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5 Ways To Protect Yourself in the Digital Age

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In President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, he focused on cybercrime and encouraged Congress to create stronger policies in effort to protect people against cybercriminals. Data breaches and attacks targeting companies and services such as Target, eBay, Home Depot, Apple iCloud, Yahoo! Mail and several others have not only fostered fear and perpetuated paranoia among technology users but have also dramatically changed the security landscape making digital protection as important as physical protection is in the real world for your family, your home and car.

So what’s the best way to protect yourself in the digital age? It’s easier than you think.

  1. Change Passwords Frequently – We’re all creatures of habit from morning coffee to commute routines. As such, it’s crucial to create a routine of updating passwords on a regular basis. Use special characters, capital letters, make them at least 8-characters in length and something that is unique to you.
  2. Mind the popups – Yes, popup windows feel very 2004 but many sites still use them. When entering personal information, avoid popups when possible and instead visit the actual site making sure the URL is using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol for security.
  3. Monitor your phone – With mobile usage steadily on the rise, be mindful of apps you’re installing and the data you’re entering. Be especially careful for any geolocation apps that will broadcast your location. Most of these apps can be tweaked via settings, so just be sure you’re aware of information the app is collecting and storing. Lastly, make sure your phone is password protected.
  4. Back it up – Computers are our lifelines, but they’re still just tools. It’s a good idea to have an external storage device or a Personal Cloud in place as a backup plan in case of emergency or your information being compromised. Bonus points for storing it in a safe, secure location.
  5. Be smart – common sense isn’t always common and when we are in the sanctum of your home, it’s easy to let your guard down. Be mindful of websites you frequent the way you would when out in the real world traveling abroad or running local errands. Clear cookies and cache regularly. Read certificates you accept as well as license agreements when installing new software. It’s important to know what information you’re sharing and how often you’re sharing it.

Technology has provided some amazing benefits and conveniences, but it’s our job to be mindful that while most are using technology for the betterment of others, there are some willing to use it for personal gain at your expense. It’s your job to make it as difficult as possible – always protect yourself.

Your data is changing…

How much of your data is changing? This can be a difficult thing to estimate for any organization. Data Rate of Change is an important metric – without it, organizations would have no way of measuring how much bandwidth they will need to effectively protect and recover their production data.

For example, when referring to a 1TB database you may have a small rate of change, like 2% per day.  This may not seem like a lot, but it translates to about 20 GB of data – a large data increase that could require a dedicated 10 Mb link to move the data off-site daily.

Among Seagate small and medium business (SMB) clients, original data size varies greatly within and across user types.

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Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

When estimating your Daily Rate of Change it is important to consider the Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) determined by the needs of your lines-of-business. RPO periods define the number of times per day/week your data is replicated off-site.

If your organization’s primary database is 1 TB and your Daily Rate of Change is 2% per day, you will transfer approximately 20 GB of data in a single day. If the RPO for this database is set to 8 hours, replication will occur 3 times per day. You can assume that the average size of each transfer will be 2.5 GB. Thus, you should ensure that the current allotted bandwidth can support a 2.5 GB transfer within the 8 hour RPO.

AnnV_YourDataChanging2Daily Rate of Change Analysis

Among the population of Seagate SMB clients, we have seen the following patterns (see corresponding charts):

We can see that there is more variability in the amount of data being stored and replicated among Exchange users. The data also reveals that the average Exchange user, above the 75th percentile of Storage size, may require a dedicated link for data backups, depending on their RPO intervals.

Exchange jobs are significantly larger than those for SQL.  This is expected due to the nature of Exchange data being additions of new content every day, where SQL data can potentially be anything, but due to its strengths, tends to contain more updates than additions.  This helps show that if you will be protecting Exchange, it would likely benefit dis-proportionally more from increased bandwidth than would other types of servers.  Customers may want to consider a Satellite Appliance, augment bandwidth to these hosts, or potentially collocate the hosts at the Service Provider’s DC (Active/Primary Site).

