Closing the Deal: Mobile Tech Catches Up with the Critical Signature

Signing Document on PhoneDeals require a signature, and the signature needs to have reliable legal standing–no matter where, when or with what the deal is done–including mobile.

In the past, small and midsize businesses have been able to cover most of their bases by signing documents by fax. It has been more challenging to come up with a model that works with mobile technology, but business owners say the technology is now catching up to what their old fax machines could do. And, as buyers of the latest mobile devices equipped with fingerprint-sensitive hardware have found, the transmittable fingerprint is changing the landscape even further.

Mobile tech and closing the deal

In a recent j2 Global survey, more than 32% of 1,100 SMB leaders said they closed a deal in 2013 on their smartphone or tablet.

Beth Ann Alitt, owner of Alitt Insurance, based in San Marcos, Calif., is accustomed to faxing paperwork back and forth for signatures, but plans to also use mobile fingerprint signatures moving forward.

“As a small-business owner helping local businesses and residents obtain almost every type of insurance possible, I fax daily to process paperwork under tight deadlines,” said Alitt. “Last year, I faxed on a cruise and even at a Paul McCartney concert in London.”

Alitt is in good company. One-third of owners polled in the j2 Global survey said that the tipping point for using mobile devices is the advent of fingerprint signature features. Alitt said these features “will help me close even more deals on the go.”

In fact, about 70% of those surveyed said that digitized fingerprint signatures will help them to close more deals.

The new “office”

If the j2 survey is any indication, small-business owners need plenty of flexibility when closing deals. The j2 survey also showed that:

  • — 74% of business owners have closed a business deal at a restaurant or bar;
  • — 23% said the train or inside a car was an environment in which they’d closed a deal, thanks to their mobile devices;
  • — More that 30% sent or received a fax on a plane, or in an airport, via mobile tech;
  • — 20% sent or received a fax via a smartphone or tablet at a sporting event; and
  • — Deals have also been closed in the dentist’s office, at casinos, waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and while climbing El Capitan in Yosemite.

All of this suggests that the very notion of the office is changing.

“The mobile device is the office,” said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing for j2 Global. “That means that deals need to get done anywhere. Same with contracts, invoices, expense reports, and any other document that keep a business moving.”

 

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Can You Spot Phishing Emails?

Security researchers at Fortinet recently quizzed their readers about how savvy they were when it comes to identifying phishing emails. Predictably, and depressingly, Fortinet found a large percentage couldn’t tell the tricks from the treats. (The survey was done just before Halloween.)

Phishers are getting more clever over time, and it is harder than ever to separate legitimate email from messages intended to steal your passwords, your money and your pride.

With all of the information on phishing that is available, and the warnings over the years about what to do and not to do, it’s amazing that this is still a problem. But, let’s face it: End users are not security professionals, and many of us go through our email in-boxes without much of a critical eye.

Phishing Email

In addition, phishing schemes are getting more and more sophisticated. It used to be that phishing messages were riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, or just looked wrong. Today, it’s not always easy to pick up on a message with malicious intent. Modern phishers craft their messages carefully, using realistic banner images from the target institution or language that is copied directly from real emails and Web pages.

The growing challenge in discerning email fact from fiction was reflected in the results of the Fortinet quiz, which asked readers to self-select into one of three groups:

  • -Absolute beginner
  • -Your average netizen
  • -Veteran security professional

“As expected, the veterans scored just a little bit better than everyone else, falsely identifying a phishing email just 16% of the time,” the blog reporting the results states. “Conversely, the newbies received bad marks nearly 32% of the time. The middle group marked wrong answers at an average of 21%.”

That is a lot of wrong answers (although, interestingly, one newbie scored perfectly).

Take the quiz for yourself and see how well you can spot the phony emails. But, more importantly, use this exercise as a way to talk to your users and sensitize them to the issues surrounding phishing and its dangers. Security training should be an ongoing affair, providing end users with information about new threats.

“Email is the tried-and-true medium for spammer, and to know that they are still succeeding 20% of the time is a clear call to action for all those security and IT professionals out there.” states the blog. “[Twenty percent] of your organization is at serious risk of clicking on a phishing email today. What are you going to do about it?”

 

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My name is Steve and I work for Mozy

Thanks for tuning back into our monthly series where you get to spend some one-on-one, quality time with some of the shining jewels in Mozy’s crown – our employees. This month we’d like you to meet Steve Jensen, Mozy’s Senior Manager of Public Relations. Steve’s responsibilities include PR in the US, analyst relations, and managing our customer reference program. Steve is one of the most genuinely nicest guys you will ever meet – he is not only genuine in his interactions with others but he is also genuine in his PR efforts for Mozy.

