Tag Archives: mozy online backup

Small tech stuff (too) easily lost or mislaid, some thoughts

From Bluetooth headsets to SD cards, and even cameras and phones, it’s getting easier to misplace things, even in a home office.

To be fair, my home office and adjacent hallway space is, well, enough of an Over-Clutter Central that even largish things — like notebook computers — can stay hidden if I’m not careful.

But it’s even worse for the small techno-doodads, both the ones I use daily, and the ones I use infrequently.

The first instance of this trend was close to a decade ago, when a 1GB IBM MicroDrive (a CF-card sized hard drive, about half an inch squared by one-eighth of an inch) went AWOL. “How can I misplace a gigabyte?” I wondered, once I realized I couldn’t find it. (This was back in the day when a gigabyte was a significant amount of storage, and not cheap — this 1GB Microdrive was about $340. Now, of course, solid-state CF cards are about two dollars per gigabyte up through 32GB, you can get a professional-photographer-class 128GB CF card for about $600, and 256GB CF cards should be available — not cheaply — by summer 2012.)

My cell phone was the next major offender. I finally decided that, like my glasses, I needed a standard place to put it when I wasn’t carrying it, and, a few years later, dedicated a small box to “stuff that goes in my pockets.”

This strategy has, for the most part, helped me keep track of my cell phone.

But it’s not always good my Bluetooth headsets – they’re a little too small for that pile, so I’ve started a separate, smaller box more or less just for them.

Nor has it helped for my pocket digital cameras, which I don’t use as often. Even worse are their associated AC adapters/battery chargers and cables. Some of these have spent up to a year in hiding. Again, creating a dedicated box is helping — when I remember to use it.

Then there’s the pile of flash drives, SD cards, and other storage media. Again, a dedicated box helps — to some extent.

The worst offender, and biggest nuisance, is cables-and-chargers. Regular USB cables, no problem, I’ve got lots of those. But there’s at least three smaller-size USB cable plugs used for headsets, cameras, and other devices. I know I have lots of each…but where?

Notebook accessories, too, continue to plague me. I don’t have a lot of this, but I don’t some of the accessories that often. My external CD/DVD drive, for example, which recently went on a three-month vacation near my desk. Dedicating a notebook carry-bag to the machine helps keep some of this together.
Part of the challenge is whether I’m solving by category or activity. I’ve got a few small bags I take on trips, with USB adapters, chargers and the like. (I know, a medium-size box marked “Tech Travel Stuff” would be a big help here.)

Another part of the challenge is that, like travel bags for clothes and toiletries, my tech travel needs keep shifting and evolving. Two years ago, I was still using my Nokia “dumbphone.” The only accessories were a wall charger and a car charger. Now, with an iPhone and iPad, I’ve got a handful of accessories to take with me. But as the tech I use changes, so do the associated piles of cables, chargers, accessories, and whatnot.

I also have additional challenges that most people don’t: as a technology journalist who does some reviewing, I’m surrounded by a sometimes-depressing sludge of trial devices and left-over cables, plus, from trade shows, all the free USB flash drives, cables, hubs and whatnot given away at the booths.

One answer, in theory, is to continue to clean and purge. But a surprising selection of that older stuff still comes in handy. And cleaning and organizing takes time. I enjoy it, but it takes time. Plus I have to remember what I did.

So, like many, for affordable things, I often end up buying another of whatever it is. Or I spend an hour or two excavating my desk or digging through my closet.

Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is to LABEL EACH AC POWER ADAPTER WHEN I GET IT. Not necessarily for the USB ones, but all others. Especially for notebooks.

OK, and to have a place for each thing or category, and to put stuff away in the same place each time. And to keep getting rid of stuff.

Because next thing you know, I’ll be misplacing terabytes.

 

 

How to create trust with your online presence

How can online relationships fuel and shape how we interact with our colleagues in the real world? You know, that environment that exists outside our desktops?

