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Happy Birthday! Hope You Get Well, Soon.

How would I know it was your birthday?  Well, I don’t, but the hackers who stole personal data from Anthem sure know. It has been estimated that nearly 80 million people may have been affected by this latest security breach. What was stolen? Just social security numbers, date of birth, employment information, phone numbers, addresses, you know just the things you need to secure credit in the U.S.

Anthem claims there is no evidence that medical records have been compromised, but last time I asked for my CT scans, all it took was my name, SSN, date of birth, and my signature to get my hands on them. So if the hackers found something useful in the medical records, perhaps these could been compromised, as well.

Beyond the impact to our privacy, I’d like to explore why this keep happening and explore what may be necessary to end these damaging, high-profile breaches. Target, Home Depot, and a number of financial institutes in the past have all succumbed to cyber-attacks. I wrote a lengthy blog about Target last year, when it suffered its own cyber-attack. What is different between the attacks of the big retailers and the attack on Anthem? Honestly, not much. Each was orchestrated by a team of hackers, who some have called, “sophisticated”, to steal credentials of personnel and collect the data. The disturbing part is the amount of personal information that is thought to have been stolen.

According to guidelines, outlined in the HIPAA ‘Security Rule’: “The covered entity (in this case, Anthem) must decide whether a given addressable implementation specification is a reasonable and appropriate security measure to apply within its particular security framework.”

Although I haven’t spoken to Anthem, I would bet the organization is in compliance. But what does this matter when log-in information is stolen from someone with credentials to access data within a particular system. Whether or not that data was encrypted seems immaterial.

In an article entitled, ‘Anthem: how does a breach like this happen?’ by CSO Staff Writer, Steve Ragan, John Zurawski, a VP at Authentify raises an intriguing issue, “It will be interesting to discover of what exactly the DBA’s credentials consisted. If they were simply a username and a password, shame on Anthem. Even President Obama has figured out that systems containing PII (personally identifiable information) need two-factor authentication, and said so in his Presidential cyber security directive.”

If we do not take these new attacks seriously, and employ the right tiers of security, we will continue to see things like this pop up. In his piece Ragan speculates that this could have been a result of a “phishing” campaign launched by the hackers, who he says were very persistent, so persistent that they were able to compromise the credentials of five Anthem employees.

One could categorize this type of hacking as social engineering, similar to those employed by Kevin Mitnik back in the late 80s and 90s. Incidentally Mitnik was eventually convicted of hacking into a number of computer systems. But all this only strengthens my conviction that data is much easier to restore than customer loyalty and trust.

So what is the answer? Well it’s clear that we can no longer just sit back and wait for a breach to happen, because once it does it has a huge ripple effect. Although there is no appetite for more government regulations that force companies to comply with stricter security policies, I believe – sadly – that is where we may be heading. I say this through a personal experience, from the 1980s and early 90s. Where I grew up, in the mid-western area of the U.S., it was commonplace for local paper mills to dump its chemical waste into water sources, which fed into the Mississippi River. These companies knew it was wrong, but also knew it was cheaper to pay the fines, if/when they were caught, than to do the right thing from the start. It wasn’t until the federal government and the state of Wisconsin filed lawsuits against nine paper companies and two local municipalities that behaviors and actions began to change.

Something has to change; those of us who are trusted to maintain the security of digital information must take the right steps to ensure the safety of that digital information. I’m holding my breath on the next one that we’ll hear about. I hope that I am wrong but if there is one thing I have learned about hackers, they can be persistent.

-Chapa, signing off

Would You Like a Side of Cloud With Your BTA?

BTA stands for ‘backup target appliance’ and not ‘bacon, tomato and avocado’, although I had you going for a second, didn’t I? So what exactly is a BTA or backup target appliance (sometimes called a target backup appliance)?

Gartner defines it as: “… disk appliances that are built as backup targets for heterogeneous backup software applications. Such an appliance is defined as one that is optimized for the backup workload, has native deduplication and often compression capabilities, and acts as a disk target for external backup servers or application-native backup engines. …” But it is also important to note that BTAs are a subset of the larger “purpose-built backup appliance” (PBBA) market, or as Jason Buffington from ESG prefers to call them, “Data Protection Appliances” (DPAs).