Implications for Your Bandwidth

Daily Rate of Change is an important and telling indicator of your need for bandwidth. Checking your organization’s Daily Rate of Change in regular intervals can help ensure that you will always have enough bandwidth to move your data off-site in preparation for a disaster.

If your organization’s Data Rate of Change exceeds the amount of data that can be transferred on your existing bandwidth, within the required RPO – backup files will begin to queue and core data will not be managed off-site properly. In the event of a true disaster your data could be hours, days or weeks behind, thus missing the required RPO.

Personal Cloud vs Cloud Service – What’s Best for You?

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Consumer cloud storage is becoming pretty common these days. What used to be a few vendors with select offerings has become a competitive battlefield where companies are trying to outdo one another with the best service offerings.

The photo storage site, Trunx, is looking to fill up the cloud by offering unlimited cloud storage for all your photos. Looking to distinguish itself from competitors Dropbox, iCloud, Amazon Prime and Google Drive, Trunx is predicting that the cap other cloud storage providers have won’t be enough to satiate the selfie collection of today’s social shutterbug, so why not just go all in and offer unlimited storage?

Early adopters may look at this like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but there are still those likely to be skeptical. Not because of the $4.99 monthly offering, that’s a pretty sweet deal. They’ll be skeptical because some will still want a tangible, physical backup system to give them what we in the biz like to call “storageus serenits” – the warm, encompassing feeling of tranquility and calm that comes from having an external storage solution to protect your content.

We get it – having a personal cloud is easy, accessible and just plain cool. There’s a sense of security that comes with having a place for all your digital stuff whether it’s music, photos or anything else that you create. That’s why we have our own solution to give the best of both worlds – having access to your stuff from anywhere at any time on a physical drive that you can access whenever your fancy needs tickling.

An 8TB Seagate Personal Cloud will be more than enough to host your music, movies and photos that you can access from essentially any device AND stream to your big screen TV for a personalized theater experience. Pickup Seagate Personal Cloud today and cruise the currents of storage bliss.

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For Seagate’s Cloud Disaster Recovery it’s Been a Road to Recognition

“Patience is a virtue but time is a commodity” – Unknown

This anonymous statement says all one needs to know about the steady, unfailing but ultimately confident journey of Seagate’s Cloud Disaster Recovery, CDR service.

For six years, since 2008 Seagate CDR has been helping businesses recover critical business data. For many among the industry’s intelligentsia it has taken that entire period to begin identifying and recognizing Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) as a subject to explore and report upon.

In product terms six years can be about six lifetimes so being patient enough to not only develop and market CDR but to also make ongoing improvements to it without the typical industry validation pros and cons is certainly noteworthy. What Seagate and its customers knew from the earliest days was that CDR / DRaaS was a key building block that provided protection for a developing cloud data market.

So when we heard the news that our CDR service had been named a data center excellence award winner from TMC, a global, integrated media company, we were very pleased. The 2014 Data Center Excellence Awards recognize the most innovative and enterprising data center vendors who offer infrastructure or software, servers or cooling systems, cabling or management applications.

This first award for CDR in North America, follows citing as a leader in the 2013 report, The Forrester Wave™, Disaster-Recovery-As-A-Service Providers,  Q1 2014. It also comes after a separate, significant partnership announcement, made recently, between Seagate and Iron Mountain to offer a secure cloud server backup and DR solution.Janson Hoambrecker

Janson Hoambrecker, Seagate’s Director of Product Management explained, “We’re very excited to be recognized as a recipient of TMC’s Data Center Excellence Awards. This award joins other honors Seagate has received from industry analysts as wells as the loyalty of our growing partner and customer base; all these contribute to widespread recognition that disaster recovery has become a must-have for all businesses big and small.”

To learn more about Seagate’s Cloud Disaster Recovery service please visit the Cloud Resiliency Services page on our website. Click here to read our press release about the 2014 Data Center Excellence Award.

