might manage to get into your gadgets, and a back-up plan is important. It’s essential that you back up data that is on your phone and computer, automatic online backup is the first and best backup plan. Mozy has got your back and will be there to protect you and your valuable photos, documents, records and data from and evil tricksters lurking in the shadows.

Mozy hopes you stay safe and sound on these cold dark nights!!

Brad Gobble is Sr. Manager of Information Security at Mozy.

Link Round-Ups – October 29

Apple Unwraps New iPad at Big Event

For Apple, less is more.

Apple took the wraps off its much-anticipated downsized version of its iPad tablet, the 7.9-inch iPad mini, at an event in San Jose, Calif. Oct. 23.

Apple also revealed a 4th-generation 9.7-inch iPad, and updated versions of it Mac computers: a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, a revised Mac Mini and the next generation iMac, according to an article on Businessweek.com.

With Amazon having shipped millions of 7-inch Kindle Fire tablets and Google estimated to have shipped at least a million Nexus 7 tablets, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple couldn’t afford to cede a growing market to competitors.

“We sold more iPads in the June quarter than any PC manufacturer sold of their entire PC lineup,” said CEO Tim Cook. The iPad, he said, has been hugely popular in education and is “taking the business market by storm. … We’re not taking our foot off the gas.”

Google Takes Its Trekker Street View Cameras to Grand Canyon

Grand CanyonHey Google, go take a hike.

Google is currently taking pictures for Google Maps in a place where no vehicle has gone before — the rugged hiking paths of the Grand Canyon.

According to an article on Techcrunch.com, a Google team is on foot to capture the landscape’s panoramic views to add them to Google Maps. The move is a part of a greater effort to capture images beyond the streets. Google recently added images of landscapes from the Amazon and Antarctica to university campuses and ancient ruins.

To capture the area, the team is using wearable backpacks with a camera system on top.

“The narrow ridges and steep, exposed trails of the Grand Canyon provide the perfect terrain for our newest camera system,” Google said on its official blog. “The Trekker—which its operator controls via an Android phone and automatically gathers photos as he walks—enables the collection of high-quality imagery from places that are only accessible on foot.”

Scientists: Whale Was Trying to Imitate Human Speech

Whale I’ll be.

A white beluga whale in California has grabbed the world’s attention due to its ability to imitate the human voice. According to Discovery News, the whale named NOC was caught on audio speaking English.

“I think he was looking for feedback,” Sam Ridgway, president of the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) in San Diego, said in an interview with NBCNews.com. “These animals make a lot of sound, and they like feedback.”

One day, a diver surfaced from the tank and asked, “Who told me to get out?” At that moment researchers realized the sound came from their captive Beluga whale, named NOC. Researchers concluded NOC was mimicking the word “out.”

Scientists have long studied the ability of whales to imitate human sound. Their findings were recently published in Current Biology, concluding that the sounds they had heard were several octaves lower than typical whale sounds. The whales were actually trying to imitate humans, their research revealed.

The research revealed a pitch and amplitude rhythm in NOC’s voice that is comparable to human speech. As noted by Ridgway, the talking beluga spent long periods in close contact with humans, listening to them from both above and below the surface.

 

Mozy Data Shuttle

 

Cloud Link Roundup – October 22

Samsung Launching Galaxy S III Mini

Samsung Vs. AppleWhen it comes to challenging Apple’s iPhone, Samsung is thinking small. The South Korean conglomerate is currently working on a smaller version of its popular Galaxy S III smartphone.

The new phone, which Samsung did not reveal when it will launch in the United States or at what price it will be, is likely targeting Apple’s newest iPhone, according to the Washington Post.

The smartphone, expected to be called, appropriately, the Galaxy S III mini, has a 4-inch screen — smaller than the 4.8-inch screen on the current iteration of the Galaxy S III smartphone but the same size as the display on the iPhone 5.

That’s not the only difference between this phone and its larger, 4.8-inch sibling. According to a specifications sheet from Samsung, the mini smartphone has a 5 megapixel camera instead of the 8 megapixel sensor on the larger phone, and it will also not operate on high-speed 4G LTE networks. That decision makes the device more of a mid-range phone, as many customers expect premium smartphones to connect to the fastest networks, according to the Washington Post.