With all the acronyms and alphabet soup out in the appliance marketplace today, it certainly can get very confusing for someone looking to identify and match the correct appliance to the right set of technical requirements. Let me try to distill it down for you in as straightforward a way, as possible.

Target Appliances – do not include any specialized backup software and are designed to integrate into heterogeneous environments.  There are no schedulers for backup tasks or functions, data movement backup software and no media management functionality included.

  • BTAs do not include but, can work in conjunction with various backup software applications (either 3rd party or from the manufacturer of the BTA).  These systems generally rely on the specific source-side application to handle the movement of data from the source (e.g. Oracle database) to the target appliance storage system and vice versa.
  • These types of appliances are used most frequently by Database Administrators (DBAs) to copy data from a database server to a secondary storage pool using the tools inherent within the application.  For example: Oracle DBAs would naturally use Oracle’s Recovery Manager (RMAN) tool to efficiently backup and recovery Oracle databases to and from a BTA.
  • Because target appliances generally do not come with any additional software (although options abound) they are expected to cost less money than an integrated appliance.

Integrated Appliances – these systems come tightly integrated with the backup software (usually from the same vendor).  These appliances come with all the software required to schedule various backup and recovery tasks, software agents that reside with the data source (e.g. servers) and communicate back to the integrated appliance, a centralized management console, and are in general, a complete, comprehensive and “turnkey” backup solution.

  • Just add water” is a phrase that most people understand to mean that an offering is pretty much a complete and instantly useable.  This is most true of integrated appliances versus the BTAs.  Integrated appliances should come with everything you need to setup and manage all your backup and recovery tasks including centralized management software and any software agents or application plug-in modules.
  • With the integrated appliance the backup software application and the appliance hardware have been designed to seamlessly work together and provide high performance and ease of use, completely within the backup software application regardless of the source of the data (applications) or operating systems that the data resides on.
  • Because integrated appliances come with all the required backup software the price of these appliances are going to be more expensive than the target appliance.

When planning to purchase a BTA it’s important to remember these five ‘C’s':

  1. Compatibility with all the various applications and databases used in your organization.
  2. Co-existence with your backup and recovery solution for other data.  Being able to simultaneously use an appliance as both a BTA and an integrated backup appliance (running backup software) is a huge plus and not to be discounted.
  3. Complexity – you shouldn’t have to be a rocket-scientist to use a BTA.
  4. Cloud Connectivity for offsite disaster recovery storage of the data stored on the BTA.  Who wouldn’t want a side of Cloud to go with their BTA?  Note: this can be a private or public cloud.
  5. Cost – because purchasing a BTA shouldn’t cost you an “arm and a leg”.  Let’s face it, some BTA vendors charge you so much money, that you would think their BTA is made out of gold.

Please visit the Seagate’s website to learn more about our enterprise-grade backup target appliances. For additional information about Seagate’s DPAs (Data Protection Appliances) / PBBAs (Purpose-built Backup Appliances) please visit our corresponding product pages.

Your mobile website or app should be designed to help your customers find what they want quickly

Mobile Marketing for Your Small Business: 7 Tips On Doing it Right

Your mobile website or app should be designed to help your customers find what they want quickly

Take a good look at the growth plans for your business. Do they include a solid mobile marketing plan?

If not, you may as well consider filing for bankruptcy right now. With growing numbers of consumers looking to their mobile devices for purchases, a good mobile marketing strategy is essential to grow your business.

Today we’ve gathered seven tips to help you create a mobile marketing plan tailored to your consumer’s individual needs.

Keep Things Simple

Mobile marketing is not meant to be wordy. Ever. Most mobile users only spend a few seconds glancing over items in their inboxes, so it’s important that you capitalize on what little attention they allow you. Keep your offers simple and memorable to ensure that they’ll remain with your customers even after they’ve moved on from your advertisements.

Help Your Customers

If it’s even remotely difficult to purchase something from your website, especially when viewed on a mobile device, you’re doing your mobile marketing wrong. Everything should be designed to help your customers find what they want quickly while on the go, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. Consider adding simple buttons to help customers contact you, find directions to your location and, of course, a digital cart where customers can add purchases.

