Blog Archives

20th Century Encryption Technology

Secret or deceptive methods have been use for centuries to cover up private messages to keep them out of the hands of enemies or those without the need to know. Steganography or the practice of concealing information dates back at least 500 years. In the digital age our messages have advanced from Morse code to digital code transferred through the Internet. From the 20th century and beyond we still look for ways to protect or conceal our messages just as they did centuries ago, but now we use encryption. Check out this infographic on the evolution of encryption technology, which has abounded throughout the last century and continues to do so today at an accelerated rate.

http://graduatedegrees.online.njit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/20th-Century-and-Beyond-Encryption-Technology-01-1.pngNJIT Computer Science Online

Social Media – The New Face of Disaster Response

A few weeks ago I received a notification from Facebook to let my friends know that I was safe from a bomb that apparently went off near me. I live in rural Utah and couldn’t find anything related to the bomb in the local news outlets. Unfortunately, a real bomb went off in Pakistan nearly 8,000 miles away. I later found out that Facebook had a glitch in their system, causing the same notification to be sent to many throughout the world. This made me realize that social media is a quick new way to communicate during a disaster.

As early as 2007, residents where a disaster hit started using hashtags in Twitter as an organized way of tracking what was happening in the aftermath of a disaster. You can easily find updates to a disaster when you know which hashtag is being used. Today we have a better understanding that social media is a quick way to communicate the effects of a disaster to a broader audience. The infographic below from our friends at the University of San Francisco demonstrates just how beneficial social media has been during different disasters. After perusing, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.


USF Online MPA Program

The Automation of Life

The other day I took my niece and nephew to a local McDonald’s for lunch. As we walked in we were greeted by a large touch screen that had an “Order Here” sign above it. Customers can order how they want their food right from the screen. But being a person who would rather talk to a human, I walked up to the counter to place my order. Whether this move to automating the ordering process is in response to demands for a minimum pay increase or if the new generation is more comfortable touching a screen than talking to a human is still up for debate. But it got me thinking about what other processes or jobs are being automated in our new world of touch screens, Internet of Things, and mobile devices.

Dangerous jobs
With the advancements of technology, humans are being removed from situations where they could be hurt or even killed. Sophisticated remote devices are used to check for bombs and life-threatening chemicals. Drones patrol the skies over battle zones and can even attack targets that have been identified by someone in a remote location.

Not long ago the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was badly crippled by an earthquake and then a tsunami. The lingering radioactive fallout as well as the unstable structure of the plant made it nearly impossible for someone to investigate the area without dying. Scientists developed an autonomous drone to fly into the area and investigate. The drone self-guides with the use of lasers to avoid obstacles and can even replace its own batteries and work where GPS doesn’t.

Cashiers
Not only are we seeing the first steps to replacing minimum wage labor at fast food restaurants, the same is happening at grocery stores. One person can now supervise up to 10 registers where customers scan their food and other goods before paying. No longer do we need someone to provide change or scan our card card thanks to the automated payment.

Banks
A few years ago you were out of luck on getting cash if you weren’t fortunate enough to get to the bank during “bank hours.” That was until the Automated Teller Machine, otherwise known as the ATM, became a feature of banking. Along with online banking, you can now deposit and withdraw funds at all hours of the night as well as weekends and holidays without needing a human to handle the transaction.

Warehouses 
Warehouses that fulfill hundreds if not thousands of order per day are improving efficiency by automating the packing and shipping of goods. They have also automated the process of transporting goods from one point to another, saving the company money and improving efficiencies. If Amazon is correct, UPS and FedEx delivery drivers will one day be replaced by drones, which will leave our orders on our doorsteps.

Data protection
So much information has become digitalized! Our music is now files rather than tracks on CDs (or if you’re older, grooves on vinyl). Pictures are now viewed on a computer or mobile device rather than being printed. In the past, in order to protect your photos, you would store them away from moisture and heat. Now we worry about hard drive crashes. Backing up these new digital versions is necessary, especially for preserving family pictures, which can’t be replaced if they are lost or otherwise damaged. Rather than burning copies to DVDs or backing up to hard drives and then safeguarding those copies at mom’s house, we now rely on cloud backup. With a few clicks of a button you can back up your music, photos, and other precious data to an offsite location to ensure that they’re protected in case of an emergency. And to further simplify the process, you can schedule backups to run when your computer is idol.