My name is Steve and I work for MozyI define my workspace as …
A place to stare at the screen and pound away on the keyboard while seeking inspiration from Ansel Adams and all 30 major league baseball logos staring back at me.

A device I can’t live without …
My tablet – for personal reading time and play time with my kids.
Author’s note: Steve won his tablet at a company event and has embraced all the benefits that come with owning a tablet – researching, reading, watching movies – all while on-the-go. He just makes us so proud! (single tear glistens at the corner of my eye)

When I arrive at work, I typically start off by …
Being the only person in the office (on the planet?) to read the morning hard copy newspaper.

My work routine is …
Emails, phone calls, defending baseball from attacks by the marketing team, and enjoying the interaction with journalists, analysts, customers, and great vendors.

I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …
Usually I don’t listen to music at work. If I did I would miss out on all the zingers from Brent Bird, two cubes over.

The best advice I can give a recent college graduate looking to do what I do is …
If you don’t have a love for how news is created, and the written word in general, go into sales instead.

Outside of work, I am passionate about …
Skiing in the winter, perennial gardening in the summer, and spending time with my family year round.

My eating habits are …
Chicken burgers and burritos somehow make me feel less guilty than hamburgers.

If I could be someone for a day – I would be …
Teddy Roosevelt

The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …
Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

SMBs Target Gen Y Buyers this Holiday Season

Holiday ShoppingWith Thanksgiving coming late in November, this year marks the shortest holiday shopping season in more than a decade. Small-business owners are moving quickly to make the most of the time they have. For many SMBs, this means tapping into the buying power of millennials.

Half of some 1,000 SMBs that Manta polled in September and October say that, with Thanksgiving falling on Nov. 28 this year (leaving only 25 days for the traditional gift-buying span), they’re adjusting their sales plans for the holidays.

Offering hope for a successful season is Gen Y, which continues to be a potent buying force. These younger shoppers–the so-called “millennials” who reached adulthood around the year 2000–represent some $1.3 trillion in consumer spending, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

By targeting millennials, SMBs are also changing the way they market and sell, according to the Manta data. Business owners say that some 30% of their millennial customer base is mobile-based, and about 20% of the owners surveyed expect an increase in mobile business as millennials complete their holiday gift lists with online purchases.

“We’re seeing the astounding effects of the continued shift to online holiday shopping — especially from mobile devices — to the small business community,” says Kristy Campbell, director of marketing at Manta. “With the changing demographics and mobile habits of millennials coming to the forefront, these trends will continue to accelerate and gain importance.”

According to Manta, it will be important for SMBs to focus their content development and brand awareness campaigns not only on mobile and social channels, but also in terms of tone and frequency.

Manta recommends creating engaging content mapped to your company’s strategic timeline. “Make the tone of your e-mails and social media posts reflective of the timeline for consumer shopping behaviors,” suggests Manta. For example, develop content and begin outreach early using phrases like, “Get ahead of the holiday rush!” Later, as you move closer to the end dates, Manta, build urgency into your subject lines, tweets and Facebook posts. For example, use subject lines including phrases such as, “There’s still time!” or It’s not too late!”

With your holiday sales on the line and precious little time to make your goals, it may pay to focus on millennials and target their habits and the channels they tend to spend the most time on.

 

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New Restore Interface Is More than Just Good Looks

What do you get after research, testing, and valuable feedback from the best customers around? Good looks and improved performance! While it’s true that Mozy’s web interface has been updated and streamlined, there’s more to the changes than a new look. Performance is better than ever. You might have thought that finding and accessing your files couldn’t get easier, but leave it to Mozy to do just that.

Mozy Restore Interface

Here’s what to expect when you download a file or restore your entire backup:

  • All capabilities from the previous version have been retained, though some have new names or locations—with one exception. The important actions and links from the Dashboard Summary tab have been moved to the new Account options menu, which appears when you click or tap your user name.
  • Emergency Restore is now named Restore All Files. When you want to restore all files from any backed-up device, just select the device, and then in the Actions pane click Restore All Files. It’s that easy.
  • Download History also has a new name: Event History, which you can see by clicking Event History in the new Account options menu.
  • Notifications are now available by clicking the badge adjacent to your user name. Note that the badge appears only when new notifications are available. In addition, you can now choose to view the page in the default light theme or a new dark theme. Simply click Preferences in the new Account options menu.
  • Are you using Mozy Sync? Now you can set your start page to be either the Devices tab or the Synced tab by clicking Preferences in the new Account options menu. (By the way, if you’re not using Mozy Sync, you should be! Mozy Sync lets you access your files quickly and easily from all your devices. What could be better than that? Learn more about Mozy Sync.