Utilize Responsive Design

Why pay separately for a mobile and desktop website when you can purchase one that works on both devices? Responsive design is incredibly important to business owners, as it allows your website to adjust itself automatically to various screen sizes and resolutions. This allows you to forgo having two separate web pages, increases your SEO, and ensures your website will run the same on any customer’s device.

Limit Your Texting

While sending discounts and promotional deals to customers is a great way to grow your market, sending an overabundance of ads can send them fleeing in disgust. It’s important to monitor the unsubscribe rate to any of your digital distribution lists, as well as to reach out to your subscribers and ask what types of communications they’d like to receive from you. The best option may be to offer multiple levels of sign-ups for your offers, allowing your customers the chance to decide how often they’d like to hear from you.

Focus on Social Media

The amount of time people spend using social networking on mobile devices is staggering, and no business looking to expand its mobile marketing can afford to ignore this trend. Social media lets you connect directly with your customers, share news of special sales, advertise new products, and best of all, is completely free. By growing your social media presence, you can develop your fans into free promoters, spreading your deals and offerings throughout the web.

Create a Mobile App

Creating a mobile application for your business allows you the opportunity to provide a custom shopping experience tailored directly to your consumers. The key is to determine why your customers would prefer an app over your primary website, and design your application around those specific needs. Simplicity and functionality are vital here, as they’ll make your app easier to navigate and cut down on development costs to boot.

Test Your Software

Perhaps the most important step in improving your mobile marketing experience is to test your software regularly. Testing on a high- speed 4G LTE network allows you and your staff to simulate the use of your mobile site from a customer’s point of view, and to see how intuitive your software is to use. By examining your mobile marketing through the eyes of your consumers, you can identify areas needing improvement on a regular basis, upgrading your weak spots before customers start to complain.

No matter what type of business you run, it’s vital that you have a well thought out plan dictating your mobile marketing strategy. Such a plan helps you to ensure that you’re not only meeting the needs of your customers, but also exceeding their expectations and developing your relationships with them as well. Whether you focus on connecting via social media or testing out your software, a solid mobile marketing plan will help your business soar to new virtual heights.

JT Ripton is a business consultant and blogger who enjoys writing about many things, business and technology among them. Ripton’s advice has appeared in numerous places like BusinessInsider, Entrepreneur.com, The Guardian, and The Street.

Medicare and Medicaid to Pay for Lung-Cancer Screening CT Studies

On Thursday, it became official.  According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), effective immediately, adults between the ages of 55 and 77 who are smokers or who stopped smoking with the past 15 years but had been at the “30 pack-years” level are eligible for annual lung cancer screening CT scans-paid for by Medicare and Medicaid.  Often, this type of pronouncement spreads into private insurance as well….we’ll learn soon enough.

What does this mean?  Well, clearly the research showed that the mortality rate and costs associated with treating advanced lung cancer can be reduced by implementing this screening for early detection.  As lung cancer is the third most prevalent form in the U.S., the American Cancer Society estimates, the disease will cause 158,000 deaths in the U.S. this year (1).   In addition to those deaths, 221,200 new cases are diagnosed each year.  Of those newly diagnosed, 67%  are 65 years or older; 98% are over 45.

Based on this data, it seems these guidelines, which have been under consideration for several years, are well-founded. To put the impact of this decision into perspective, consider that a low-dose spiral CT scan can reveal lung abnormalities the size of a grain of rice(2).

What else does this mean?  It is a safe assumption that there will be a surge in medical imaging data that will develop from this newly-insured procedure, which many institutions will keep in the patient record indefinitely. In diagnosing cancer, past studies are especially critical for comparative purposes.  An uncompressed multi-slice CT study requires between 131MB and 2.1 GB of storage (3).

According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (4), in 2012, over 49 million Americans were enrolled in Medicare alone; Medicaid enrollees  add close to a million more.  Granted, not all smoke or have smoked, but a simple calculation yields the estimate that 50 million-plus screening CT studies would generate 100PB  of data that  would need to be kept for a bare minimum of five years. Even if only 1/3 of enrollees qualify for the screening, it’s still a massive amount of new data to manage.

