Archive for the ‘Backups’ Category

Importance of data backups

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

WormYou might ask yourself why it is important to have a backup of all of your data. Or, you might even ask yourself what is data, do I have any? Well, almost everyone has some sort of data on their computer, whether it be in the form of pictures, music, or documents (such as word, excel or pdf files). Let’s say you have a child, and they are 10 years old and you have all of your pictures stored on the computer. Do you have them saved anywhere else, if not what would you do if your hard drive failed, you got a virus such as the cryptowall virus – which encrypts all the documents, pictures, etc on your computer, the computer was stolen or a number of other possible ways that the data could be lost or destroyed.

It is always a good idea to have a backup of your data, whether it is for home or commercial use. We suggest you have a couple of copies of data, the one on the computer and maybe another copy on-site. But it is also a good idea to keep a copy of your data off-site as well, this way if there was a fire, tornado or some other major devastation that destroyed your home or office you would still have a copy of the data.  If you are doing backups regularly onsite, then you are on a good step, but do you unplug your external drive or flash drive when not backing up your data? If not, if you got the cryptowall virus, chances are your backups on the external drive are also going to be encrypted.

We had 2 clients (both businesses) a while back who got this virus. They lost all of their data files in both cases. One of the businesses had our backups, so we were able to get them their data back in a day or 2. The other one had a backup, but the drive was plugged in and the backup was also destroyed by the virus. About 6 months later, there was finally a way to decrypt the encrypted files so we were able to recover the other files (this is not always the case) for them. Thing is, by this time they had to recreate many of their files in the meantime. This was a huge setback and very time consuming lesson. This other company has since started using our backup service that we offer.

Did you know that around 70% of businesses that have data loss go out of business a short time after? This is why, at least for a business, it is extremely important to have data backups.

We offer off-site data backups to customers. The nice thing about this software is it automatically runs each night (as long as there is an internet connection and the computer is on) and backs up the data on its own. This way you don’t have to wait around while your data is copying across, after hours or before work. Using our service, the data is stored encrypted in the cloud and is HIPAA compliant.

So, what are some basic benefits of data backups?

  • Comfort – knowing if something happens to your computer or server, there is a backup that can be restored
  • Convenience – Ability to have the backups run at night, and not have to worry about copying data across to a flash drive and then having to find out where to store the flash drive.
  • Recovery – Knowing that your files are backed up, so if something happened they can be recovered in a relatively short time (depending on how much data you have)
  • Revisions – You can have a couple of revisions saved, so if you made a mistake in a document and realize it the next day, you could go back 2 version to get the mistake taken care of without having to try to remember exactly what it was
  • If backed up, your pictures will also be safe

If you are interested in off-site data backups, give us a call at 218-744-1210.

Cloud Computing: A Greener Option for Business

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Online DataCloud computing has garnered a lot of attention in recent years as a green solution for business. The market for global cloud computing will be around $180 billion by the end of 2015, according to a Gartner study. This May, the 9th International Conference on Green, Pervasive and Cloud Computing is being held in China to further examine environmentally sustainable computing and how it can benefit both individuals and big business. The current business benefits of cloud computing include:

Energy Savings

Cloud computing reduces the amount of energy needed to conduct business. A 2010 study conducted by Accenture, Microsoft and WSP Environment and Energy found that businesses using cloud computing reduced their energy consumption by 30 percent for large companies and 90 percent for small businesses. Companies no longer need massive amounts of energy to power their servers and physical hardware.

Going Paperless

Cloud computing is helping businesses go paperless. Putting data on the cloud alleviates the need to leave a paper trail and can save money in printing costs, storage space and supplies. A study done by iDatix showed that a business with eight employees could save $10,000 per year, while a business with 370 employees could save up to $1 million annually.

Shared Data

Telecommuting isn’t just for 20-somethings and work-from-home moms anymore, according to the New York Times. As the U.S. workforce increasingly goes mobile and Internet access expands and speeds up, working from home has become an viable option for many. Telecommuting reduces costs for businesses by requiring less computer equipment, office space, supplies and power usage. It also helps reduce the carbon footprint by reducing the number of people commuting to work each day. Employees can collaborate on projects, share information and increase production speeds while telecommuting, making it a win-win situation for employees and employers alike.

