Tag Archives: online back up

4G – changing mobile devices forever

Yesterday, OFCOM revealed the results of the UK 4G auction. Putting the 2.3bn price tag and the impact on public borrowing aside, what does it mean for you and the way that you use your devices?

 

Speed

4G is driven by the need for speed.  Upload and download speeds can potentially be ten times faster on 4G than they are on 3G.  Of course, in reality, the speeds you receive may be lower than the 1Gbps that is nominally possible.  Just as with high-speed broadband at home, the number of other users sharing the bandwidth available will impact the speeds you can achieve.  However, as that’s the case with 3G too, you should expect to see some real benefits from an upgrade.

 

Volume

There’s still no unlimited data plan from EE in the UK but, with spectrum now in the hands of the other operators and services slated for launch before the summer, competition might lead to the introduction of uncapped plans.  T-Mobile has recently launched an all-you-can-eat data plan in the USA to much fanfare and Three has a history of challenging the rest of the market with its unlimited plans – so we could be in store for uncapped data plans in the UK sooner rather than later.

 

Change

But what does more data more quickly really mean for us folk?  Is it all about video calls and online shopping?

 

Well, obviously, video calling would be a better experience on 4G than we have it today and retailers will be able to show you more of the products that you’re browsing.  But the changes caused by 4G are much wider and it could have a more profound impact on the way we interact with our devices and what we expect from them.

 

What we expect from a device

Not so very long ago, devices were function-specific – and we had lots of them.  Cameras were for taking pictures, phones were for making calls, MP3 players were for listening to music, games consoles were for playing games and so on.  (Remember turning yourself into a pickpocket’s paradise when you went for a day out at the beach?)  Fast forward to today, and our expectations are very different; we demand the ability to do all of those things on practically all of our devices.

 

Today, we split our devices by what could be loosely described as ‘use cases’.  Our office laptops are for work so that’s where we write the majority of our emails and look at spreadsheets, our home desktop computers are for family use where we all store big files such as photos and projects.  And our smartphones are for personal use.

 

Together, these behaviours cause two outcomes.  Firstly, our devices require huge amounts of storage – a typical smartphone may have to carry not only three-dozen albums worth of pictures but an entire music collection, a week’s worth of emails, a library of books, films and games and all the software programmes required to use them.  Secondly, it creates silos of information that you own but you can’t get to.  For example, you have pictures on your phone, pictures on your laptop, pictures on a hard drive, pictures on an SD card – but they’re not the same pictures.  And, just because you have a picture app on the device you’re using, it doesn’t mean that you can see the pictures of yours that you want to.  Similarly, you have a device in your hand that could let you update the document that your boss wants urgently in the evening – but the document itself is only available on your computer in your office.

 

4G and the device

The speed and availability offered by 4G means that downloading or streaming information to your mobile device from your own ‘locker service’ on the internet nearly as quickly as you can get it from a drive on the device itself is one step closer to becoming a reality.  And doing that at a reasonable cost to boot!

 

If that were the case, we’d see a fundamental shift in what we expect from our devices.  Storing data on the device itself would become much less important.  Who would need to spend £639 on a 128GB iPad when you could use a 16GB Apple tablet and simply download or stream the rest of your data to the device as and when you needed it?

 

We’d also see a decline in tying our devices to use cases.  If you combine the lack of need for storage with the growing trend for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in the work place, it becomes increasingly conceivable that, in the future, we have one smartphone-sized device used on the move that we can also dock at work to use as a computer or at home to use as a tablet.  Wherever we were and whatever we were trying to do, we’d simply download or stream the appropriate files that we needed from the internet.

 

A single device is further off but, with 4G, we’d be a lot closer to a world where we have one laptop, one tablet and one smartphone that we use to connect wirelessly to different virtualised environments.  The same device could let you log into a virtual work desktop during the day and a personal desktop in the evening.

 

Virtualised desktops are already making strides in office environments, thanks to technology from companies like VMware – and personal cloud services are making the concept of doing the same thing at home more of a reality.