Child Safety Comes in Cool Colors and Makes You a hereO

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As a Seagate guy you’ll often hear me talk about how important it is to save what’s important to you whether it’s music, movies, photos or even spreadsheets. Protecting what’s yours is as crucial as creating it.

The same can be said for our families. We spend hundreds of dollars for protection and security devices to keep our family safe, but we can’t be with them 24/7 – especially our children. However, there’s a solution for that which seamlessly meshes wearable tech with child safety – hereO.

While there are solid child security devices currently on the market, hereO is unique because it’s a watch created specifically for children. Kids will love it because it’s a watch that will fit on their wrists with colors that are bright, vibrant and exude personality that perfectly complements them. Parents will love it because it lets them track their child (3 and up) anywhere/anytime.  It will even provide you with access to historical locations as a reassurance they haven’t been anywhere “unsafe.”

hereO has lots of features that’ll will help keep your child safe, including this partial list:

Live Track – If something happens and your child goes missing, parents can activate Live Track to help geolocate your child.

Tamper Alert – If any unauthorized person removes the hereO watch, an emergency alert with your child’s location will be sent to family members via the app and email.

Auto Suggest – After a period of your child wearing the hereO watch, the family app will recognize your child’s routine and auto suggest areas for parents to setup as “safe zones.”

Panic Alert – In case of an emergency, your child can use their hereO to send a panic alert that will immediately notify your family of their location.

The hereO family app for iOS (Android and Blackberry coming soon) smart devices and desktops will include the above features as well as provide real-time location information.

Tech Stats for the hereO watch include:

  • Battery – 17 to 60 hours
  • Tech – GSM | GPS | Wi-Fi
  • Screen – Electronic Paper Display (EPD)
  • Length –130-160mm
  • Weight – 45g
  • Charge – USB
  • Colors – Red/Yellow, Yellow/Turquoise, Blue/Red, Green/Purple

Children are our legacy, our greatest resource. We owe it to them to make sure the world they live in is a safe one. hereO is a great tool to help us look after and protect them. The hereO watch will be available April 2015 and is available for pre-order now for $179.

(Video) Seagate’s David Flesh Introduces CSS Group at CES

At the recently held Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Seagate’s David Flesh recorded an informative video discussing Seagate Cloud Systems and Solutions.

Seagate = Storing More than Half the Planet’s Cloud Data

Among the many insightful data points in this video one that stands out is that Seagate is responsible for providing 50+% of the storage for the largest cloud providers on the planet. So regardless of whether your data is residing on your mobile, tablet or PC and in spite of who you’re sharing that data with (friends, family or colleagues) there’s a good chance you’re benefiting from Seagate’s storage expertise.

In describing Seagate’s new initiatives, David described the company’s award winning Cloud Disaster Recovery (CDR) solution. CDR embodies the power of the cloud to help sustain businesses in the terrestrial world when, for example, natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy, occur.

Further to this is the company’s focus on High Performance Computing (HPC). For this market, Seagate plays a strategic role to the biggest national laboratories in providing the storage power they require for studying everything from genomics and weather to space travel and discovery.

Seagate is solving these and countless, other storage-related challenges in a way no other provider can provide. Click here to see the video or to contact Seagate please visit the contact us page on our website.

What Sets the Meccanoid G15 KS Robot Apart From All the Rest – You!

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Did you have an Erector Set as a child? Almost everyone did. After all, the company has been around since 1913. Erector has a rich history of creating innovative products that bring out the creativity in everyone. When the company was purchased by Meccano in 2000, it was the opportunity to take a 100-year-old legacy forward another 100 years and beyond.

Given the nature of Meccano products, it made perfect sense to be on hand at the Consumer Electronics Show showcasing their newest product – the Meccanoid G15 KS. There was a good amount of robots on display at the show this year. Some had robust features, others, like Ozobot, had an elegant simplicity to them. Yet one thing these robots had in common was their ability to introduce children to programming.

