Tag Archives: Business

The Case for Cloud Backup, as Made by xkcd

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As usual, xkcd says more about PC security in one panel than most proficient writers could say in an entire blog post. (There’s a reason we cribbed some of xkcd’s best stuff for our primer on social engineering attacks in the cloud.) At the risk of being superfluous, however, I’d like to expound on this point about authentication.

xkcd_authetication

PC-level security is designed to ensure the security of PC-resident data. Your local antivirus or anti-spyware suite is not equipped to secure your cloud data. The simple act of walking away from a logged-in laptop at a coffee shop, or leaving your unsecured office workstation unattended during a long meeting, could lead to the theft or destruction of all your Salesforce or Google Apps data.

The same rules apply for mobile devices and tablets. Constantly logging out of online accounts and routinely locking devices is indisputably tedious, which is why a surprising number of users don’t bother to lock or log off all their devices all the time. Even the most scrupulous and security-aware among us is bound to slip eventually.

Moreover, even if you would never be so foolish as to let a stranger borrow the iPhone that has logged-in access to your Gmail account, are you absolutely certain that everyone on your Google Apps domain is equally as vigilant? As xkcd taught us, the weak point in all security systems is people.

Why encryption doesn't matter

Well, that and weak encryption. To say nothing of easily guessed passwords. Or passwords that are carelessly reused. Or the false sense of protection provided by Security Theater.

Bottom line: No security system is perfect, and security designed to protect your hard drive can’t and won’t protect your cloud data. If you rely on cloud-based data and SaaS applications, you need a good, SaaS-specific cloud backup plan.

(Don’t get it? Don’t worry. The good folks at www.explainxkcd.com can parse out the esoteric humor for you.)

How Cloud to Cloud Backup Prevents Cloud Lock-In

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Barb Darrow writes today in GigaOm about fear of lock-in as a barrier to cloud adoption.

It’s become a truism to say that data is the new gold – but that doesn’t mean there are easy answers about where to store this gold. For now, many corporate customers will hold back on full cloud computing adoption until they’re convinced that they can move their data off a given cloud as easily as they put it there in the first place. Face it: fear of vendor lock-in is not limited to the on-premises IT world and it’s time enlightened vendors get this problem in hand.

While she may not realize it just yet, the solution to this problem is emerging via an unlikely industry – the backup industry.

In the on-premise backup world, which is where most of IT still lives, data backup was just data backup. But as data moves to the cloud, that dynamic changes. Why? Because in the cloud, you don’t always have complete control of your data the way that you do in on-premise application deployments. Replicated data from a cloud-to-cloud backup product like Backupify isn’t just a backup – it’s a secure second copy of your data that is under your control, and that has more advantages than just data recovery.

Take an example and consider a company moving to Google Apps. All that application data is now stored in the cloud and, while Google has very friendly policies around data ownership, many IT administrators don’t feel like they have complete control. Now, assume you have Backupify’s Google Apps backup installed. You now have a secure second copy of your data that is in a separate location, under your control. You can’t be locked-in to Google when you have another copy of your data that is independent of Google Apps.

When we announced our Backupify developer API earlier this year, we weren’t just responding to the need for backup. We were responding to the need for data control. As we start rolling out integrations with dozens of SaaS applications, there will soon come a day when, for every SaaS application you have, you can sleep well knowing you have a secure second copy of that data under your control at Backupify. When you control all of your data, you can move to the cloud with confidence.

The cloud offers many benefits, but they come with a set of costs as well. The data silos that result are difficult to tie together, and the data isn’t always under your control. Backupify has a roadmap to help solve those problems. Cloud-to-cloud backup is really so much more than just backup – it is just a stepping stone to a vision of complete ownership and control of your cloud data.

Migrating to the Cloud: A Review of Value vs. Risk

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A December study by McKinsey & Company found that in 2011 corporations spent $28 Billion on cloud services and by 2015 that number is estimated to exceed the $70 Billion mark. The question posed by businesses is no longer “should we migrate to the cloud?” but rather “how will we migrate to the cloud?” As your business makes the transition, it’s important to understand not only the different options available, but also weigh the risks and value of changing your IT strategy.

Migrating to the cloud
All companies are faced with different challenges. Some industries, such as healthcare, are heavily regulated, requiring strict standards around data storage, while the challenge for small companies may be infrastructure and additional staff costs. There are three high-level directions to choose from when migrating to cloud computing – private cloud, public, or a hybrid. The public cloud is the most cost-effective and agile, while the private cloud can be expensive to build and maintain but offers more control and regulation.

migrating to the cloud

As you make the jump into the cloud, you should understand both the value and how to minimize the risks.