 

Tomorrow’s technology today

It’s going to take time for the impact of 4G to be fully realised, so how can we see some of the benefits sooner?

 

To start with, let’s be pragmatic.  When services launch later this year, they’re not going to be ubiquitous.  Large parts of the UK don’t even get a decent mobile signal for voice calling so it would be crazy to expect to be able to download your files everywhere.

 

But we can start to think differently about what data we want to physically carry with us, and what we only need access to.  Many services that are available today to help you share files between your devices are designed for a pre-4G world where data is copied to every device and stored many times over.

 

This incurs a substantial up-front cost.  For example, if you’re buying into iCloud, there’s not only the cost of the service but all the additional storage you need on your devices to cope with everything being copied everywhere. A £240 saving from a low-storage iPad to a high-storage iPad buys a lot of mobile connectivity so that you can stream the data that you haven’t synced as and when you need it.

 

If you’re in the market for a new tablet or a new cloud service at the moment, a little thought now about what sort of service you want, combined with which devices could save you a great deal of money, both now and in the future.

 

A little bit of sync a little bit of access

Perhaps a better plan is to get a clearer understanding of what you know you want to use on your device and what you might want to use.  Marking key folders, documents and playlists for syncronisation to all your devices – or dropping them into a ‘magic sync folder’ – will ensure that you always have the latest thing you’re working on or the songs you love wherever you are on whatever device, even if you haven’t got a single bar of signal.

 

Automatically copying the rest of your files to the cloud means that you can get at everything else if you find that you need it.  This dual approach of having some data ‘on device’ and some data ‘on demand’ is a smart way of getting the best of both worlds – especially in the early days of 4G.

 


4G – The game changer

There’s still some skepticism about the impact of 4G.  WAP was going to change the world, then 3G, now 4G…  But it’s easy to forget just how far we’ve come from the days when the only thing you could do on your phone was play Snake.  Mobile data and ADSL together have transformed where and how we work and had a major impact on how we shop, entertain ourselves, meet our spouses, choose where we live, and decide what to eat and what to wear.  4G is closest we’ve come to bringing the benefits of these two technologies together and we shouldn’t underestimate the potential of where that could take us.

Beware 18:00 on Saturdays in December!

lost and foundIf you’re out and about this month, keep an eye on your stuff as December is the time when more items go missing than any other.  And, more precisely, grab hold of your stuff and don’t let go at 18:00 on Saturdays as that’s the time when you’re most vulnerable to loss.

 

According to our new research, Brits will lose £2 billion worth of items this year, with 30 per cent of us having let two or more belongings slip through our fingers in the past 12 months.

 

It’s most important to keep an eye on your electronics as 70 per cent of us have lost data device such as a smartphone or laptop.  In fact, smartphones are the most commonly-lost items of all.

 

Of course, it’s not just the device itself that you may never see again.  Photos, documents and all manner of other irreplaceable information can disappear with it.  And the majority of people taking part in our survey told us that it was losing their data that upset them far more than losing the device itself.

 

So, if you’re heading out this Saturday, make sure you’re prepared!  Make sure that the stuff on any devices you’re taking with you don’t contain the only copies of your pictures and other data.  Sync your phone and backup your laptop – it’s simple to do and free with Mozy if you visit www.mozy.co.uk/home/free.

 

To find out more about the lost and found items from our research here and around the world, head to www.mozy.co.uk/reports/lost-and-found.

 

 

Shop Safe on Cyber Monday

This Monday is set to be the busiest day of the year for online shopping as Brits spend their November pay cheques on Christmas presents for friends and family.  But, if you’re planning a shopping spree to stuff your stockings, make sure you practice safe shopping!

 

Last year, the Metropolitan Police shut down 2,000 fraudulent websites in an operation to protect people from Cyber Monday scams, which can include counterfeit goods, the spread of computer viruses and simple theft.

 

At the same time, worldwide, $1,25bn was spent online in a single day, meaning that the stakes are high with millions of us handing over personal details and uploading and downloading content.