Our newspapers and websites are filled with stories about how the nature of friendship has become devalued as we go about connecting on MyLinkFaceSpace et al. But what few have covered is how the online world creates new kinds of communities, and builds trusted relationships that carry on in the real world of face-to-face interaction. This post is how small businesses can enhance their online reputations to build trust in their brands.

Oddly, where I started thinking about this was reading a book from a couple who I have worked with in the past. Now, this isn’t your typical business book with about 10 pages of content and the rest is mostly common sense. Instead, it is a very practical hands-on book on geocaching.

Geocaching? You mean that hobby where people hide stuff in public places and then use their GPS to try to find them? Let me explain. The book, which is called The Joy of Geocaching by Paul and Dana Gillin, talks about what you need to get started, and has some great stories of very involved cachers that the couple met over the course of doing their research. This is where the lessons about online relationships come into play.

There is one story of a woman who traveled to Toronto on a business trip with several colleagues. She left them at the airport, and was picked up by a stranger – with the only thing in common being that both were cachers. How many of us would climb into a car in another country with nothing more than exchanging a few emails? That involves a certain level of trust and comfort that just doesn’t happen in the real world.

Other examples are people that use the Meetup.com site to find people of similar circumstances. And of course there are the online dating sites, too. Crowdsourcing is another. I am sure you could think of other examples.

This use of online connections to prime the pump for a face-to-face meeting happens more and more frequently because we are doing more than just sending emails, or friend requests, or linking to others via online sites. We are sharing a common bond, a series of interests. We are building an authoritative source of content, context and identity. And along the way, we start shaping these micro-communities one person at a time.

Yes, there are people who pride themselves on having thousands of “friends” or who can connect with celebs and CEOs alike. But that isn’t what today’s Internets are all about.

Yes, it takes a village. But increasingly, our villages are formed online and with hyper-specific interests – not just because we share a common street block or elementary school classroom of our children. This is nothing new. The early bulletin board systems were great at this. But what is new is the potency of these relationships, and how quickly they can come to fruition.

Sure, I belong to lots of different communities, some based here in St. Louis, some that include people from all over the world. So take a moment to think about the online communities that you are a member, or should be a member. And see if you can start building some trust.

And if you want to learn about geocaching, go get a copy of the Gillins’ book. It is a good read, even if you never leave the comfort of your home.

 

 

Junk Your Company Intranet

Remember when Intranets were all the rage? I do, I wrote a paper on them way back in 1995 that was at their height of interest. The idea was to produce a corporate Web portal that was just for internal use, to enable staff to share documents, best practices, customer information and the like. Well, the time has come to retire your Intranet, and look at the new crop of enterprise social networking products that are designed for that purpose.

Originally, these products were called microblogs or Twitter-behind-the-firewall. The latter appellation was because they took the Twitter user interface and presented a small text window to type a brief message in, and then displayed the stream of status updates in a similar fashion.

But in the past several years these products have become more capable, and can be very useful as the next-gen Intranet. For example, you can share files with comments them, such as if a team is collaborating on a presentation slide deck for example. Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis has written an excellent analysis of why you should use these products here.

These tools might also be a better place to start than using a standard blogging tool such as WordPress or even Facebook for your internal communications. A recent study from UMass at Dartmouth shows that nearly 3/4s of the Inc. 500 (the fastest growing 500 American private companies) are using Facebook or LinkedIn, which is about twice the percentage that are using corporate blogs. “Ninety percent of responding executives report that social media tools are important for brand awareness and company reputation.  Eighty-eight percent see these tools as important for generating Web traffic while 81% find them important for lead generation.  Seventy-three percent say that social media tools are important for customer support programs.”

These tools (like the screenshot of Socialcast’s Town Hall feature above) mean more than a “Like” button on a particular page of content: it is a way to curate and disseminate that content quickly and easily. It has replaced the Usenet “news groups” that many of us remember with a certain fondness for their arcane and complex structure.

Let’s look at a few of the distinguishing features for this class of products.