Get smart about storage.  Object and software-defined cloud storage are perfect for medical image storage.  Visit Seagate Cloud Systems and Solutions to learn about our healthcare related products and services as well as our strong network of partners, who have the expertise to set you up with solutions for the compliant storage of healthcare data.

  1. American Cancer Society. “American Cancer Society Estimated New Cases for the Four Major Cancers by Sex and Age Group, 2015”. viewed at:  http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-044511.pdf; accessed on 22-February 2015.
  2. Swedish: “Thoracic Surgery Lung Cancer Screening Program,” viewed at http://www.swedish.org/services/thoracic-surgery/thoracic-surgery-services/lung-cancer-screening-program/low-dose-ct-scan-for-lung-cancer-screening; accessed on 22-Feb, 2015.
  3. Medscape. “Storage Management: What Radiologists Need to Know” from Applied Radiology viewed at:  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/708624_7 acon 22-Feb 2015.
  4. http://kff.org; accessed on 2-22-2015
The key to simple data storage security

What Makes Crypto-Erase So Popular? NIST and ISO Endorse Simplest Secure-Erase Solution

The key to simple data storage security

A recent blog by one of my colleagues caught my eye the other day because of the history of data storage infographic included in it. Reading through it reminded me of just how fast our world is becoming more and more digitized. Think for a moment that in just over the last twenty years, we’ve seen the transition from regular mail to e-mail, from traditional books to e-books, from physical encyclopedias to Wikipedia, and, of course, from music and movies on physical media to downloadable copies. There are many other examples all around us, and you can be sure we haven’t seen the end of this trend. Don’t be surprised if someone comes up with a digital hammer soon. ;-)

The creation of data is said to be doubling every two years, and according to IDC, the world will create 44 zettabytes of data by 2020.[i] That’s the equivalent of 250 billion DVDs…give or take a movie or two. An astonishing figure, no doubt, and storage vendors like Seagate make a good business from making the hard drives and systems to store this data on. But while the IT industry likes to talk about how much data is being stored and how much equipment will be required to store it all, very little attention is given to the enormous amount of hard drives currently in place and what happens to them when we’re done with them.

Think for a moment what you do when you upgrade your computer, tablet, or smart phone, or if you’re the IT guy at work, what you do with the old systems you’re going to replace. Most of us simply migrate the data we want to keep to the new system, “delete” the old drive and resell the system. For most of us, deleting or “wiping” the drive is simply a matter of reformatting it, and the truly paranoid among us will physically destroy the drive. But aside from physically destroying the drive, a simple reformat only gives the appearance of erasing the data by erasing just the root directory the system uses to find where your data is stored on the drive, while leaving the user data intact. These are hardly secure erasure methods since even the most basic disk recovery tool can easily recover the data you thought was deleted. And with the steady stream of data breaches these days, we all know we should do a better job of protecting our data.

To that end, Seagate has been a pioneer in data security with the self-encrypting drive (SED) technology we introduced in 2006 that was designed to protect the data stored on our hard drives (“data at rest”). The customer response over the years to such a simple and effective way to secure data at rest has been extremely positive, especially in those industries where data breaches can be very costly, due to increasing data privacy laws. And it seems a week doesn’t go by without news of another huge data breach that has all of us wondering if our personal data was compromised. Sure, SEDs can prevent some of this , but what is a bit surprising is that we’ve seen a tremendous growth of users deploying SEDs solely for the crypto-erase feature that can wipe drives clean when they need to retire (or repurpose) them.

Why has crypto-erase become so popular? Because it’s a quick and easy way of securely erasing a drive, which can take many hours and often days using traditional data overwrite methods. Instead, SED users can simply change the existing password (the data encryption key, actually), and their data is no longer readable… ever. And a crypto-erase can be done in seconds for any size drive, so you can imagine a user’s elation when they can securely erase an 8TB drive in the blink of an eye. Now multiply that feeling by the tens or hundreds of drives they retire every day, and it’s easy to see why some of our largest customers won’t buy anything but SEDs.