 

With personalised gifts becoming more and more popular, many of us will be uploading photos and downloading templates to fill in with our information, often using sites that we’ve never encountered before.  But festive good cheer can quickly turn into misery if you find your credit card cloned, your fake gifts falling apart or a virus wiping all the information from your computer.

 

So, if you’re looking for bargain this Cyber Monday, help to protect yourself by following these simple tips:

 

  • Make sure that you know whom you’re dealing with – use trusted sites or research any new sites and vendors thoroughly
  • Don’t click the links in unsolicited emails offering great Christmas deals
  • Be suspicious if something is significantly cheaper than on other sites – if a deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t
  • Check that the payment pages are secure – look for:
    • A padlock symbol in the browser window frame
    • A URL that starts https://
    • A green address bar
    • Paying by credit card can offer more protection than paying with a bank card if the site is fraudulent
  • Make sure you have effective anti-virus software running and that it’s up to date
  • Back up your computer before you go online to make sure your data is protected

 

 

Working from home, not shirking from home

Working From Home - File Acces

Today is National Work From Home Day, which, hopefully, means that you’re reading this from the comfort of your kitchen table or desk at home, rather than from your office.

But, aside from the opportunity to swap your drudge of a commute for an extra hour in bed and your suit for tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt of dubious cleanliness, what else do you give up when working from home?

Times have certainly changed from the days where you basically gave up being able to accomplish much at all.  Remember dial-up connections to an office VPN?  Remember printing out everything you might need for the next day ‘just in case’? Remember telling people in the office which of the company mobile phones you were taking home with you?

The chances are, that you’re saying ‘no’.  Well, unless you’re a certain age and have gone through the therapy to stop you repressing how awful it all was.  Most of us have pushed the bad-old-days of working from home out of our minds because, today, it’s never been easier to replicate the office working experience from home (sans the annoying colleague who likes to eat mackerel at their desk).

Broadband, cloud services, conferencing solutions, mobile communications – and, most importantly, attitudes – have changed the home-working experience beyond recognition.  For many white-collar workers, it’s now an accepted norm to work from home when occasion suits.  And, critically, that comes without the accusations that you might be shirking responsibilities immediately that you’re out from under the eager eye of the boss.

But have we reached the glorious Utopia of home working yet?  Maybe we’re still only part of the way there.  After all, we’re still tied to some of our working tools; albeit that they have become a lot more portable.

Most people working from home today will have carried a company laptop home with them in order to access their files.  They’ll have set the phone on their desk to forward to their mobile and they’ll probably still have an incident during the day where they have to find a file on a USB stick or ask a colleague to email them something they need to complete a task.

Haven’t we just swapped printing out documents and saving them to floppy disks for copying them to thumb drives and emailing them to ourselves?  Haven’t we swapped carrying home reams of paper for carrying equally cumbersome computing devices?  I’m not sure our briefcases were any lighter last night than they were the evening before we worked from home ten years ago.

Working from home in the future should be simpler still.  Already, services from companies like Mozy allow people to access all of their files (whether they’ve remembered to drop them in a special folder for that purpose or not) from any web-connected computer – or from phones and tablets.  Which is one step closer to really being able to work from anywhere.

(It’s also one step closer to sanity when you’re not checking for the umpteenth time that the document you were working on yesterday really isn’t where you thought you’d saved it on that memory stick – but I digress).

With virtualisation technology from companies like VMware, you’re also able to access your processes and systems, exactly as if you were sitting at your work computer, but from a device that you haven’t had to lug back on the 7:13 from Paddington.

As these technologies become more broadly adopted, centrally by IT departments, it heralds a bright future for those who prefer not to venture beyond their own front doors in order to get their jobs done.

And, who knows, perhaps by 2022, we’ll need a National Work From The Office Day.

Security in the Cloud

Infosec

If you don’t think that the cloud is secure, think again.  Cloud providers, like Mozy, are implementing some of the most robust security features on the market so that consumers, SMBs and enterprises can see their benefits – without the cost or hassle of trying to build them themselves.

