The Perils of Locking and Losing Devices

Locked Smart PhoneIf you’re the proud owner of a new iPhone 5S, you’ve likely said goodbye to the traditional four-digit passcode and hello to Touch ID. Apple’s upgraded security feature lets users unlock their phones quickly and easily with their unique fingerprint.

But what about those techies who have yet to splurge on the latest iPhone? And what about the people who have iPhones but don’t use the passcode option? Apple claims that more than 50% of users don’t lock their phones with a passcode. After all, it can be a pain to punch in four digits every time you check your phone–which is an average of 150 times per day, according to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ annual Internet Trends report.

Although a misplaced or stolen iPhone can be relocated with the free Find My iPhone app, that doesn’t prevent the device–or the data it stores–from being compromised. The best way to protect your device and the data on it is to not lose it in the first place. Luckily, a technology trend called “wireless leashes”–a concept similar to the invisible fences that keep your dog in the yard–can help prevent loss and, in turn, theft.

ZOMM is a poker-chip-sized device that wirelessly tethers to your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone. ZOMM alerts you if you and your phone should ever separate by more than 30 feet. Clip ZOMM to your keychain or throw it in your purse. An alarm will sound the next time you’ve left your phone behind at the restaurant, in the taxi or at a friend’s house.

ZOMM is just one of the recent developments in cell phone safety, like the Bluetooth-enabled Tile system, that we’ve recently blogged about. But ZOMM takes safety to another level–and even doubles as a Bluetooth speaker. Say your phone rings while you’re driving but it’s buried at the bottom of your purse. Just click the ZOMM device that’s now hanging from your keychain and start chatting away.)

You’ve got to love a device that pulls double duty.

ZOMM is available for $40 on Amazon.com.

 

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How Two Websites Turn Smiles Into Pageviews

Websites Turning Pageviews into SmilesYou own a business, website and/or blog, yet the adage “build it and they will come” does not always seem to apply. Indeed, driving uniques, repeat visits and page views is extremely challenging. Successful sites demonstrate that you can make it work by making people smile.

Feel-good viral sites Buzzfeed and Upworthy make it look easy. They have successfully figured out and applied the secret for creating and curating share-worthy content. In August, BuzzFeed reportedly received 85 million visitors to its website. Upworthy, with its 22 million monthly uniques, can’t go toe-to-toe with Buzzfeed, but the traffic it generates would make most site owners drool.

What are they doing right?

Both Buzzfeed and Upworthy are using a combination of heavy visuals, must-click headlines, need-to-read listicles, and stories that are touching or simply make people smile.

Why does it work?

There are a number of reasons why this content mix works. In short, images increase engagement, the right headline can make your content go viral, and lists are an easy sell for readers because they make “a very specific promise of what’s in store,” according to Copyblogger Founder Brian Clark.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, smiles turn into page views organically.

Need proof? Read three Buzzfeed stories and watch three videos on Upworthy. In all likelihood, you will smile several times while consuming this content. You will likely also feel compelled to act on the content–sharing it so that others can feel the joy, too.

After all, a smile is contagious, and, in our digital society, one endorphin high can be the catalyst to making 20 or–if you’re George Takei–20,000 people’s day.

What can businesses learn from this?

Your content should strive to make your customers happy–even if you’re not in the media and publishing business.

The easiest way to start is by talking like a real person–the era of artifically stiff business-speak is over. If your content makes your business easier to relate to, users are more likely to remember it. They are also more likely to share news about and content from your business with the people they know–potential new customers.

The authenticity may even make ‘em smile.

 

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SMBs and Mobile Security: 5 Ways to Keep Your Company Safe

Mobile SecurityIt’s more the rule than the exception these days that mobile devices are employees’ preferred computing endpoints. The ubiquity of mobile devices, combined with near 24/7 use, can provide a big boost in employee productivity, but it also increases the risk of data compromise exponentially. SMBs, which often work with a mix of in-house and freelance professionals and may have fewer security and IT resources than larger companies, are especially vulnerable. However, there are steps that companies can take to mitigate risk while exploiting mobile technology.

A recent Forrester survey shows that some 43% of small-business owners say they’re prioritizing data mobility. Indeed, sensitive company information is increasingly being accessed and stored on mobile devices–some corporate-owned, some personal–which increases the risk of compromise.

Companies have to take precautions to make sure that data is protected, but they don’t have to panic: Here are five crucial steps organizations must take to keep data, employees and customers safe, even in the ever-changing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment.