And there’s even better news now that crypto-erase has been approved as a preferred method of data sanitization by two major standards organizations (ISO and NIST). With this official guidance, even the most paranoid corporations and government agencies can feel secure (forgive the pun) that crypto-erase methods are now preferred since they “can be performed with high assurance much faster than with other sanitization techniques.”[ii] Furthermore, the ISO data erasure guidelines go on to say,

“Cryptographic erase could provide substantial value by facilitating rapid eradication of sensitive data (in seconds versus hours or days) by…

  • reducing the wear on the storage device (therefore potentially extending the life of the device)
  • reducing the amount of man-hours expended performing sanitization
  • addressing media types that may be impractical to address using legacy degaussing and destruction techniques”

So while wide customer acceptance speaks for itself, endorsements from some of the leading international standards bodies reinforce the value of SEDs even if you only use them to erase the data on your drives when you’re retiring an old laptop, tablet, smart phone, or corporate system. And at the rate we all upgrade our systems, it won’t be too long before you find yourself debating how you’re going to safely get rid of that old drive, right?

Security software specialists have recognized the value of crypto-erase for years. “Standards bodies such as NIST and ISO now promote cryptographic erase — where admins can sanitize an encrypted drive by destroying or overwriting the encryption key, and WinMagic has supported this concept for a long time,” said Garry L. McCracken, CISSP and vice president of technology for WinMagic, an encryption and key management vendor. “Crypto-erase functions appropriately spotlight the importance of encryption key management. Crypto-erase is especially effective when the actual Data Encryption Key (DEK) is very tightly controlled such as is the case with self-encrypting drives.”

Do yourself and your organization a favor and think ahead two or three years when you’re in the market for a new system. If you have the option, go with the SED even if you only use it to do the crypto-erase. Believe me… you’ll be glad you did. If you have a minute, watch this short video on why Seagate Instant Secure Erase, the crypto-erase feature we include on every SED we ship, can help with your drive retirement needs. Don’t leave your data security to chance.

[i] IDC/EMC Digital Universe, April 2014

[ii] ISO/IEC 27040 (Information technology ─ Security techniques — Storage security) and NIST 800-88 (Guidelines for Media Sanitization)

Allen Marin is a senior program manager for Seagate Data Security products.

13 Reasons Why You Need an External Hard Drive

Desktop mix on a wooden office table.

Did you know “90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years? That’s a staggering statistic, but let’s go one level deeper and simplify the need for storage in a way that’s sure to resonate with anyone who’s into technology or social media.

If you’re not familiar with IFTTT (If This, Then That), it’s a neat tool that aggregates tasks and functions to simplify your digital life. For example, if it’s going to rain, then receive a text of the weather report. Pretty simple. Tapping into the spirit of IFTTT, here are 13 simple reasons why you need an external hard drive.

  1. If you wrote it, then save it.
  2. If you drew it, then save it.
  3. If you sang it, then save it.
  4. If you presented it, then save it.
  5. If you directed it, then save it.
  6. If you starred in it, then save it.
  7. If you downloaded it, then save it.
  8. If you bought it, then save it.
  9. If you played it, then save it.
  10. If you shared it, then save it.
  11. If you Tweet it, then save it.
  12. If you posted it to Instagram, then save it.
  13. If you Pinned it, then save it.

The bottom line is that whatever you create – movies, music, photography, blogs, anything, is yours – save it. Now before you head over to the Seagate Store to see what this week’s promotions are, keep these questions in mind while shopping for a new hard drive.

There are plenty of options for external hard drives depending on your need. If you’re someone always on the go, consider Seagate Wireless or Seagate Seven. If you’re looking for an external hard drive solution to centralize all your content, then Seagate Personal Cloud will be right up your alley.

IFTTT Fun Fact! Did you know that Seagate Personal Cloud is compatible with Drobbox? This allows you to IFTTT your Instagram photos to Dropbox, and syncs them with your Personal Cloud.

The data footprint is growing at the speed of life. Together we are creating content that inspires, that motivates, that pushes us to go beyond what past generations have thought possible. Can you think of a better reason to have the content you’re creating, the memories you’re making, backed up and preserved on an external hard drive?