  • Team workspace. You can segregate your work teams by project and have all the materials for that project in a single place for easy access. These spaces can be persistent to serve as an archival record for completed projects, too.
  • Activity stream. The Twitter-like stream is useful to keep track of what your colleagues are doing in any given day.
  • Presence detection. Like corporate Instant Message tools, you can keep track of when your co-workers are in the office or ask them quick questions via text or video chats.
  • Document collaboration. You can edit documents in real-time to shape a particular deliverable for a client without having to do serial emails.
  • External services connections. Many of these products can search and interact with CRM systems, SharePoint servers, Salesforce (see the screenshot below from Yammer), emails, and other external services.
  • Mobile clients. Most products have specialized clients that have been optimized for iOS and Android phones.
  • Public or private deployments. You can start with a public cloud deployment of the product to try out, and then move your system to your own server behind a firewall for the ultimate security.
Obviously, there is a lot to these products that this kind of brief treatment doesn’t really do justice. But if you are looking to upgrade your existing Intranet and don’t want to spend a lot of time or money, take a closer look at what these enterprise products can offer.

 

 

Cloud Roundup and Links – April 16

Is Cloud Computing a Green Giant?

Many companies have already found that cloud computing can cut their IT costs. A new report found that cloud computing has another benefit to bottom lines: reducing energy costs.

As reported on Greenbiz.com, CDW’s fourth annual Energy Efficient IT Report calls cloud computing a possible “game changer” that’s playing a growing role in energy efficiency.

For the report, CDW surveyed 760 people working in private businesses, nonprofits, schools and governments. Of these respondents, 62 percent agreed that cloud computing is an energy-efficient way to consolidate data centers.

Workers’ Tunes Sucking Up Bandwidth at Work

When Procter & Gamble shut down some access to the Internet, it wasn’t to keep employees from playing around on Facebook or crafting personal emails on company time.

Instead, it was to get them to quit sucking up the company’s Web bandwidth by listening to music and watching movies.

The company told its 129,000 employees they can no longer use music-streaming site Pandora or movie site Netflix at work.

“We are one of the more lenient companies in terms of providing access to the Internet, but there are some sites which don’t serve a specific business purpose — in this case, Netflix and Pandora,” spokesman Paul Fox said in an email, according to CNN.com. “They are both great sites, but if you want to download movies or music, do it on your own time.”

There’s a Tax for That

Responding to Vermont’s business sector uproar against a tax on cloud computing, the state legislature’s Ways and Means Committee approved a bill that would take the extraordinary step of refunding $1.9 million in sales tax revenue.

According to the bill, cloud computing is defined as the use of “pre-written software run in underlying infrastructure that is not managed or controlled by the consumer or a related company.”

Vermont already taxes the sale of pre-written software when its purchased at a store or downloaded from the Internet. And the tax department contends that cloud computing is also taxable.

 

 

3 Reasons the Cloud is a Killer Job Creator

Cloud Creates JobsCloud computing may be the next big job generator, according to several new studies and an analysis of job postings.

“Job creator” is a tag fitting for the technology. As more functions and processes move offsite, and more businesses look to tap into the savings brought on by cloud computing, there is a clear need to have qualified workers ushering along the process.

So here are three indicators on why the cloud, among other benefits, means jobs.

Greater Job Potential Than the Early Internet 

A new study titled “Job Growth in the Forecast: How Cloud Computing is Generating New Business Opportunities and Fueling Job Growth in the United States” showed several ways cloud computing can create new jobs. The study was sponsored by SAP and revealed cloud computing has the potential to create big business opportunities and hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S.
Additionally, venture capital investments in cloud opportunities are projected to be $30 billion in the next five years, which has the potential to add another 213,000 new jobs in the U.S.

“The study confirms that cloud computing can have a significant impact at every key growth stage of the business lifecycle – from launching a startup to expanding a business to managing a multi-national enterprise,” said Jacqueline Vanacek, vice president and cloud computing evangelist at SAP. “Business growth leads to jobs, and cloud computing will accelerate this in certain industries.”

The study goes on to say cloud computing has greater potential for employment growth than the Internet did in its early years.

More Work Than Qualified Workers

The number of job postings in the cloud computing has grown so rapidly that there aren’t enough qualified workers available to fill the posts, according to an analysis of hiring trends by Wanted Analytics.