  1. Analyze: Root out potential pain points that may arise from the use of personal devices for business purposes. For example, is there information that simply should not be accessed and/or stored on a mobile device? Are there categories of users who absolutely must have mobile access to certain applications and data? Will that access warrant increased security measures?
  2. Engage: Survey the types of mobile systems used by your employees now, and keep an eye on device, mobile operating system and app news–you want to anticipate what mobile hardware and software employees will be using in the future, as well.
  3. Set policies: Policy is key: You must explicitly inform users about what they can and can’t do, and get them to sign off on these rules. Policy should determine, among other things, what devices will and will not be supported. When it comes to who gets access to your network, set parameters based on employee/contractor role and location. Also, your team members invite greater risk every time they connect to unsecured wireless networks, download and install unapproved apps, visit possibly malicious websites, and/or leave their mobile device unattended. Your policies should cover these activities, as well,
  4. Plan ahead: Map out the procedures to be taken when devices are lost, stolen or damaged. Encourage reporting and honesty.
  5. Implement monitoring and defense: Research vendors and decide what kind of IT technology and assistance makes sense for your business. Spending money on technology like internal app scanning and external monitoring can save you the expense of financial damage and ruined reputation by finding evidence of spam and malware activity before it becomes a public disaster.

You can’t stop every criminal out there or prevent every end user from doing careless things. However, with some thought and planning, you can keep your small business — and its staff, customers and partners — safe while providing them with all of the opportunity that mobile technology affords. A little work now saves a lot of grief later, so spend some time on your mobile data security plan.

 

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Mozy is fully compatible with Mac OS X Mavericks!

Mozy and Mac OS X MavericksBeginning with the Mozy Mac Client released this week, Mozy now works seamlessly with OS X Mavericks.  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
  • Even faster initial uploads of large files with Mozy’s enhanced resuming features

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

Mozy Partner Success Story – Vito Farelli

Computer VirusOne of the most enjoyable things we get to do here at Mozy is hear about how our service has helped people avoid catastrophes. Individuals and businesses trust us to protect their most important digital information, and nothing is more comforting in a time of disaster than to know your files aren’t more than a couple of clicks away. We often hear stories from our customers and partners, and received one recently that we’d like to pass on.

I’ve been reselling Mozy to my clients for years now and I stress over and over again on how important backups are. Well today I was recipient of the greatness of MozyPro backup. One of our computers got infected with the CrytoLocker virus and it went in to all the shares of the network and started locking down all MS Office files. Once I identified the culprit computer and removed it from the network I then went to work on how to fix these now corrupt files. I logged onto the server and started restoring my files from the previous night Mozy backup. We have a lot of MS Office files that get used daily. This includes MS Access Front Ends with SQL backend and the Access file was affected. I was able to restore all my programs without any data loss and restore productivity to our busy office within hours.

If not for Mozy backup this day could have truly been my “Black Friday.” I am in the process of now restoring the non-essential files that were on the server other than for storage. As I stated before I have been reselling MozyPro for years to my clients. Today is just another example on how well your product performs. I extend to you my highest praise and recommendation to anyone that would have any doubts of your product.

Thank you very much

Sincerely

Vito Farelli

This experience is a great reminder that even if you’re careful, you might find yourself in a situation in which, through no fault of your own, the data you have is lost or destroyed. If you aren’t protecting your business data already, you should consider cloud backup. MozyPro makes it easy and affordable to back up your data and make it easily accessible to you no matter where you are. If you’re interested in helping others use Mozy to protect their information, you can learn more about our Reseller program.

 

Website Lessons Learned from Williams-Sonoma

Is your website as classy as your brand?

For Williams-Sonoma, Inc., the goal is to match great looking Web pages with top-shelf analytics to keep track of customers.

“Data science is brand building here,” said Mohan Namboodiri, VP of Customer Analytics for the San Francisco-based retailer. “We have a heritage of scouring the world for fantastic products,” he told the audience at the Teradata 2013 Partners conference earlier this month in Dallas. “We bring that same sensibility to doing our data analytics.”

While Williams-Sonoma began with a traditional brick-and-mortar store and a mail-order catalogs, the company has “come of age online,” he said.

Namboodiri explained that there are several routines and techniques the company uses to track customers. Here are some of the highlights:

Williams & Sonoma

Segment users by persona

  • Williams-Sonoma groups site visitors into various usage clusters and behaviors. These groups can help Namboodiri’s team understand what different online shoppers are trying to do and how they’re using the site. This both helps inform site navigation and improve conversion rates.

Use cookies to model and score customer behavior

  • Each browsing session is tracked with a unique cookie to determine what customers are doing. Data is used to provide feedback to personas; allowing the company to group customers and test the performance of the personae.

Guide customers based on their actions

  • Various triggers have been programmed to respond to particular customer actions. For example, if a visitor searches for an item that’s put on sale in its stores, he would be guided to the best way to buy. “It could be borderline creepy, but it is a sale and so saving customers money trumps that,” he said.