 

Doubt it.

 

Surprised businesswoman with Coffee

6 Habits to Make Your Small Business More Productive

A harried small-business leader just like you

Not enough time in the day? Too much to do? That’s the lament of all entrepreneurs and small business owners!

There are lots of ways to save time, and plenty of tools to help you work faster. Recently I talked about super handy smartphone apps that make work easier and improve time management, and I also rhapsodized about this year’s new gadgets that can help you work smarter. And of course you know how a business-savvy storage solution can simplify your workflow!

But some of the best things you can do to be more productive are simply about habit and intentions.

You may have tried using an organizer system, or reading a self-help book on getting organized. Those are great things — keep plugging away. But perhaps these few tips about how to attack your workload can serve to quickly remind you how simple it can be to take control of your work and improve your productivity.

Think of these as the basics. Look at this list each day (it’s short) until one day you find you’ve incorporated all these practices into your daily work habits.

1. Update your To Do List every day.

What’s that? You don’t even keep a To Do List? Well, start there! Then, rewrite the whole thing each morning or at the end of the day. (This may seem like another time-consuming task — it’s not. The 15 minutes you take each day to do this will easily save an hour in lost unproductive time.) It’s best to rewrite the entire list, rather than crossing off and adding new tasks, because you want to put your list in a specific order for each day. Your top priorities should be most prominent — probably at the top of the list; those are the jobs you should work on and complete first. When you start each day with an important task and succeed on that task, it keeps you juiced so you’re ready to plow into the next job on the list. Don’t get distracted — stick to the priorities on the list as a habit. You don’t want to waste your daily allotment of energy and focus on anything else, do you?

2. Break down big projects into small tasks.

A huge multi-part job or project is daunting. It seems unimaginable that you’ll ever reach task number 25, six weeks from now. So don’t list that project as one huge item. Break it into digestible, doable items that can be crossed off each day. This achieves three benefits: first, it gets you to analyze the steps needed to reach the final goal; second, it lets you define and track progress in discrete chunks so you know you’re on the road to completion; and finally, checking off small tasks gives you a sense of accomplishment each day so you remain positive and encouraged (and this keeps you productive).

3. Start that task now.

Draft that first chart. Write that first sentence. Pull apart that prototype. Whatever step you need to take to start a new project is always the hardest step — it can feel like pulling off the warm comforter on a very chilly morning, and we often work harder finding ways to avoid taking that step than we would by just jumping in. So jump in! Once you start, dedicate yourself for a specific timeframe to stay focused. Don’t check email every 5 minutes; don’t accept ad hoc meetings; ignore your phone, and for goodness’ sake, stay off social media (save it for the evening). Don’t let a million little things get in the way of the one important thing.

4. Do one thing at a time.

Multitasking might seem like the norm these days, but study after study show it does not work. You might think you can change your focus every two minutes to get five things done instead of one, but science disagrees. Folks who do try to multitask are straight-out less productive, and they’re even making it harder in future to concentrate and to think creatively! Just because you feel super busy doesn’t mean you’re getting important things done — if you want your small business moving forward, stick to one high-priority task at a a time. (And what about all those little tasks nagging at you in the back of your mind? If they fall through the cracks, the impact will be far less significant.)

5. Take breaks.

Yes, you need to get right down to work, don’t get distracted, stay focused on one thing — and we certainly know entrepreneurs must work hard. But working 12 hours straight — or even three hours straight — isn’t healthy, and doesn’t lead to long-term productivity. Let’s turn to science again — studies find we are at our most productive when we focus intensely on one task for under an hour, then take a brief break (recommendations vary — some suggest a not-so-brief 20 minutes). Take a nap, or get some active exercise — both are good for your focus, creativity and productivity, and also good for physical health (and that improves long-term productivity too)! The physical change also gives your mind some time to rest, consolidate new learnings, and replenish your attention.

