Monthly Archives: November 2012

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.

 

MozyHome Online Backup

 

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

MozyHome v 2.18 is Here!

Version 2.18 of Mozy Backup for Windows lets you retrieve older versions of your backed up files faster than ever. Now, you can assign space for 2xProtect to store version history for files backed up to a local drive. This lets you quickly retrieve older files, rather than wait while they download. Learn more here.

Other 2xProtect Enhancements:

  • File permission retention*
  • Storage compression*
  • Control over space used to store file version history

*Requires NTFS

Improved External Drive Management:

Did you know that Mozy can back up your external hard drive? With version 2.18 for Windows, Mozy keeps your files even when your external drive is disconnected during routine backups. However, to ensure the latest versions of your files are backed up, we strongly recommend that you connect external drives whenever possible. View this version’s release notes here.

Jamie McKenzie is a product manager at Mozy.

The Cloud in Times of Trouble: How It Works for Small Biz When Disaster Strikes

The understatement of late 2012, when it comes to technology: systems suffer when the environment is extreme.

The Cloud in Times of TroubleWe saw this, of course, in late October, as New York, New Jersey, and parts of the East Coast lost power, public transportation — and lives — during the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.

The human toll being the most critical at such times, it can take a while for the challenges of running a small business to return to their normal focus. But later, when the sky has cleared and life must resume something of its normal routine, challenges do loom. For small-business owners, this means bringing their data infrastructure back online.

Payrolls. Repairs. Contact lists of vendors and customers — for all kinds of reasons these become more critical than ever. Has your IT core been protected? Have you lost the data that everyone relies upon to get back to bringing in a paycheck?

Let’s look at the cloud, and the role that professionals working with it daily see it playing during not only Sandy, but also future crisis events.

Data First Responders and the Cloud

“During disasters, IT teams become first responders tasked with trying to keep the business operational,” says Todd Krautkremer, vice president of marketing at cloud-network company Pertino.

Krautkremer blogged about the role of the cloud in the days after Sandy: “They often have to deal with a wide range of issues, including keeping back-up power running, physically relocating servers, and grappling with an entire workforce that suddenly needs secure remote access.”

So, hats off to the IT crews out there. But one way to avoid having to count on too few pros being in demand by too many hurting businesses during a post-disaster demand peak: the cloud.

Ensuring that your small business’s data is protected means making your data non-reliant upon geography. Think about it: if it’s not physically stored in the path of harm, restarting your business after an emergency requires only finding power and a working computer — not scrambling to find your data.

And that’s not as bad as facing the prospect of waterlogged hard drives and a wrecked set of servers. Even if you feel more comfortable storing your most-sensitive business information in-house, having a series of cloud servers to which you can migrate that material in stages as a crisis approaches, this is key to securing it from the elements.

Scaling Up, Scaling Down: Small Biz to the Federal Gov’t

The cloud’s role in disaster response and recovery is something businesses of all sizes acknowledge.

The General Services Administration saw the value of the cloud early on, says Casey Coleman, chief information officer for the federal department. As an early adopter, the GSA was able to provide access to its servers and help with emergency response and recovery during and after Sandy’s arrival in the U.S.

“GSA’s cloud conversion prevented complications from the Verizon outage, which would have led to interruptions in these services for GSA users in New York and New Jersey,” Coleman told FCW, a publication that covers the business of federal tech.

It is a problem not likely to vanish from small-business and other operators’ list of concerns. The changes that are now becoming  best practices, Krautkremer  blogged,  are changes based in the cloud.

“One thing is for sure,” he wrote. “The sky will open-up and wreak havoc again in the future. The next time it does, SMB IT organizations can look to the cloud.”

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Paperweight Magazine: The First Ever App-Only Humor Source

Paperweight - A Moderately Cultured Humor MagazinePeople like laughing, and people also like apps. So when comedians/entrepreneurs Chris Duffy and Brian Perry announced the creation of Paperweight Magazine, a comedy magazine app, it seemed like a logical endeavor–not the potentially revolutionary one it might become. Despite there being a plethora of humor-inspired apps and mainstream comedy newspapers, magazines, and websites, there isn’t an app that is solely devoted to hilarious written word. This is what makes Paperweight Magazine so exciting–there is literally nothing like it.

Unlike McSweeney’s or CollegeHumor, which started as a print journal and a website, respectively, and were subsequently forced to generate tablet-friendly versions to keep up with the times, Paperweight Magazine is app-first. In fact, there will be no Paperweight Magazine website (or print version, for that matter). But this is all intentional. “The biggest advantage we see to creating an app versus a website is that it allows for more interactive possibilities,” said Chris Duffy, who is Paperweight’s head writer and editor. “It allows our pieces to have more of the reader’s focus and not resort to cheap bits to keep someone’s attention from wandering every half a second.” Even though apps are certainly the wave of the near future, Duffy did admit that “figuring out how content can be shared socially [is] something that we’re working on right now,” and could be an initial challenge.

Social sharing hurdles aside, Duffy and Perry are confident that embracing the app format will separate Paperweight Magazine from what seems to be a saturated comedy market. “We’re focused on building an app that bridges the divide between static articles and interactive content,” said Brian Perry, who is the lead developer. “We’ll have articles and cartoons, but we’ll also have pieces that could never exist on a web page or in a printed magazine. Great humor contains an element of surprise and we’re building a magazine that will surprise readers with its capabilities. It’s going to be a magazine that can talk back to you.”

But Paperweight Magazine isn’t quite a reality yet, as it is still looking to raise the proper funds via Kickstarter to get it off the ground. The good news is that the app magazine is just a week-plus into its fund-raising effort, and has already accumulated more than 79% of its target goal ($11,839 of $15,000). With 15 days to go, it’s a good bet that Paperweight Magazine will raise the full $15,000 (or more), and Duffy and Perry will finally see their dream come true.

Follow Paperweight Magazine on Twitter at @PaperweightMag or on Facebook here.

 

Mozy Mobile Apps

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