Apply online data to retail forecasts

  • The more online visitors buy a particular items, the more the company stocks them at retail outlets. This information impacts Williams-Sonoma’s supply chain and even inventory decisions of stores in particular neighborhoods. Namboodiri’s team analyzes these purchases over time to help improve each store’s inventory moving forward. Given the number of different furniture styles, colors, and options, you can imagine this can be quite critical to having the right goods in the right stores.

Like any great Web storefront, Williams-Sonoma recognizes that design and analytics will always be a work in progress. That’s why Namboodiri and his team constantly experimenting with other ideas to keep things fresh. At the Teradata conference, there were no shortage of great ideas. By developing a website that elegantly weaves together design and analytics, good things happen for both company and customer.

 

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Textbook Assault Looks Change How Students Buy Books

While the digital age has changed much about education, the same cannot be said about how college students buy their textbooks. Twice every school year, broke students flock to their local bookstore and inevitably overpay for required reading materials.

Greg Brooks, the founder of Textbook Assault, thinks there should be a more student-friendly alternative.

“There is an oligopoly with the textbook industry,” said Brooks. “Over the last 30 years, five major publishers have essentially bought up all the smaller companies and now control the price of books. They set the prices of textbooks sky high: the price has risen almost 750% since 1978 (compared to less than a 250% increase in inflation).”

For whatever reason, the internet hasn’t done much to corner the untapped market either. While Amazon.com is a popular outlet, it doesn’t always boast the lowest prices. And if students want to bargain hunt, they might have to search upwards of 20 textbook websites—individually—before stumbling upon that one adequately priced copy of Introduction to Organic Chemistry.

Brooks believes there’s an opportunity to change how students shop for textbooks. Textbook Assault’s approach is to become the “Kayak.com of textbooks. “Like Kayak.com does for flights, Textbook Assault instantly searches the internet for the cheapest textbooks options. The key difference, however, is that users can checkout directly from Textbook Assault—even though the company doesn’t actually possess any inventory.

Brooks also feels a sense of responsibility for the Cup Noodles-consuming generation.

“If one of our textbook partners cancels the order, we refill it for the student—often at a loss,” said Brooks. “And even if something gets lost in the mail or a student wants to return a book, we take care of that as well.”

Textbook Assault claims that the average site user saves over $3,000 as compared to either the traditional college store or inefficient internet options. Because Brooks’ site is essentially the first of its kind, the founder is equally excited about how the textbook industry could evolve.

“The textbook industry is ripe for innovation and it will come sooner than later,” said Brooks. “We know what the status quo is and it was easy enough to provide the best solution for the status quo so we quickly did that. But, the innovation is what students need and that is what we will provide in the future. What that actually is, only time will tell.”

 

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3rd Annual Frightful Haiku Contest Winners!

Mozy Haiku ScaryWe’re happy to announce the winners of our 3rd Annual Frightful Haiku Contest! We had over 30 awesome entries, which made choosing the winners that much more difficult.

And now, the winners, as voted on by the Mozy Marketing Team:

Grand Prize Winner

Sandra Rowe:

Great-Grandma’s pictures–
Gone–but now back from the dead!
Wish she was back, too.

Runners-up

Elana:

What a fiendish trick -
A werewolf ate my hard drive.
Mozy was my treat!

ChrisZel:

Lurking…in the dark,
Like the Data Grim Reaper.
The blue screen awaits.

Frisbee Winners (Honorable Mention)

Sue:

The heart-sinking sound
is your hard drive dying but
Mozy has you backed.

Shawn Hannan:

Diskpart, clean, format.
All ready to start anew.
Wait! Uh-oh… Wrong drive.

Emily Cooper and Tom Hendren:

ZERO BYTES
Dissertation done!
Years of work. Just needs printing.
“This file is empty.”

If you’re a winner, please email stories@mozy.com to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone for the awesome submissions, and be thinking about next year, it’ll be here scaring us before you know it!

My name is Jamie and I work for Mozy

Hello again! Glad you could make it back for another session of our “My name is … and I work for Mozy” blog series. We’ve attempted to expand across all our functional areas to show you that Mozy has successfully managed to find the best-of-the-best in talent. And speaking of talent … we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Morningstar, Mozy Principal Product Manager. Jamie works closely with the Mozy development teams to help guide them in creating the right thing at the right time, in the right way. In her words “Basically, I listen to a lot of people about what they need, work with the engineers to get it done, and then tell people about it!” Simple enough, right? Yes, if you’re Jamie.

My name is Jamie and I work for Mozy

I define my workspace as …
Gypsy chic. That makes the clutter sound a lot quainter than, “really messy because tidying up never seems to make it to the top of my to-do list.”

A device I can’t live without …
My teapot. Wireless headphones are a close second.