We’d love to hear your experience with the new interface. Let us know what you think.

Mozy Support Department Wins a Best in Biz Award

BestinBizAwards_2013Here at Mozy we pride ourselves on having the best customer support in the industry. Yet another testament to that comes today as Mozy was named a Silver winner in the “Support Department of the Year” category in the Best in Biz Awards 2013 – “the only independent business awards program judged by members of the press and industry analysts.” (Read the official news announcement here.)

In 2013, under the direction of Mozy Director of Global Support Damien O’Halloran – who joined EMC in 1997 – a new mantra to define customer support at Mozy was introduced: make it simple, make it easy, and focus on helping customers find solutions quickly. As a result, we now better support our millions of customers through enhancements to our “knowledge base,” the Mozy “community,” and through Mozy’s personalized “My Support” feature.

As we learned from the judges: This year’s Best in Biz Awards program, focusing on companies based or operating in North America, was the most competitive in its history, with the highest number of awards submissions to date and the most distinguished judging panel yet assembled. More than 500 entries were received this year, from a wide array of public and private companies of all sizes and from a variety of industries and geographic regions in the U.S. and Canada.

Winners of Best in Biz Awards 2013 were determined by an independent panel of 51 judges from top-tier news, business and technology publications, as well as broadcast outlets and analyst firms, such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, Computerworld, Crain’s New York Business, CRN, Dallas Morning News, Entrepreneur, eWeek Channel Insider, Fast Company, Financial Times, Fortune, Inc. Magazine, Orange County Register, PC Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, USA Today, and many others.

On behalf of everyone involved in Customer Support at Mozy, we’re excited for the good work we’re doing in helping our customers keep their data safe, and we’re excited to win this award!

For a full list of gold, silver and bronze winners in Best in Biz Awards 2013, visit: http://www.bestinbizawards.com/2013-winners.

Next Generation of Mozy Boldly Goes into New Areas of Cloud Data Protection

Star Trek: The Next Generation launched in 1987 – more than 10 years before Google was founded, four years before the first GSM-based mobile phone was built and 13 years before the iPad. Yet the creators of the show had the vision for characters to communicate with mobile devices, search their computers for information about anything and interact with them using touch-screen technology.

Today, we’re all “Next Generation” workers. Sure, we may not be beaming about exploring strange new worlds where we seek out new life and new civilizations, but many of us work long distances from our corporate offices, at home, at customer sites and on the move. We all carry mobile devices, whether they’re smartphones, tablets or laptops, and we expect to be able to work across them accessing files and tools.

But this brings with it two huge challenges for IT departments to balance: How can they enable this style of working without compromising security; and how can they protect the information that is created on those devices – especially if they’re part of a BYOD program.

Next-generation workers require a next-generation cloud-based data protection service – and that’s what we’re announcing today.

Earlier this year, we talked about the introduction of new technology underpinning the Mozy business that radically changed the way that we think about data, enabling us to put people, instead of machines, at the heart of our methodology. Today, we’re unveiling the new features that we’ve been able to build on top of that. Together, they offer a faster, easier-to-manage service with additional tools to help make customers more productive and further options for how to buy from us.

There are three new feature sets in the next-generation Mozy service:

  1. Greater cloud administrative tools for Enterprise IT – Enhanced storage management saves time and money involved in provisioning and managing backup at a device level.
  2. Enhanced End User Experience – An integrated Mozy Sync folder keeps files updated and available across multiple computers and mobile devices. Mozy also introduces new functionality, which ensures faster initial backup times and greater bandwidth efficiency when backing up large files.
  3. New Partner Resources – New API support allowing partners and resellers to integrate with their preferred Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) or Professional Services Automation (PSA) systems.

In addition, MozyEnterprise® now becomes the public cloud component within the EMC Data Protection Suite, which allows customers and partners to mix and match the usage of individual products to best fit their requirements, while lowering their total cost of ownership and providing investment protection. This means EMC customers and partners can extend their individual Protection Storage Architectures to include cloud data protection and access tools for desktops, laptops, mobile devices and remote offices.