There were about 5,000 jobs posted online related to cloud technology, a 92% increase from the same month last year and a more than four times increase compared to 2010,according to Wanted Analytics.

“With the demand for cloud skills growing so quickly, the gap between hiring demand and talent supply across the United States is getting larger and causing more difficulties in sourcing candidates,” the report said.

Most of the cloud jobs are generated from service providers, with VMware posting the most cloud jobs last month with 360, according to Wanted Analytics. Microsoft came in second, with 230, and Amazon.com, URS Corp. and Google rounded out the top five.

San Jose, Calif., is the top metropolitan market for cloud employment. More than 900 cloud postings last month were in San Jose, up 144% compared to the same month last year. Seattle, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City are other booming job markets for cloud computing.

Worldwide Cloud Jobs Predicted to Hit 14 Million by 2015

IDC predicts cloud computing jobs will reach 14 million by 2015, according to a study sponsored by Microsoft.

“The cloud is going to have a huge impact on job creation,” said Susan Hauser, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. “It’s a transformative technology that will drive down costs, spur innovation and open up new jobs and skillsets across the globe.”

The cloud helps companies to be more innovative by freeing up IT managers to work on more mission-critical projects, the study shows.

More than one-third of cloud jobs will be in the communications and media, banking and discrete manufacturing industries.

China and India will account for half of new cloud-related jobs, according to the study.

 

 

Cloud Computing Link Round Up – April 2

OMGPOP, the gaming startup, whose Draw Something iPhone app used cloud computing and a NoSQL database to scale from zero (relatively speaking) to more than 35 million downloads in three weeks, never missed a beat.

Gigaom’s Derrick Harris discusses the impressive feat in Gigaom’s Structure blog.

“I had a brief call with Couchbase CEO Bob Wiederhold, whose company worked with OMGPOP to scale its implementation of the Couchbase database as demand started growing,” writes Harris.

Although the companies aren’t ready to give exact details yet, here’s what Wiederhold revealed:

  • OMGPOP is hosted in the cloud, but “they’re not on Amazon.”
  • Draw Something has been downloaded more than 35 million times. Players have created more than 1 billion pictures and are creating around 3,000 pictures per second.
  • To handle the incredible traffic spike, OMGPOP had to reconfigure its Couchbase cluster, scale it into the many tens of nodes, and many terabytes of data and increased throughout into the tens of thousands of operations per second.
  • Throughout all this, Draw Something didn’t experience any downtime.

This type of load really stresses a system, Wiederhold said, and if it wasn’t for its decision to use cloud computing and NoSQL technologies, “their game would have fallen over.”

Scalability is one of the primary calling cards for both cloud computing and NoSQL providers. Way to go, cloud.

Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay

Todd Nielsen, of Wired’s Cloudline blog, serves up some strong reasons on why cloud computing is here to stay.

Nielsen writes, “In psychoanalysis, ‘being in denial’ is a defense mechanism used by a person faced with an unpleasant situation too uncomfortable to accept or too ghastly to contemplate. The person rejects reality and insists it is not true, despite overwhelming evidence. I am constantly confronted with people in denial about the cloud.”

So Nielsen offers some cloud statistics:

  • 70 percent of businesses are either using or investigating cloud computing solutions.
  • Worldwide IT spending on cloud computing has increased more than 25 percent from 2008 to 2012.
  • Cloud providers have increased personnel from nil in 2007 to over 550,000 in 2010.

Hard to argue against these figures.

IT Needs to Take Control of the Cloud Before Storm Ensues

IT departments need to step up now and change its approach to cloud services, according to a study, “Delivering on High Cloud Expectations,” commissioned by BMC Software and conducted by Forrester Research.

This includes building trust with the lines of business, beginning to manage public cloud services, and pursuing increased automation for service provisioning and operations, according to ZDNet.

“Cloud and software as a service (SaaS) are in enterprises in a big way,” says Brian Singer, lead solutions marketing manager for BMC. “And we wanted to see how IT was dealing with them.”