If you’re not sure if the cloud is secure enough to protect the data on your laptops, let’s see how the Mozy cloud stacks up against the protection applied to the laptops themselves.

A report last year from the Ponemon Institute surveyed 275 European organisations and discovered that, between them, they had lost more than 72,000 laptops in the previous 12 months.

42% were lost offsite and 32% were lost in transit.  Only 34% had encrypted any data and only 7% had any anti-theft features installed.

Let’s compare that with Mozy.

Encrypting data to ensure privacy

All data backed up with Mozy is encrypted to military standards using AES or Blowfish encryption before it leaves the computer.  For added security, users are able to choose their own personal encryption key.

Protecting data in transit

Mozy employs the same SSL-encrypted transport technology deployed in online banking to protect data on its journey to the cloud.

Protecting against data loss offsite

Data stored offsite with Mozy goes to Mozy’s ISO27001-certified, SAS16-audited local data centres.  Data blocks are split using Distributed Reed Solomon technology and spread across the server array to create redundancy.  The information remains encrypted behind the highest levels of digital and physical security.

The security measures applied by Mozy regularly far outstrip the level of protection that most people and organisations feel they need in the physical world.

You can find out more about Mozy and how you can ensure the security of your data by visiting us on Stand H65 at InfoSec at Earls Court, London, from the 24th to the 26th of April 2012.  Alternatively, why not check out this article from the Sunday Telegraph.

Another one bytes the dust

The Encyclopaedia Britanica has announced that it’s printed its last volume as the company moves its business 100% online.  It’s one more example of the demise of the physical as more and more of our lives and possessions are digitised.  Once the last 4,000 copies of Britanica are sold, the encylcopaedia will exist only online, where it has found a new lease of life.

Encyclopaedia use was recently ranked 21st in Mozy’s list of the top 50 things that Brits no longer do thanks to modern technology.

In 1990, Encyclopaedia Britanica had its strongest year ever for book sales with over 120,000 sets sold.  However, just six years later, the impact of the internet had caused that number to shrink by two-thirds to just 40,000.  Just 12,500 of the 2010 version were printed.

With 120,000 articles containing over 40,000,000 words, the Encyclopaedia spanned 32 volumes and costs around £900.  By contrast, 120,000 text files could be backed up to Mozy for free with our free 2GB MozyHome accounts.

As more and more of our possessions, from photos and diary entries to books and music, become digital, instead of physical, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that we back up to protect ourselves against losing them.

It may seem a shame to wave goodbye to the printed encyclopaedia  but the information lives on in a more flexible way, which we can access anywhere and is much more searchable.  All we need to work out now is how girls at finishing schools can balance the internet on their heads to practice their deportment…

Get more Mozy goodness for free

If you have a MozyHome Free account, you’re already able to backup 2GB of data. That’s enough to backup a whole iPod Shuffle or 250,000 emails.  But, what if you’ve got more stuff you want to protect but don’t need a full MozyHome 50GB account?

Well, as a wily Mozy user, you can get your mitts on as much storage space as you could possibly need, simply by helping your friends and family to protect their data too.

Every time you recommend Mozy to a new user, you’ll both get 256MB of additional space added to your account absolutely free.  So, whilst there may be no such thing as a free lunch, you can gorge yourself on delicious free Mozy space simply by helping others to protect the stuff they love.

To make a referral, just login to your Mozy account, click ‘referrals’ in the left-hand navigation menu and you’ll find your unique referral code there for you to share.  You’ll also find a weblink that will automatically log your referral if your contacts click on it.

For more information on how Mozy referrals work, login to Mozy and click here.

The referral programme is a great way to make your MozyHome Free account grow with you.  If you want to back up 85 new text emails a day, all you have to do is make one referral a year and you’ll never hit your limit.

So, if you know a new mum, why not encourage her to backup her baby snaps?  Or, if your friend is into family history, maybe you can help them protect their research.

As Jerry Maguire almost said once: help us, help you, help someone and we’ll help you out in return.  That’s a lot of helping!