When I arrive at work, I typically start off by …
Completing the top thing on my list. I try to use those precious morning hours for in-depth thinking and save email for later in the day.

My work routine is …
Collaborative. Most of my job revolves around working with the development teams to plan and create features, so I spend a lot of time describing and prioritizing customer needs and then explaining it all to the engineering teams, my fellow Product Owners, and stakeholders like Sales, Support, and Executives.

I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …
I do listen to music when I can carve out 30 or 40 minutes of thinking and writing time. Music helps me focus on my work rather than listening to the hubbub around me. But most of the time I don’t listen to music because I need to be available to the people around me.

The best advice I can give a recent college graduate looking to do what I do is …
Figure out what makes you special in your field of study. My undergraduate degree is in Computer Science and early on I realized that I had a distinct ability to bridge between different parts of the organization. So I transformed it into a career in Product Management and I love the challenges and rewards of translating between different parts of the company and helping developers create the most important thing as efficiently as possible. It’s certainly not what I expected to do when I walked into my CS101 class, but I’m glad that I recognized my unique strengths in my field and pursued them.

Outside of work, I am passionate about …
The welfare of the world’s 210 million orphans. Getting more young women interested in careers in technology. Agile software development. And skiing, hiking, and camping in the amazing Utah great outdoors. I’m a passionate person.
Author’s note: I once read that what a person does for others without expecting anything in return is what really shows you their character. I know that Jamie is very involved in the community and with women’s groups. Good for you, Jamie!

My eating habits are …
Convenient. Like most people, I try to eat healthy, but left to my own devices I’d probably eat Lucky Charms for two or maybe three meals a day. They really are magically delicious..

If I could be someone for a day – I would be …
Myself on vacation. Is that lame? I really like being me… I’d just like to be me on the ski slopes rather than in my office. Or if I need to come up with an answer that’s more inspirational I’d be Roald Dahl because I wonder what it was like in his head, writing such heartwarming yet seriously twisted stories. Neil Gaiman would work, too.
Author’s note: as a fellow working mom, I understand how precious alone time is! When I dream of an ideal vacation – it usually involves white sand beaches, a hammock, a cocktail and a good book – oh, and the sea breeze is nice too!

The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …
Birkenstocks. You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear.

Which designer and developer tools are better? Pencil Case knows

PencilCase AppFor designers and developers, their tools mean everything. Without the right software, apps, programs and websites could never be perfect.

Of course, to an artist and a coder, nothing is ever perfect, but the right tools may help make the job or project easier, helping creators to produce their best work possible.

Enter Pencil Case, which rates tools for designers and developers, so creatives and coders can “discover, collect and share” resources such as Dribbble, GitHub, InVision, and more.

A peek inside the beta

An email invite to the Pencil Case beta reads:

“Pencil Case is a free-to-use web-based app which aims to help designers and developers – just like you – ensure they’re always equipped with the best tools. Create lists (known as ‘pencil cases’) and save up to ten of your most valuable resources inside each one. We track how popular each resource is and display the results in a searchable chart, so everyone can see what’s popular and what’s new, and who’s using what. This helps you find the best tried-and-tested resources, determined by like-minded creatives, with a focus on quality over quantity.”

The web-based app currently hosts 523 resources, and it allows members to “suggest a resource” that isn’t yet listed.

Search “editing” and Pencil Case provides 23 results for tools under the slightly narrower category “image editing.” When ranked according to popularity (the number of times a resource appears in members’ pencil cases) we get:

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Adobe Illustrator
  3. Sketch
  4. Pixelmator
  5. Adobe Fireworks
  6. Slicy
  7. Enigma64
  8. Pixel Dropr
  9. Retinize It
  10. Adobe InDesign

Click on any of the listed resources to expand, revealing a short summary of what it is and why it is awesome, Then jump to the product’s website, “view” what Pencil Case has to say about it and which members added it to their cases, or save it to your own case.

A better pencil case

This isn’t kindergarten anymore. And although the name evokes innocent memories of primary school, Pencil Case is no doubt a service for big kids.

In April, Pencil Case had nearly 500 members . As the community grows, the number of showcased resources will increase and the site’s rating quality will improve.

Although Pencil Case’s web-based app is a bit limited, Edward Williams, the site’s founder, assures users, “We’ll be constantly updating the website so visit regularly and follow @pencilcaseapp on Twitter for updates.”

Why care?

Designers and developers are often so overwhelmed with information and choice that it can be difficult to decide what tools to use for their next project.

Apps like Pencil Case will make it easier for creatives and programmers to discover the best tools on the web, so instead of spending egregious amounts of time finding and researching tools that will take your project to the next level, you may soon be able to identify the right programs that will help you build better.

Request an invite for the Pencil Case beta at its website. Or get direct access thanks to Erlibird.

 

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