We might not always like where automation is taking us, but there is no escaping the fact that automation is becoming more and more a part of everyday life.

Now where is my e-reader? I want to check if that bestseller has been automatically downloaded.

Most Prolific Hackers (infographic)

Money. Power. Politics. A new Porsche. Any one of those can be sufficient motivation for a hacker to ply his trade. These days, even with the most sophisticated security in place, hackers continue to break through the inner sanctums of government, industry, and business to steal secrets and other sensitive information like weapons technology and credit card numbers. These guys are so good that some end up making a legitimate profession by using their hacking skills. Let’s take a look back to learn about the most prolific computer hackers and the motivations behind their exploits.

As long as there have been computers, there have been hackers. Through the use of computers to gain unauthorized access to everything from radio station phone lines to government agencies, hackers have a wide variety of motives for their actions. Join us as we list the most prolific hackers to date.

Alias: The Homeless Hacker
Name: Adrian Lamo
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Threat analyst
Agenda: Unkown

Best Known For:

Using coffee shops and libraries as his command centers, Adrian earned his alias by hacking into The New York Times, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

After an arrest and 6 months of house arrest in 2003, Lamo became an American threat analyst. He was one who turned in U.S. soldier Bradley Manning (now known as Chelsea Manning) for leaking thousands of government socuments, which shined the spotlight on the now infamous WikiLeaks website for the first time.

Alias: ASTRA
Name: Withheld from public
Country of Origin: Greece
Current Status: Inactive following arrest in 2008
Agenda: $$$

Best Known For:

This hacker has never been publicly identified, though it is suspected he was a 58-year-old math teacher. Astra spent over half a decade hacking into the aviation company Dassault Group’s inner sanctums to steal and sell weapons technology information.

Alias: Dark Dante
Name: Kevin Poulsen
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Senior editor for Wired magazine
Agenda: A new Porsche 944 S2

Best Known For:
Being the first American to be banned from the Internet and computers for 3 years after his release from a 5-year prison sentence for hacking.
Poulson hacked the phone lines of a local radio station to rig a competition in which he would be the 102nd caller, winning the grand prize.

Alias: Cumbajohnny, Segvec, Soupnazi, Kingchilli
Name: Albert Gonzalez
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Inactive, currently in prison until 2025
Agenda: $$$

Best Known For:
Starting shadowcrew.com, a website that gained up to 4,000 followers where stolen or fake passports, driver’s licenses, bank account information, debit and credit cards, etc. were bough and sold.
He hacked TJX Companies and Heartland Payment Systems to steal upwards of 45 million debit and credit card numbers. Gonzalez was arrested in 2008 for this crime.

Alias: The Condor, The Darkside Hacker
Name: Kevin Mitnick
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Security consultant and author of two books
Agenda: Social engineering

Best Known For:
Being “the most wanted computer criminal.”

Mitnick started his illustrious career by bypassing the punch card system on the city bus line in Los Angeles. Soon he was hacking Motorola, IBM, the Pentagon, and others.
In 1995, a judge placed him in solitary confinement, fearing Mitnick’s skills were so diverse he could start a nuclear war by whistling codes into a payphone.

Alias: c0mrade
Name: Jonathan James
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Committed suicide in 2008
Agenda: Unknown

Best Known For:
Being the first juvenile to be tried and sentenced for hacking in America.

At 15, James began hacking into the Miami-Dade School System, Bell South, the Department of Defense, and NASA. He also intercepted source code for the International Space Staion, causing NASA to shut down its computers for 3 weeks to fix the breach.

Alias: Unknown
Name: Vladimir Levin
Country of Origin: Russia
Current Status: Whereabouts unkown
Agenda: $$$

Best Known For:
Without using the internet, but instead, a telecommunications system, he was able to gain access to millions of dollards, which he siphoned off and split between his 2 partners. After serving 3 years in prison, he was ordered to pay back only part of the money because that was all that could be recovered.

Alias: Solo
Name: Gary McKinnon
Country of Origin: England
Current Status: Currently lives in England
Agenda: Looking for evidence of UFO’s

Best Known For:
Hacking into 100 American military and NASA servers from his girlfriend’s aunt’s house. He deleted sensitive software, files, and data.
Later he shut down 2,000 comptuers in the US Army’s Military District of Washington network in just 24 hours, making it the largest military computer hack of all time, rendering the US military network inoperable for days.