And, speaking of help, don’t forget that even MozyHome Free customers get access to our great support portal where you can read a whole host of articles that will teach you how to get the most out of Mozy.  You can even use the forums if you need more assistance.

So, just in case you missed it, MozyHome Free is totally free and, with just a little bit of effort, can keep growing with you.  So what’s stopping you?  Who are you going to tell about Mozy?

Mozy Online Backup Video finalist in Computer Weekly Awards

We really enjoyed making our Back Up; Don’t Smash Up video, so it’s great to find out how many people enjoyed watching it too!

Hundreds of thousands of people have watched, shared and ‘liked’ the film in which we asked people on the streets of London if they would be willing to smash their old laptops in exchange for a brand new Mac Book.  That makes us very happy.

We were also really happy to find out that the video was commended in the Best IT Video category at the Computer Weekly Social Media Awards last night.

Thanks to everyone who stopped in the street to take part in the video – especially our the two proud owners of new Macs whose backup was up to date and who were confident nothing would be lost when we took a mallet to their laptops.  And, of course, thanks to everyone who voted for us!

If you still haven’t seen the clip, here it is again.  Keep watching and remember: back up; don’t smash up!

Meet the family at VMworld Copenhagen!

Many of you know that, whilst Mozy is 100 per cent owned by EMC, the Mozy team is also part of the VMware family.  Like all families, we like nothing better than a get together – only in our case, we’re inviting 7,000 people (I don’t fancy doing the washing up after that family meal!).

From the 18th to the 20th of October, Mozy will be at VMworld in Copenhagen on stand #63.  And we’ll be showing off exactly what being part of the EMC and VMware family means.  So, drop by if you want to hear about:

  • Mozy Data Shuttle – which uses hard drives from EMC sister-company Iomega to turbo initial backups into the Cloud
  • Mozy Stash – which uses the technology Mozy developed for VMware’s Project Octopus to share data across multiple devices
  • The Mozy Apps – which give you access to your backed-up data from iOS and Android devices

The Mozy Apps are already available in Europe but a visit to the Mozy stand is a great way to get a heads up on Data Shuttle and Stash before they reach European soil.

For more information about Mozy at VMworld, follow @MozyEU or #VMworld on twitter.

Photo-Fabulous Phones

One of the great things about having a camera on your phone is that it’s always with you so, even though you couldn’t know in advance that your mate was going to fall flat on his face in the mud, you’ll still be able to make sure that the rest of the world can share in his humiliation through the awesome power of Facebook.

But, for the really important occasions, most of us still like to take a conventional camera.  Weddings, christenings and barmizvahs demand a better quality of picture that you can generally get with six-times optical zoom on a clam phone.

So, we end up with two tiers of photos: everyday photos on your phone and special photos on your camera.  Which is all well and good until you want to share your pictures.  When trying to show off your boyfriend to colleagues in the bar after work, that picture of him in the mourning suit at your sister’s wedding is on your laptop at home and you have to choose between a snap of his Dot Cotton impression and that time he managed to balance a pizza box on his face.

And September can be one of the most frustrating months as you realise that all of the holiday pictures you took in Cancun are at home and your only record of summer is the check-in queue photo that you posted to twitter in an attempt to shame the airline into an upgrade.  How are you going to trump Dave-in-Finance’s pictures from Kavos with that?

Enter the Mozy App for iPhone and Android.  Mozy lets you access all of the data that you backed up on your computer right from your smartphone.  So, once you’ve synced your camera with your laptop, your back up will give you access to all your photos on your phone, regardless of which device you used to take them.

So, should you want to prove that the fish you caught on your trip really was ‘this big’ or the girl you met in Marbs really was ‘this hot’, all you have to do is reach for your phone.  You can even use the app to post the picture to Facebook so the rest of the world can witness your glory.

Of course, if your friends download the Mozy app, it may mean that they have every picture they’ve ever taken of you to hand at all the least opportune moments.  We apologise in advance for any future incidents where anyone reveals that experimental haircut you thought made you look edgy when you were 15.