6. Delegate!

You don’t have time to do everything for your small business. You’re not the most skilled or talented person for every task. You need to delegate important jobs to your team. It’s smart, good for your team, and will lighten your workload significantly. It frees your mind to think strategically, and to look at tactics from a high altitude — two crucial things a small business leader must constantly do to help your business grow. It also frees your time to focus on the tasks leaders must execute: building out plans, meeting with customers and potential partners, and rewarding, listening to and coaching (not micromanaging) your employees so they will share company goals and use their own strengths to succeed. Again, don’t just delegate the menial tasks — delegate the tasks that aren’t your strengths so you can focus on the things you are great at, and let your team shine where their strengths allow.

Keep this list handy and refer to it each day to remind yourself to build these habits. Of course, a simple list of daily practices cannot change the actual work you do; your own commitment, drive, choices and abilities are what will drive your success (so, by the way, be sure to choose a strategy that matches your abilities). But if these six things become everyday habits for you, that alone will have a major, noticeable impact on your productivity.

Who is John Paulsen? A former small-business leader myself, I feel your pain (and joy) and hope you’ll enjoy the blog. I launched and ran a well-regarded production company in San Francisco with a team of 9 brilliant, hard working people. I learned to manage a wide array of tasks a small business must handle — business strategy, facilities design, HR, payroll, taxes, marketing, all the way down to choosing telecom equipment and spec’ing a server system to help my team collaborate in real-time on dense media projects from multiple production rooms. I’ve partnered with and learned from dozens of small business owners.

How to Backup Your Facebook Profile in 3 Simple Steps

fB_Cover

You already know that it’s a good habit to get into the regular practice of backing up your hard drive, and having a backup of that backup. Think of this as a gentle reminder because you should always have a backup plan – just in case. If you haven’t done so lately, check the store for current deals and nab yourself an external hard drive. You’ll be glad you did.

Backing up your “social life” is just as important as backing up your system. You’ve spent hours and hours cultivating new relationships, sharing photos, videos, music and more with friends and family. You may not want to wait until the end of the year to see your “Best Of” moments appear in your timeline. Being a social shutterbug, you probably took so many photos you that you forgot you had them.

That’s where we step in.

There’s a particular feature with the Seagate Dashboard that you may not have been aware of – the ability to backup your social media. Using any of our external hard drives (Seagate Seven, Seagate Wireless, Backup Plus Fast) you can easily backup your content from Facebook or Flickr. Here’s how:

Plug your external hard drive into your computer, launch the Seagate Dashboard and click SOCIAL.

SEAGATE_DASHBOARD_and_Dropbox_Installer

On the SOCIAL tab, you’ll have the option to Share or Save. Share will allow you to upload photos/videos from your drive to your social network. Save will allow you to download photos/videos from your social network. Click SAVE.

SEAGATE_DASHBOARD_and_blog372

The next screen gives you the option to log into your Facebook or Flickr account. Once logged in, you’ll have the option to download your content directly to your hard drive.

SEAGATE_DASHBOARD_and_blog372 2

It’s that simple. Once your download is complete, you’ll have access to all your photos and videos neatly backed up on your external HDD.

“But wait! Do I need a Seagate hard drive to backup my Facebook profile?”

No, you don’t, but not having one may mean an angel doesn’t get his wings.

If you don’t have a Seagate hard drive but would still like to backup your Facebook profile, we can help you with that too. Here’s how:

  1. Log into your Facebook account and go Settings > General Account Settings
  2. Click Download a Copy of Your Facebook Data.
  3. Click Start My Archive.

facebook-backup

You will be asked to enter your password – this’ll confirm that you’re you. Facebook will then create an archive of your whole account and all the photos and videos you’ve uploaded and will email you a link when finished.

While waiting, go ahead and use this time to grab some coffee, surf YouTube or play a level in Candy Crush. Once your email notification arrives, click the link where you’ll be able to download a final .ZIP file.

When you open this file, you’ll have access to multiple folders including HTML files, photos and videos that you can peruse until your heart’s content.

Given that you’ve just added more content to your desktop internal storage (or laptop internal storage), this makes backing up your computer even more important. So don’t wait too long before doing so. After all, you wouldn’t want to risk losing the new data you just created, right?

 

 

5 Completely Boring Ways to Organize Your Photos

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Photos, photos everywhere! With easy access to today’s tech, it’s almost impossible to go five feet without seeing someone stop and take a photo whether it’s of friends, food or even themselves.