Alias: Syrian Electronic Army (group)
Name: Unknown
Country of Origin: Syria
Current Status: Active
Agenda: Support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Best Known For:
Hacking US President Barack Obama’s and the Associated Press’ Twitter feeds are just two of the high-profile altercations they’ve been involved in. The Syrian Electronic Army has also attacked political opposition groups, western news organizations, human rights groups, government websites, and US defense contractors.

Alias: Anonymous (group)
Name: Unknown
Country of Origin: Multiple
Current Status: Active
Agenda: Social causes

Best Known For:

Being a group of individual members (known as Anons) from around the globe who unite for social causes.

Anonymous has attacked government, religious, and corporate websites.  Among their targets are the Vatican, the FBI, the CIA, Paypal, Sony, MasterCard, and Visa , as well as the Chinese, Israeli, Tunisian, and Ugandan governments.

Make sure your data is protected offsite with Mozy Online Backup.

When Old Tech Becomes New Tech

Every few years we are forced to upgrade the devices that are so much a part of our everyday lives. In fact, we explored the limited lifespan of technology in a recent blog post. For example, the resolution on your new camera soon becomes grainy when compared to what’s available just months after you’ve made your purchase. Smartphone operating system upgrades soon make it impossible to run the apps that you so love. That 42” TV just doesn’t show your football game like the new 80” 4K Ultra HD that stares you down every time you hit the electronics section of your favorite store.

The rapid advance in technology is causing a glut in tech devices such as computers, mobile devices, camcorders, game systems, computer hardware, and video players. In 2014 the world produced 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste. To put that in perspective, that amount of garbage would fill 1.15 million 18-wheel trucks. If you lined up those trucks they would stretch from New York to Tokyo and back again! The EPA estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled and the rest goes to the landfill. Once the materials in the computers start to break down or are incinerated, they release a variety of toxins that are harmful to the environment as well as to humans. Unfortunately, a lot of that e-waste could have been recycled, up-cycled, or useful to someone else.

I found out that I am part of the 68% of consumers who are stockpiling old devices for no reason. For starters, I have an old iMac G5, a ‘90’s Compaq computer, and a handful of phones and mp3 players. You can probably relate. So it’s time we start doing something about the problem! It’s time we stop dumping them and adding to the fastest-growing source of waste; instead, we can save time, space, and money by properly “disposing” of out-of-date devices.

There are many local organizations that would love your old tech; for example, schools and low-income members of the community. And your donations are tax deductible. If you don’t want to spend the time to find a taker, there are organizations that will pick up your items, refurbish them, and donate them to someone in need. human-I-T is one organization in particular and is a non-profit that transforms unwanted or inoperative technology and makes it operational again for those in need. Consumers as well as companies like LinkedIn, Google, and Cars.com have all reduced e-waste and benefited the community by donating technology to human-I-T.

If you are worried about the data on the device, organizations that refurbish outdated technology follow strict guidelines on removing data from devices so that it can no longer be accessed. This process follows guidelines specified by such laws as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

Your old tech can find new life with low-income families, veterans, those with disabilities, and schools and organizations. Consider that in 2014 human-I-T was able to divert more than 15 tons of e-waste from landfills. But even more importantly, what was once considered waste was turned into tools to help kids to stay current in their studies and the unemployed to find jobs.

Source;
https://www.causesinternational.com/ewaste/e-waste-facts

The True Cost of Poor Cybersecurity

It might be the oldest attitude in the books: “It won’t happen to me.” Or, “I’ll take care of it later.” But there is a reality that can be costly to businesses, even to the point of taking a business offline or out of commission for good. We’re talking about cyberattacks. They can happen to anyone, anytime. The cost? —Six figures? Seven figures? Ten figures? Depending on the size of the business, any one of these amounts is possible. Take a look at our infographic to explore the true cost of poor cybersecurity.


THE TRUE COST OF POOR CYBERSECURITY: The 5 Worst Data Breaches and Most Costly Viruses
Everyone thinks it always happens to someone else and they are safe from a cyberattack. The companies and individuals on our countdown certainly thought that. Cyberattacks can happen to anyone at anytime.   Whether it is hackers or self-replicating viruses, poor cybersecurity can end up costing you a lot.