Without a business-wide data protection strategy that includes backup, access and personal sync, people typically take matters into their own hands, adopting disparate, unconnected, often consumer-grade solutions to meet their immediate needs. This can quickly lead to “accidental architectures” that are, at best, difficult to manage and monitor, and can put business-critical data at risk.

The next-generation Mozy service offers an alternative to businesses by enabling them to consolidate their cloud backup, access and personal sync into one service that provides industry-leading administrative functionality. And, now that MozyEnterprise is part of the EMC Data Protection Suite, it’s even easier for organizations to build their public cloud solution into a holistic approach to their backup business wide.

We’re launching the next generation of Mozy services to boldly go into new areas of data protection – and we want you to come with us. To find out more, visit our next-generation website, also launched today.

Then and Now – The Next Generation of Mozy

In this snapshot infographic, explore Mozy’s fast-paced “then and now” journey since 2006 — its growth of online backup customers and their data that has paralleled the explosion of the digital world.

Mozy Then and Now Infographic

How Cannonball is Changing Email on the iPad

Cannonball Email AppFor people who work well with simplistic lists, the traditional mobile email interface is fine. It works. But for those who like a more interactive, visual and smart inbox experience–and for those who can never make it through that long list of emails–Cannonball, a new email app for iPad, delivers.

In addition to providing messages in traditional list form, Cannonball groups messages by sender in two columns of thumbnails. “The effect is that it becomes much more fun to browse your inbox,” wrote Mashable about the new app, adding that it also increases email efficiency. “Suddenly, messages from services like Groupon and LinkedIn get lumped together and can be deleted in bulk. Likewise, you can choose to group messages from a particular friend or coworker together so you can easily scroll back and sort through your recent correspondences.”

The concept may sound familiar–it’s not unlike the new “promotions” and “priority” inboxes (among others) recently rolled out by Gmail. That similarity is cited as a drawback by TechCrunch, though it’s worth noting that all emails in the Cannonball model, regardless of the inbox they are in, appear in the iPad email interface. So while Cannonball may be replicating an existing Gmail feature, it’s bringing it to a new class of devices.

But the real advantage of Cannonball, Mashable states, is not its inbox triage capabilities, but rather its goals for email management: Unlike other mobile email apps, it doesn’t aim for a completely empty inbox.

“Cannonball is operating with a slightly different premise,” notes Mashable. “Most users don’t want to have zero emails in their inbox; what they want is to have zero unread emails in their inbox.”

And that’s what makes the product so unique. Cannonball’s touchable, drag-and-drop-able, colorful interface is pleasant to look at and easy to use, and the email triage capabilities it offers are helpful for anyone overrun with too many emails (read: everyone with email). However, because some emails contain important information or must be mulled before making a response, the goal of inbox management–rather than annihilation—makes Cannonball worth a try.

 

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How Digital Is Affecting Your Local Coffee Shop

With digital currency on the rise–hello, Bitcoin!– it’s not crazy to think that one day loose change and wallets will go the way of CDs, film and landlines. But how do these digital currency trends translate to everyday life? Following, we take a look at a few that might someday be used (if they aren’t already) at your local coffee shop.

Coffee Shop

Coffee shop frequenters who pay with plastic don’t often throw a bit extra toward their favorite barista. They have no cash on hand. In fact, only 27% of point-of-sale purchases were made with cash in 2011, according to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research, and that number is dropping every year. That’s why the tip jar is getting a makeover with the advent of DipJar.

DipJar lets customers tip with the convenience of plastic. A fixed amount–usually $1–is listed on the front of the DipJar. With each “dip” of a credit card, a tip is sent to the retailer.

It doesn’t get much easier than that–unless you didn’t even have to pull out your wallet: If some companies have their way, the future of the wallet will be no wallet at all. Your smartphone will be your wallet. LevelUp is an app that lets consumers pay with their smartphones after they have securely linked their debit or credit cards to an account. Filter, a coffee shop in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, is one of the 5,000-plus locations that currently accept LevelUp.

Filter doesn’t accept plastic because of the high fees associated with it. Customers who want to purchase a coffee can choose to pay with cash or they can open the LevelUp app and place the generated barcode in front of the LevelUp scanner on the counter. Phones vibrate when payment has been accepted. There’s even an option to add a tip before scanning.

The PayPal app works in a similar way. It’s now accepted at retailers large and small, from Dunkin Donuts shops to Home Depot to the local Chinese restaurant down the street.

When it comes to digital currency, what is your threshold? Are you on board with paying with your smartphone? Or tipping with plastic? Or would you rather pay cash? It’s a whole new world of currency.

 

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