The Meccanoid G15 KS is a fully programmable robot that allows you to engage with him through a number of various activities including:

  • Respond to voice commands (over 100 pre-programmed and unlimited user-recorded)
  • Record sound
  • Tell jokes and “fun facts” or even initiate conversation
  • Motion Capture
  • And much more

Meccanoid G15 KS can connect via Bluetooth so you can program him using your smart device. For new programmers or younger enthusiasts, Erector is using a system called “LIM” – Learned Intelligent Movement. This means that you can teach Meccanoid movement and speech based on your actions. Think of it as a game of “Simon Says” with your own personal robot. But Meccanoid isn’t just for kids – because he’s open source, more advanced programmers can use any coding program currently on the market so you won’t be restricted to any particular software.

Let’s also not forget, this is a robot — and it’s an Erector construction set! That means you can build and rebuild Meccanoid G15 KS into a dinosaur or any other character with the only limit being your imagination. Meccanoid G15 KS is using the Meccano Maker System which also means you can use the Classic Meccano system to craft the ultimate creation. Just keep a look out for an Age of Ultron experience.

The Meccanoid G15 KS is a pretty impressive piece of tech. The ability to create, customize and program a moving, interactive robot is no small task. This is a great first step for a programmer of any skill level to “Build the future and shape the world.”

 

iFit Turns the Internet of Things into a Healthy Lifestyle

Female jumping across wooden barriers

Stepping into the fitness section of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was a pinch overwhelming. The amount of wearables geared towards health and fitness made for a magical blend of being at the gym and your local farmer’s market. While many companies focused on one or two specific devices, iFit had a different approach that created a more holistic view of fitness wearables that if managed probably, would seamlessly be integrated into your day – essentially they’re putting the Internet of Things at work for a better you!

So how’s it all connected?

First, iFit-ready technology – iFit is bringing the connected home to life from your bed to your kitchen to your office. Their bed will track and monitor your sleep patterns to make sure you’re getting enough rest. The iFit Mix (releasing fall 2015) is a connected appliance that will not only prep a pre-workout drink for you but also a post-workout drink to help you wind down. iFit technology isn’t just in their own products but available through other key equipment manufacturers including NordicTrack, Pro-Form, Epic and more.

Second, the wearables – devices like the iFit Active – gauge nutrition, sleep, calories and activity to keep you at the top of your game. The Altra Halo running shoes made their debut at the show as well. These cool kicks feature sensors that will monitor your running cadence and ground impact to help make you a more effective runner. While a misstep won’t send you an electric shock (fortunately/unfortunately), data will be sent to devices like the iFit Ridge GPS so you can track your performance.

Thirdly, the equipment – if you can’t get out of the office to workout, then bring the workout to the office. The NordicTrack Desk Treadmill is equipped with iFit technology to allow you to track your progress and customize your workouts to achieve your personal goals as well as keep up on your email.

Lastly, the service – iFit has a subscription service that helps you track and manage your fitness goals, access articles and workouts with currently two plans available: Web Only (Free) and Web & Equipment ($9.99 per month). Obviously the premium plan will help maximize the benefits but the web plan is very robust for those who may have access to a gym or are just getting started with a workout regimen and are looking to get their feet wet.

iFit is taking fitness, technology and the Internet of Things to a new level. With iFit, it isn’t just about wearable devices or exercise equipment; it’s about a lifestyle.

If you’ve missed any of the #SeagateCES announcements, stay up-to-date with all news from the Consumer Electronics Show at our CES page.

Is It Time to Add a Local Appliance For RTO Achievement? (Bandwidth Edition)

Earlier this week we shared some some data for those IT teams considering a shift from direct cloud backup to a hybrid model. In this follow-up we’re back with advice and data related to the WAN network bandwidth needed for managing a cloud operation within your business.

anneEach year in the budget cycle, IT Directors face the need to justify specific investments for the achievement of business objectives. One of the greatest challenges we see running a large cloud operation is the widespread lack of investment in WAN network bandwidth. This is particularly true for customers who are backing up directly to the cloud, with no on-premise appliance for quick, LAN-based recovery. The double whammy of no local restore appliance and low bandwidth to the cloud means delays and frustration for business users.