Cloud value:

  • Decrease labor and infrastructure costs
  • Eliminate the lag between business and IT, faster implementation
  • Organizational agility
  • Scalability as the organization grows/downsizes
  • Less capacity constraints

Associated risks:

  • Technology failures
  • Security breaches
  • “Acts of God”

These are similar to the risks faced by companies managing their own infrastructure. The risk aversion comes from determining who would be more capable of quickly reacting to these situations – your internal IT team or a third-party vendor.

An avoidable risk of the cloud is the storage and management of your data in SaaS applications. This data is rarely backed up in a way that protects against user error, malicious deletion, hackers, or application bugs. By using Backupify, you can securely backup your data and store it outside of the cloud application and easily restore information that is compromised.

Moving to the cloud has many challenges.  Backupify can help you move to the cloud with confidence by giving you the peace of mind that your critical business data is backed up in a secure second location. As you develop your cloud strategy, consider your operational needs as well as the various compliance requirements for doing business. Weigh the value of the cloud and do a thorough risk assessment that your company and industry face. Then you can be sure your jump to the cloud is a huge success.

Did you know… Backupify has a Product Updates page now?

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Update icon from the Crystal icon theme

For the longest time, Backupify never really had a singular location for you, our customers, to find out what is new with our products. That changes today! We just recently added a new section to our Knowledge Base where you can find out what’s new with Backupify.

The Product Updates page will detail new features and improvements to Backupify services, tips on getting the most out of your Backupify account, and new Backupify product announcements. If there’s something new or better about a Backupify product, the Product Updates page is where you’ll find out first. We’ll still do blog posts about new products and features, of course, but now you have a one-stop shop for all our formal product releases that’s written and managed by the Backupify Support team. This isn’t a marketing resource; it’s a customer resource, plain and simple.

Product Updates will be categorized in quarterly intervals and updated as they are released. So, as soon as a we have deploy a new Backupify feature it will appear on the Product Updates page and will be immediately available in your Backupify account!

You can check out our Product Updates at https://backupify.zendesk.com/forums/21066462-product-updates

Let us know your feedback too! We are always interested in hearing from you about what we can do better. Enjoy!

Why Intelligent.ly Is Just Good Corporate Governance

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I don’t write a lot about how we run things here at Backupify, but we recently made a decision to sign up for a service that might seem like a random expense to many startup CEOs. I thought it would be good to take a few minutes and explain my view on employee education, and why it is a great investment and “small dollars” (as the VCs like to say) in the big scheme of things.

Backupify recently signed up for Intelligently under their corporate plan that allows any company employee to take classes and then Intelligently will send us a single monthly consolidated bill. We estimate we will spend a couple hundred dollars a month, which is a lot for a startup. So the obvious question is why we would be willing to spend on something that may seem frivolous at first glance. Then answer is: corporate governance.

It sounds odd because most people equate corporate governance with boring stodgy stuff like board meetings and legal documents. But at its core, corporate governance is about establishing a framework to minimize conflicts of interest among various stakeholders (investors, management, employees, etc), and maximize the proper use of company assets. In tech companies, particularly fast growing startup tech companies, the primary assets of the company are the employees. This changes many notions of corporate governance and thus, I think the central issue for corporate governance in a venture-backed startup is how to provide the right incentives to human assets and make them as productive as possible.

Managing people is hard. Corporate governance language has historically talked about “assets” but when those assets are humans everything changes. A factory can’t walk out the door if it gets angry. An employee can. So startup corporate governance is largely about managing talent, setting the proper incentives, keeping employees motivated, and investing in them to make them smarter and more productive. And that last piece is where Intelligent.ly comes in.

There aren’t many opportunities to learn real-world skills from people who have done it, other than on-the-job training. And the problem with on-the-job training is that, for knowledge workers, it often happens in such a hectic environment that there is no time to put the knowledge in the proper context. When you learn something, it really helps to move between levels of understanding, first looking at an overarching framework, then visiting specific examples and applications, then re-visiting an overarching framework. Intelligent.ly provides exactly that. It provides real-world knowledge that an employee can turn around and use, but does it within a framework that puts the knowledge in the proper context.

I’m not sure the team at Intelligent.ly started with corporate governance in mind, but given their focus on venture-backed startups in Boston, I believe that they really promote better governance.

And by the way, the feedback from Backupify employees who have taken an Intelligent.ly class is all positive. So go check out Intelligent.ly, and become a better you.