We enjoy the art of photography and the opportunity to look back at those special moments caught on camera, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we can admit that photo organization is a pain!

But it doesn’t have to be. In most cases, once you get a process setup, it becomes easy to maintain.

Chances are you’ve got hundreds of photos where some may be categorized by an event or occasion and others just filed under “miscellaneous” waiting to be reviewed. Here are some ideas on how to get it all together and setup the perfect system for organizing all your photos.

Theme It — “Girls Night Out,” “My Favorite Foods,” or “BaconCon” are all common themes for collecting photos about a particular event or experience. This makes pictures easy to find and can tell a great story about how you spent a particular day.

Publish It – Turn your best photos into coffee-table book with the help of a site like Blurb or Mixbook.

Timeline It — Take a page out of the Facebook playbook and use your photos to tell an event from beginning to end — whether it’s the Superbowl, your annual trip to the SXSW festival or the birthday of your bestie. A timeline is an opportunity to let the viewer experience what you’ve experienced and share the memories.

Map It —Virtual maps are a great way to share experiences with people who’ve been to a similar location and make new friends. Register on sites like PhotospotLand or uEncounter to highlight where you’ve been (or even where you want to go).

Road trip It “Hit the road, Jack!” Plan a trip around the types of photos you’d like to take. This way you’ll know what you will shoot before shooting it, making organizing it that much easier. Every road trip needs a soundtrack so give yourself extra points for packing a Seagate Wireless with you on your journey, which you’ll use both to stream your favorite music and to store your thousands of new photos!

Bonus: The “Old Fashioned” Way – Some of you may be more pragmatic about organizing your photos. If that’s the case, a fast, easy solution would be to create descriptive folders, relevant tags, and custom keywords to give you easy access to your digital library.

Creating a folder called “My Pictures From June” doesn’t tell you much about what’s inside versus a folder called “Grandma’s 75th Birthday.” Then you can use keywords like “events” or “celebration” and tags like “Grandma” to make your photos easier to access whether you store them on your laptop, tablet or an external hard drive like Seagate Seven.

Photos are perfect for capturing experiences or reliving memories. But it’s hard to relive those memories if your photos are scattered across computer systems, websites and hard drives.

So do yourself a favor and get a good external hard drive, then creatively organize your photos. You’ll be glad that you did.

(Metrics) Data Center Diversification

I’m back with some new data on the diversification of the data center and the distribution of clouds…here’s what we found…

When reviewing Seagate clients, the total number of cloud data centers utilized by each client was counted. The data shows that while most clients are utilizing only one data center in the Seagate network, a trend has emerged where clients are moving their data to be closer to the source. We see this trend in particular where clients are mixing a combination of Seagate Cloud and Microsoft Azure Cloud internationally.

The highest number of data centers utilized by a single client is six.

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Let’s examine some reasons for the distribution of clouds.

Regional Offices – Proximity to the Source

Many businesses maintain branch offices across regions or countries. In this case, an organization may choose to utilize cloud data centers in close proximity to their headquarters and branch offices. The ability to host applications in a cloud varies, some applications have extremely efficient protocols and are not highly constrained by latency or bandwidth, while others are severely constrained (financial services and data feeds) where a few seconds can affect reporting and decision making. In the case where latency does affect the network mobility of applications and data you may consider utilizing cloud data centers close to the source of data generation or transaction entry.

Globalization/Internationalization

Organizations spanning the globe often face high costs and limited choices for circuit providers and available bandwidth speeds. This reality often drives organizations to use on-premise appliances for quick recovery over the Local Area Network (LAN). The use of a LAN increases the speed of file transfer (little to no latency) and recovery, but does not allow for the network to expand or cover any geographical distance.AnneV_2'18'15_2

Hybrid Clouds with Central Management

Some organizations diversify the location of their data centers through hybridization of infrastructure. This is common among organizations that run multi-tiered applications, integrating cloud services with a combination of dedicated hosting, managed hosting and colocation. Each environment is hosted in a different facility or network of facilities, thus increasing redundancy and dispersion. Other benefits of hybridization include maximizing performance and the ability to adjust to business needs.