At Seagate, we track the Useable Download Bandwidth of tens of thousands of direct to cloud customers around the world. While useable download bandwidth varies regionally, we see that 40% of customers have only 7.82 Mbps available for a recovery from the cloud. This translates into a best case 8 hours to recover a 27 GB job.  However, available bandwidth quickly climbs for customers from there.  Customers with an on-premise appliance tend to have higher bandwidth to the cloud in order to accommodate larger jobs.

For those with 3.5 Mbps available download bandwidth or less, we recommend against trying to solve backup and recovery challenges in the cloud. Instead,  we recommend presenting the distribution data provided in the chart above as a basis for increasing bandwidth to the internet.  Remember, available bandwidth will always be lower than the total capacity purchased, as a network is frequently used for multiple purposes, particularly during business hours.

As a final assist in your budget planning, here is a table providing a basic guideline on job size recoverable from the cloud based on 80% network bandwidth utilization. We present this at typical target recovery times and typical bandwidths available from Internet Service Providers.anne2

As before we’d be interested to learn how you calculate your figures. Please send any feedback to portalfeedback@seagate.com or you can always reach out to me directly at anne.vincenti@seagate.com.

 

Are You Ready for the #SwipeTapSnap Revolution?

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If this year’s CES show was any indication, wearable tech is one of the trends that will continue to pick up steam over the next few years. Whether it’s fitness gear like LifeTrak or iFit or cameras like Narrative Clip, the wearable trend is likely to outlast bell bottom jeans. (Here’s hoping!)

It became clear to me at the show that companies are focused on trying to make products accessible across demographics, while also catering to consumers’ desire for instant gratification and the ability to share content. Society has so embraced social media that consumers today expect to access content and information immediately, and can’t get enough of it.

One company that has a really firm grasp on this are the fine folks behind iON camera products.

If you’re not familiar with iON camera products, you should be. They have a good assortment of devices such as iON the home (a Wi-Fi enabled camera for home – good for monitoring babies or pets) or Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi – a mountable “action cam” perfect for the sports and other fun in the great outdoors.

However, what really gave me a double take at this year’s Pepcom event was their SnapCam device. SnapCam is a little different than other wearables of its kind for a few key reasons.

First, size. Coming in at 1.5 inches square, it makes the device ultra portable. This is crucial because as a wearable, it’s important to not to be cumbersome and in the way. Cast any concerns aside right now, my photography-loving friend, it’s not. Regardless of whether you’re using a clip or magnet, SnapCam is the perfect size.

Second, accessibility. iON boots in under a second. That’s faster than you can open most apps on your smartphone. Once on, just tap once (for stills) twice (for video) or three times (for live streaming) and you’re good to go.

Third, connectivity. With SnapCam you can instantly upload wirelessly to your smartphone and begin posting how and where you see fit.

Finally, it’s stacked. SnapCam has an 8MP sensor, and you can take thousands and thousands (ok, about five thousand) pictures on a single charge or record over 2 hours of 720p video. For storage (because that’s kind of a big deal for us) you can use up to a 32GB SD card which should get you through until you upload to your phone (then back up wirelessly to your Seagate Personal Cloud at home) or hook up to your laptop (and back up to your Seagate Seven) external HDDs.

While SnapCam may not be the most original wearable camera you’ll find, the ease of capturing photos and video may be the spark to set the #SwipeTapSnap revolution on fire. SnapCam will be available for $149 when it releases the second quarter of 2015.

If you’ve missed any of the #SeagateCES announcements, stay up-to-date with all news from the Consumer Electronics Show at our CES page.