The S III mini’s crisp Super AMOLED screen and general design borrows from the company’s top-selling smartphone. It has a 1GHZ dual-core processor and will run the latest version of Google’s Android system, Jelly Bean.

Browser Tools Can Help Block Tracking by Social Networks

The “like” button on Facebook and other social widgets on websites that track your online activity now face a growing number of startups that offer tools to keep them in check.

According to The New York Times, those little buttons on websites that let you share what you’ve read have an equally important function: They let the social networks track your travels on the Web, whether or not you click on them.

Now, a growing number of start-ups offer tools that help consumers keep that kind of tracking at bay.

Social widgets that track your moves are growing across the Web. They act as eyes on the Web. They watch you as you skim the day’s news or shop online.

According to The Times, Facebook is especially ubiquitous. Academic researchers in France and Australia recently found that more than 20 percent of the 10,000 most popular Web sites have a Facebook widget. That widget allows the social networking giant to keep track of which Web sites they visit, whether or not the Internet user is logged on to Facebook at the time.

But users do have options when it comes to keeping widgets in check.

One such tool is a widget-scrubbing program recently released by PrivacyChoice. It is a browser extension that monitors the strength of your privacy settings on Facebook and Google, including the option of disabling Facebook and Google Plus share buttons. In the first 24 hours after its release, 50,000 people used the tool, which the company calls PrivacyFix and offers for free.

Woman Gets 11,100 Trillion Euro Phone Bill

Trillion Euro Cell Phone BillA woman in France might want to look into free nights and weekends.

Solenne San Jose received an 11,100 trillion euro phone bill, which was eventually fixed after her phone company admitted that it made a mistake (and people say there’s just no talking to some phone-service providers).

According to the Epoch Times, San Jose said that when she opened up her mail, her phone bill had some extra zeroes. About 12 extra zeroes. Her bill totaled 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros ($15,100 trillion).

“There were so many zeroes I couldn’t even work out how much it was,” Solenne San Jose of the Bordeaux region told the AFP news agency.

Bouygues Telecom, her phone company, told her that they could not revoke the computer-generated bill or stop the balance from being subtracted from her bank account.

Finally, San Jose was able to convince the company to admit the problem, according to the news agency. The bill was actually only 117.21 euros ($151).

Image Credit: Apple iPhone 4s vs Samsung Galaxy note / sidduz / CC BY 2.0

 

MozyHome Online Backup

 

Mozy Stash Video Contest Winner!

This past summer, we asked our MozyHome customers to re-create a movie, while incorporating Mozy Stash into the plot.  We were overwhelmed with all the responses and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves watching each of them.  Although it was difficult to narrow it down to one winner, we finally chose the winner.

Congratulations to Phil Berry from Winston-Salem, North Carolina!

Grab a bowl of popcorn, sit back, relax, and watch a re-creation of “Back to the Future” featuring the perfect sprinkling of Mozy Stash throughout the movie.

Want to be participate in Mozy’s latest contest? Try our Scary Haiku Contest!

Mozy Summer Photo Contest Winners!

Earlier this year in one of our newsletters we asked Mozy users to submit one of their favorite summer photos. We had a ton of awesome submissions, and choosing our favorites was not an easy task. Take a look at the winners and let us know which one is your favorite!

Each winner recieves a $25 Amazon.com gift card.

Here are the winners (in no particular order):

Judy O. “I took the attached photo from atop of my Tennessee Walking Horse, “Baybay” during our camping trip at Montana de Oro State Park, California.”

Marge M. “Three cousins competing in a 4th of July watermelon eating contest.  An annual event in Sunriver, Oregon!”

Hans D. “I’m only an amateur photographer who was in Lisbon some months ago and took this photo of clothes drying high on a building. I liked the wind playing with the robes. And of course the color! When I see the picture, I immediately want ot be there again.”

Scott P. “Mt. McKinley taken from the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge on July 8, 2012. We missed our summit plane flight excursion due to clouds the day before but on this day McKinley revealed itself!”

Gerald W. “At another Granddaughter’s wedding this summer in Charlotte, N.C., snapped a picture of my Great Granddaughter chatting with her Aunt in a window sill. She was the flower girl for the wedding.”

Thanks to everyone who submitted, and congratulations to the winners! We’ll have some more contests coming up soon – make sure to enter to win!