For the study, researchers polled 327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects. Among the key findings:

Today, 58 percent run mission critical workloads in unmanaged public clouds, regardless of policy. The researchers use “unmanaged” to describe clouds that are managed by the cloud operators, but not by the company buying the service.

In the next two years, 79 percent plan to run mission-critical workloads on unmanaged cloud services.

Nearly three out of four responders, 71 percent, thought that IT should be responsible for public cloud services.

Seventy two percent of CIOs believe that the business sees cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.

Cloud Computing Attempts to Police Its Own

Wanting to provide a measure of security, cloud services organizations and companies whose daily bread is earned through trusted relationships with their clients have decided to band together and create a set of guidelines for the rest, according to Technorati.

The New Zealand Computer Society has put together a basic code of conduct for companies providing Web-based computing services, calling it CloudCode.

According to Joy Cottle, CloudCode facilitator, “The CloudCode is proactive, not prescriptive, based on what the industry is asking for both from a consumer and supplier perspective and more importantly a code of practice that is easily adopted by the providers and easily understood by the consumer.”

“A lack of understanding of the accepted definitions of cloud computing and what it entails results in a situation where services are being offered that don’t meet what are generally considered acceptable standards of practice,” said the Society.

 

 

Mozy Celebrates World Backup Day 2012

Celebrate World Backup Day with Mozy

Mozy is excited to celebrate World Backup Day 2012. As you know, we’re passionate about backup, and we want to help people protect their important memories and business files. Mozy online backup is easy, secure, and affordable. This celebration is a good time to review your current backup situation to make sure everything is in order. Mozy makes this easy to do. Check out the following links for more information.

Why Mozy?

Mozy is the leader in data protection and access

For years we’ve serviced more than 3 million users and 70,000 businesses. With regular updates and improvements under our belt, we know how to protect your data in the best possible way.

70+ petabytes

When we say we have experience in data, we mean it! One petabyte = 1,024 terabytes. So Mozy manages over 71,680 terabytes. That’s a lot of data! With that comes experience and expertise. It’s no small task, but Mozy has perfected the art.

Not backing up yet? Check out our recent blog post series, “What to look for in a backup vendor?

Are you backing up, but not using an online backup provider? It’s never to late to get started. Check out our blog post, “The Top 5 Signs it’s Time to Move to the Cloud” for a fun look at how it’s easy to move to the cloud.

Contests:

It wouldn’t be a celebration without a few contests! To commemorate World Backup Day 2012, Mozy is giving away 3 Zaggsparq device chargers – the best way to power and charge your devices. So, how can you get your hands on one of these goodies? There are two ways to enter:

Retweet on Twitter:

Click here to RT the following tweet and enter to win. (We’ll only count 1 of your tweets per day)

“I’m entering the @Mozy contest to win awesome prizes. You should RT to enter too! Back up with Mozy: http://ow.ly/9XxL8 #worldbackupday”

FB quiz:

Click here to take our Facebook World Backup Day quiz. Ace the quiz and you’ll be entered in the drawing for the prizes. You can only complete the quiz once, so make sure to study first!

How to Select a Cloud Backup and Recovery Vendor – Part 2

(This article is the second in a three-part series exploring how to evaluate and select a cloud backup and recover service. The previous article explored how to evaluate your data needs and the future article will cover the different backup methods. Read Part 1 here, and Part 3 here.)

Selecting a Cloud Backup VendorIn terms of backup requirements, not all of your data is the same.

One way of looking at your data is by importance: What data can’t you live without? What would be unable to reconstruct or rebuild? For example, you can re-rip new copies of your audio CDs or re-scan your old photographs, if you still have them, but you won’t be able to rewrite your project report or your novel manuscript from memory; you won’t be able to re-take pictures of your dog from five years ago.

Another question: what data do you need back as soon as possible, and how soon is “as soon as possible”? This is what backup experts typically refer to as “Recovery Point Objective” (RPO) and “Recovery Time Objective” (RTO).