5 Worst Data Breaches
#1 American Business Hack
Year: 2005–2012
Records Lost: 160 million
A hacking ring from Russia and Ukraine targeted banks, retail chain stores and payment processors, stealing more than 160 million credit and debit card numbers and more than 800,000 bank account numbers.
#2 eBay
Year: 2014
Records Lost: 145 million
No credit card information was compromised; however, hackers stole customer names, addresses, date of birth, and other personal information. Password information was also compromised. The online auction house simply asked customers to change their passwords immediately.
#3 Heartland Payment Systems
Year: 2006–2008
Records Lost: 130 million
Heartland, one of the world’s largest payment processing companies, was hacked using malware, resulting in the loss of credit and debit card numbers. The mastermind behind the crime was given a 20-year jail sentence, the longest handed down for a computer crime. Heartland ended up paying credit card companies $100 million in claims settlement related to the breach.
#4 TJX
Year: 2003
Records Lost: 94 million
The parent company to stores like T. J. Maxx and Marshalls has said hackers took credit and debit card numbers, and in some instances entire customer identities were stolen, including driver license numbers. The breach ended up costing TJX $256 million and was masterminded by the same person who was in charge of the #3 Heartland hack on the countdown.
#5 Anthem
Year: 2015
Records Lost: 80 million
Names, Social Security numbers, and other sensitive information ideal for identity theft were taken from the second largest health insurance company in America. The hack was said to have originated in China.
5 Most Costly Viruses
#1 MYDOOM
Year: 2004
PCs Infected: 2 Million
Damages: $38,000,000,000
MyDoom was a worm spread through e-mail. 1 in 4 e-mails carried the virus at one time. Mydom was a line in the program’s code (mydomain) and thus, after adding an “o”, it was named.
#2 SOBIG.F
Year: 2003
PCs Infected: 2 Million
Damages: $37,100,000,000
Self-replicating worm spread through e-mail.
#3 ILOVEYOU
Year: 2000
PCs Infected: 500,000 (That’s about 10% of the world’s computers at the time)
Malicious program hidden in an email attachment. ILOVEYOU was the first virus that attached itself to an e-mail.
#4 CONFICKER
Year: 2007
PCs Infected: 12 Million
Damages: $9,100,000,000
Confliker was a worm that scanned computers for weaknesses, logged keystrokes and downloaded code from hacker websites. This virus is still active and as of August 2015, is still infecting about 1 million computers worldwide.
#5 CODE RED
Year: 2001
PCs Infected: 1 Million
Damages: $2,600,000,000
Code Red was a worm that exploited an OS vulnerability, actively looking for other machines to attack. It took down and defaced websites, most notably whitehouse.gov. It was nicknamed Code Red because the pair who discovered the virus were drinking Mountain Dew Code Red at the time of discovery.
35% of businesses have lost data due to flawed IT security. Don’t be caught unprepared. Let Mozy help you manage your cloud security needs.
Visit http://mozy.com/product/features/military-grade-security to learn more about how Mozy can keep your data safe and secure.
Source:
http://www.kaspersky.com/about/news/virus/2013/35_of_businesses_have_lost_data_due_to_flawed_IT_security
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/02/27/security-firm-finds-link-between-china-and-anthem-hack/
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/worlds-biggest-data-breaches
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/biggest-worst-data-breaches-hacks_55d4b5a5e4b07addcb44fd9e
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/biggest-data-breaches,news-19083.html
http://www.cio.com/article/2399262/data-breach/the-15-worst-data-security-breaches-of-the-21st-century.html?page=2
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/worst-computer-viruses.htm#page=4
http://uk.norton.com/top-5-viruses/promo
http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/famous-malicious-computer-viruses/
http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0512/10-of-the-most-costly-computer-viruses-of-all-time.aspx
http://www.computerworld.com/article/2956312/malware-vulnerabilities/remember-conficker-its-still-around.html

The Limited Lifespan of Technology

What do cars and technology have in common? Both lose value the moment you purchase them.

For cars, this isn’t much of an issue since they will usually continue to run just fine for several years. Unlike smartphones, computers, and other tech, they don’t need upgrades. The average age of a passenger car/light vehicle in the U.S. is over 11 years, according to IHS.com. They even get special “historic” license plates in most states after 20 years! Personal technology, though, rarely offers a fully functional lifespan for more than a couple of years.