For example, I’m a freelance writer; the files for my active projects, plus some key calendar, to-do list and other files, typically total to maybe a quarter of a gigabyte. My “archives” — files for projects I’m dealing with — and other less-critical files represent maybe a gigabyte or so.

Not prepared to lose

But I’ve also got 50+ gigabytes of photos, 25+ gigabytes of video, some audio, dozens of scanned images, and gigabytes of assorted sundry stuff.

And when I get to digitizing my older photos and negatives, record albums, and CDs, I’m sure I’ll have a terabyte or so of additional multimedia files.

None of which I am prepared to lose — so it all must be backed up.

For you, essential data you need available may include three large databases, many spreadsheets, several presentations, the past three months’ worth of email, and client billing and payment data for the past six months. If you’re a professional photographer or designer, you may need a ready archive of tens, even hundreds of gigabytes of photos and images.

And you may have lots of personal multimedia — photos, video, scans, etc. — that you don’t want to lose.

RPOs and RTOs

So I’ve really got several sets of RPO/RTOs and yours might look similar to mine:

  • For the RPO consisting of “Projects that I am actively working on, plus roughly half a dozen files of to-do, calendaring, etc.” my RTO would be “two to three hours at most.” Ideally, for the half-dozen or so files relating to projects I’m working on immediately, I’d prefer an RTO of “one hour or less.”
  • For the RPO that also includes other current projects, along with marketing and pitching, I could probably live with an RTO of 1-2 days.
  • For all my other files, I’m sure I could wait a week, even weeks to months — as long as I knew for sure that I’d get them all back.

All this, of course, is just for data. I’d also want a working computer with my core productivity applications on it. (Having recently bought a new, small notebook computer, I’ve got that covered — although there’s more I could be doing in that area… but that’s straying from “data backup.”)

Create and change

The next question: How often do I create or change files — and how much do I care about saving these changes.

For example, my multimedia files are pretty “static” — once I’ve created, organized and named or tagged them, I don’t expect to edit or change them, as a rule.

But the files for whatever I’m working on are created or changed throughout the day. If I lose a file that I have been working on all day (and my most recent backup was at midnight) I’ve lost hours of effort.

So you not only have to know how much data you have, but also how much of it changes frequently, and which and how much data you need near-continuous access to versus what you can wait a few days or even weeks to regain access to.

Now you’re ready to look at cloud backup services, and see which of these match your requirements.

 

 

How to Select a Cloud Backup and Recovery Vendor

(This article is the first in a three-part series exploring how to evaluate and select a cloud backup and recovery service. Future articles will explore how different data types are treated by backup services and different backup methods. Read Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.)

How to select a cloud backup vendorFor anybody whose computer activities include creating “data,” frequent, reliable backups are as important as, perhaps even more than an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) or an anti-virus security suite.

This applies to everyone from those using their laptop purely for personal activities to Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) folks like me large enterprise organizations.

And like any purchase, whether you’re looking to buy a new car, big-screen television, smartphone service plan, a hamburger — or an account with a cloud-based backup service — it’s important to do some research and think before you choose.

With a car, for example, you need to know what you want it for — commuting 50 miles each way every day to work? Being a “tornado chaser” in bad weather on bad roads? Transporting half a dozen teen soccer players? A two-seater electric vehicle is good for the first, but not the other two. You get the idea.

For backing up your computer data to a cloud service, the same holds true. Different backup services work differently. In order to select one that one, you need to both know what your backup requirements are, and how backup services work.

Making copies

Backups, of course, mean, “a separate copy of data on your computer, in case something happens to your computer.”

“Data” can include not only Microsoft Office-type documents (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, email) which business and personal life increasingly rely on, but also address books and contact information, photos and videos you’ve taken with your digital camera, scans you’ve made of important documents. And it can include copies of data from your smartphone(s), tablet(s) and other mobile devices. Plus music, videos, ebooks and other multimedia you may have purchased and downloaded.

“On your computer” may include not only data on its hard drives (including solid-state drives) but possibly also on external hard drives, and removable media. And data uploaded from your smartphone, etc.

Safekeeping

Having a backup means that if you accidentally delete a file, or if your computer is damaged, lost or stolen, you still have to replace the hardware, but at least you can recreate your files, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, contact information, photos, scanned documents… all the information that your personal and/or business life relies on.

“Local” backups, typically done to an external hard drive or even to a USB flash drive, are affordable and increasingly easy to do. But they can require daily attention — remembering where they are, to plug them in, turn on the application. And because they’re local, which typically means right next to each other in the same room, the odds are good that the same incident — electrical surge, theft, fire, flood, tornado, meteor strike — may also wipe away your backup, leaving you with no copies of your data.

Plus, “local” backups can be harder to do if you’ve got a notebook and are travelling away from your home or office.

To the cloud

Online backup, saving copies of your files to a service in the cloud, avoids the problems of local backups. Backing up to the cloud does, of course, require your computer to be connected to the Internet, but the odds of this are high. (For example, otherwise you couldn’t read this article.)

Cloud backup services — like local backup products — come in a range of approaches, with a corresponding range of prices, features and options. Selecting one isn’t “which one is best?” (Although some will be better than others.) Of course you want one that’s good. But it’s also a matter of determining which one best matches what you need in a backup.

So you shouldn’t pick a cloud backup service without first identifying what you want to back up, and how different cloud services do backups — so you can pick a cloud backup service that matches your goals.

 

 

Mozy app 1.2 for iOS

The Mozy iOS app now supports data decryption for customers using personal key encryption. Android update due within weeks.

Since its initial release in March this year, the Mozy app for iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices) has quickly become a favorite feature for Mozy customers. With the app you can access any file you have backed up to Mozy right from your mobile device. Complete with photo previews, document viewing, and the ability to open files in other applications or send them via email, the app makes Mozy more than just a way to protect against data loss. Along with similar access through any browser, the app provides a way to access all your personal and professional files from anywhere.

Here’s a quick retrospective of the progress of our iOS app so far:

  • Mozy app 1.0 debuts for iPhone & iPod touch (March 2011)
  • 1.01 introduces full-screen support for iPad as a universal binary (April 2011)
  • 1.1 extends support to MozyPro end users (June 2011)

Today, we released version 1.2, now available at no charge from the App Store. Aside from several performance enhancements and bug fixes, this version delivers a feature that many (often quite vocal) customers have been awaiting: personal key data decryption.

About Personal Key Data Decryption

To protect customer privacy, Mozy online backup always encrypts the data for each file before sending it to Mozy. About 95% of our customers opt for Mozy’s default encryption. The remaining 5% opt to employ a personal key for encrypting their backups. When you encrypt with a personal key, it ensures that the only person who can readily decrypt your files is you. Of course, this also means that Mozy has no way to decrypt your data if you forget your personal key.

Data Decryption Comes to the iOS App

Until today, customers who opted to use personal key encryption could not access the content of their files through the app. The app was incapable of decrypting downloaded files.

With this latest release, you can set the personal key used for backup on each of your computers (even if each uses a different key). The mobile app can then download any file, use the key to decrypt its content, and then allow you to use the file as you need. You can view it, email it, or even open it in another app.

Mobile & the Trade-offs of Using a Personal Key

There are certain services that Mozy performs online to support the Mozy app. For example, the file names used by digital cameras make it hard to know what’s in a photo, so the Mozy app displays photo thumbnails.

When you view a folder containing photos, an online service generates a thumbnail for each photo, allowing the app to download a small image instead of whole photos, saving time and bandwidth.

However, if your photos are encrypted with a personal key, then Mozy can only provide a generic thumbnail indicating that Mozy cannot read the photo.

But you can still download the whole photo and–once downloaded and decrypted by the mobile app–you can view it on your device.

Your Turn: Go Rate the Update

We know many Mozy customers have been waiting for this update. If you’re one of them, please rate the Mozy app in the App Store.

A Note to Android Users

We know you want personal key support, too. We’re working on it right now and aim to release the 1.2 update for Android before the end of October.

Enjoy the app, and be safe,

– Ted