OS upgrades leave many existing devices behind
Technology you use in your home and at work isn’t as durable as cars. There are three main reasons why personal tech doesn’t do so well in the longevity game.

1.  It breaks easily, particularly mobile technology like tablets and smartphones.
2.  Major operating system (OS) upgrades are often too advanced for existing
     hardware.
3.  Consumers are used to wireless technology, which makes infrequent, but
     dramatic, upgrades.

Are consumers fighting constant upgrades?
Some consumers who have managed to keep their mobile devices longer than manufacturers expect (meaning they haven’t broken them) are voluntarily holding on to them for longer periods than before, Gallup reports. More than half of surveyed consumers told a Gallup poll in April and May 2015 that they hold on to their phones only until they stop working or become obsolete. So, when is a device obsolete?

Most consumers don’t seem to be bothered by an OS upgrade for at least several months. This might explain why 44% told Gallup they stay with contracts to get a phone upgrade every two years. By then, they are ready for something new. Mobile devices are further burdened by network upgrades. Have you tried to operate a 3G device in an area with the “lightening speed” of 4G? Networks don’t serve older devices well, and few have space for upgrades.

Computers operate past their OS support lives
Like cars, desktops and laptops operate even when they’re technically obsolete. There’s a bit of relief in that apps and developers are far more focused on the mobile world. In addition, many computers come with the capacity for upgrades, something few mobile devices offer. Still, while most OS systems may function for years, they lose official support long before they stop working. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP after a 10-year run; support for Vista will end in 2017, also after 10 years. Apple phases out support for its older OS releases even more quickly.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft and Apple both offered limited free upgrades to their latest OS for customers who had more recent versions. There’s nothing like an upgrade to make you aware of all the new software out there you hadn’t considered because…you had an older OS that couldn’t run them.

Consumers are intrigued by new tech approaches
While new apps and other toys are fun, the fact is that many consumers don’t want to learn how to use a replacement device every year, according to Accenture. In the spirit of the Internet of Things, consumers are more interested in buying new approaches to technology.

•   In January 2015, 12% of consumers told Accenture they plan to buy a wearable fitness monitor in the next year
•   40% said they plan to make this purchase in the next five years
•   Over the next five years, consumers plan to buy smart surveillance systems (41%), smart thermostats (39%), and 3D printers
    (35%).

Sure, it’s a lot of fun to have the latest car or the latest technology, but if you decide to wait a little longer before your next purchase, don’t worry; there is always something new and exciting to look forward to no matter when you decide to replace that “old” technology!

(1) http://press.ihs.com/press-release/automotive/average-age-light-vehicles-us-rises-slightly-2015-115-years-ihs-reports
(2) http://www.gallup.com/poll/184043/americans-split-often-upgrade-smartphones.aspx?
(3) https://newsroom.accenture.com/industries/electronics-high-tech/most-consumers-encounter-challenges-using-new-types-of-high-tech-devices-accenture-survey-finds.htm

Mozy Summer Photo Contest 2015 winners announced!

WINNER!!! “Staying cool in the city”

Judging by the photographs you submitted to this year’s Mozy Summer Photo Contest, it’s pictorially obvious that you are enjoying the summer. Take a look at this year’s submissions.

We received lots of wonderful images that made us want to be where you were! There were so many fun photos that we wish we could award everyone a prize. But you knew the rules when you entered our contest: $25 gift cards for three runners-up and a $50 gift card for the grand prize winner. Images were voted on by members of the Mozy Marketing team. The most votes per photo determined the winners.

After all the votes were counted, here are the winners:
•   Grand Prize: “Staying Cool in the City”
•   Runners-Up Prizes:
     º   “U9 West Seattle Steelheads”
     º   “Dude with Venus, Jupiter, and a Waxing Crescent Moon”
     º   “The Marina at Chula Vista”

U9 West Seattle Steelheads

Dude with Venus, Jupiter, and a Waxing Crescent Moon

The Marina at Chula Vista

Congratulations to each of our winners! And a warm summer thanks to each of you for sharing some of your favorite summer memories with us. If you didn’t win a prize this year, there is always next summer. In the meantime, continue to enjoy the summer…it’s almost over. Be cool, have fun, and be safe!

And don’t forget: Because you back up to the cloud with Mozy by EMC, you will always be a winner.

Congrats to all of our winners! If you are one of the winners, please send an email to stories@mozy.com and include your snail mail and email addresses.

What’s in a name? You wouldn’t know these companies by their first names

Brad’s Drink

In 1893 Caleb Bradham opened a pharmacy in North Carolina after dropping out of medical school due to a family crisis. While running his pharmacy he concocted a “healthy” cola, which was thought to aid in digestion. This refreshing drink was concocted of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other additives and was called “Brad’s Drink.” That name only lasted for five years and in 1898 it was renamed to…Pepsi Cola.

BackRub

BackRub it. Yeah, that sounds way weird, but if one well-known company had kept their original name, we would be saying “BackRub it” instead of “Google it.” Way back in 1996, Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin created a search engine they called BackRub. Taking up too much bandwidth on Stanford University’s website, Page and Brin eventually moved the company to a friend’s garage and registered the Google domain name, which originated from the word “googol,” which is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Computing-Tabulation-Recording Corporation

The merger of four companies in 1911 created the Computing-Tabulation-Recording Company. The company manufactured a wide range of products, including employee time-keeping systems, weighing scales, automatic meat slicers, and punched card equipment. In 1924 the company was renamed to International Business Machines, otherwise known around the world as IBM.

Marufuku Co. Ltd

Originally named Marufuku, this company produced and marketed Hanafuda cards.  In 1951 the company’s name was changed to “Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd.”

After the president of the company visited the largest playing card company at that time and saw how small the offices were, he decided to explore other ventures that could be more profitable. In 1963 the company dropped the “Playing Card Co. Ltd.” from their name and simplified it to Nintendo. Nintendo tried to find an industry where they could establish a solid business, even dabbling in the hotel industry, taxi services, and other ventures that continued to fail. Testing various markets, they finally hit gold with Nintendo Entertainment Center in 1986.

Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web

Once again Stanford University makes an appearance on our list. Two graduate students were putting off finishing their doctoral studies and playing around on the new phenomenon known as the World Wide Web. As they found new sites that they liked they would index them in a directory on their website. As the list began to grow, they decided to call their website “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” after Jerry Yang and David Filo, the two students. The site was renamed in 1995 to Yahoo!, a backronym for “Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle.”

http://www.famousnamechanges.net/html/corporate.htm

http://www.google.com/about/company/history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Nintendo

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2008/feb/01/microsoft.technology

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!

http://www.pepsistore.com/history.asp

Use the cloud to help create your wedding day

In recent articles we’ve highlighted a few industries that have benefited from cloud computing. Although the cloud is beneficial to SMBs and enterprises, there are many ways that consumers take advantage of the cloud. Let’s take a look at preparing for a wedding.

Today you would be hard pressed to find a Rolodex in any of our homes, thanks to the digital age. To avoid having to reach out to each of our friends and family for their information, consider taking a Wikipedia approach to collecting the mailing information for your wedding guests. I suggest using Google forms to address this need.

Google forms allow you to create a free “survey” where prospective guests can fill out their information. Google even has created some great background theme images that you can use. Once the survey is customized to your liking you can then send a link to your friends. In this case I suggest sending it in a message via Facebook (because that’s where most of us have connected with our closest friends). Once the guests enter in the info it’s compiled in an easy-to-access spreadsheet, which can be shared with your future spouse and can also be exported and sent to your local print/copy shop for printing invitations. Ten minutes to create the form can save hours of contacting each and every person.

What about the cloud and wedding gifts? Each new couple needs a few sets of matching bathroom towels, but how do you avoid getting duplicate gifts? Set up a gift registry! Target and Bed Bath & Beyond have thoughtfully created an easy way to register for the gifts that you need. The recently engaged couple can add gifts via the company’s site or by going into the store. The updated list is then accessible at any of their stores or via the registry on the company’s site. The company even stores your address for guests that are out of town and won’t be able to attend the wedding.

Helping all those involved in the wedding visualize what you want on your special day is crucial. If you or your loved one has collected hundreds of images of the perfect fairytale wedding, be sure that you have access to them anywhere you go. Mozy’s mobile app lets you sync your files from your computer to your mobile device without having to use the storage space on your phone. Within seconds you have instant access to images of the ideal bouquet or wedding dress. Why leave it to chance? Use the cloud help you create your special day!