Data Access and Security

Cloud computing increases ease of access to information, making it easier to expand globally. On the cloud, data is transferred seamlessly, cloud backup costs less and disaster recovery is simplified.

One of the main concerns that has prevented businesses from adopting cloud technology is the security risk. Know who has access to your data and limit that access based on user needs. Other smart ways to protect your cloud data include protecting devices with virus scans and password protection and adding a layer of advanced security intelligence analytics. This provides visibility into the data center and infrastructure of the cloud, according to the Guardian. When you have numerous users accessing the cloud from different places, you have to take the right precautions to ensure security.

If you are interested in online backups, contact Cold Snap Technology at 218-744-1210 and ask us about the CST Cloud.

The Cloud

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

So, you may have heard of “The Cloud” by now, probably mentioned in an advert or some other form of media, but what exactly is it? Simply, The Cloud refers to the most efficient way currently to store and share information – files are stored over the Internet rather than on a hard drive or through physical devices like CD-ROMs or USB flash drives. Why is it called “The Cloud” though? This is due to the way it is referenced, much like actual clouds; your stored data floats around in virtual space between all applied devices. Using The Cloud has several immediate advantages.

Utilizing The Cloud, files are stored over the internet. Some benefits include having backup protection and instant availability. Many modern companies and tech-savvy individuals are claiming Cloud space for themselves already – and the only two requirements using The Cloud has are the amount of available space, and having an active internet connection.

Cloud storage offers a great method of file backup for personal use OR business use. In the past, companies would copy all of their data to giant tape rolls and send them offsite, while personal users back up their data to physical mediums and store them away. There is a better way, and that would be The Cloud. Say you are working on a presentation for a meeting the next day. You finish it, and save the file to your personal Cloud. The next morning before work though, tragedy strikes, and your hard drive fails! The file could be corrupted or outright destroyed… thankfully; you saved the file to your Cloud. Using a different computer or other internet capable device you access your Cloud and there is that presentation along with all of the other files you have stored there. This works with virtually any kind of file, so long as it fits in your allotted Cloud space.

As previously mentioned, using the Cloud can offer you immediate availability on your files. So long as you have Cloud space and an internet connection, any file can be saved from any location that is linked to your Cloud. Then, anywhere else that is also coupled will have that file accessible as soon as it is downloaded. For example, uploading a document from your office computer to your Cloud will mean that as soon as you get home and without having to have any equipment on you, that file can be downloaded and handled at home – as long as your home computer is on the same Cloud network. Imagine it’s an image – now both computers (along with any others connected) will be able to view it instantly.

How Cloud storage works: It’s really no more than simple file sharing. You can rent space from a company who sells it. That space you are renting from them is on the company’s servers is now your personal storage area. When you upload a file it is sent to that set of computers, and then those computers redistribute it to all of your devices – and typically (depending on network speed) it is usable within seconds.

How Cloud Computing Is Changing Consumer Electronics

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

How businesses are embracing the cloud.

The cloud is taking over our favorite mobile devices. Apple was one of the first to jump on the cloud computing bandwagon, and if you have any of their products, from an iPhone to an iPad, you have “the cloud.” It is convenient from the standpoint that an old email from six months ago, that you need now is available and hanging in limbo in the cloud, but inconvenient because Apple, and other companies that have cloud services, limit it to a certain amount of data for each consumer. If you are in need of more “cloud space” they notify you and you can pay for the extra space  needed to store everything you want there.

While this isn’t great news for consumers of these products, it’s excellent news for the sellers. Their investments in cloud technology and remote backup services will make reasonable gains for them over the next few years. While the projected expectations of growth look small now, given what the economy has been, fewer and fewer companies are investing in infrastructure and software updates and more in cloud services, making the predictions for this a little trickier and stickier, but gains none the less.

Investing In The Cloud

So who are the big investors in cloud and how does that effect consumer electronics purchases? In some cases it doesn’t, as Google doesn’t offer consumer electronics, just services. In other cases, as with Microsoft, it’s huge. Microsoft has made the move to compete with Apple and other consumer electronics manufacturers by developing touch screen tablets, Windows phones, and even a touch screen PC recently unveiled at a cloud computing expo. Even its popular MS Office software got “the touch effect” in an effort for Microsoft to stay ahead of Google who now has its own applications that mimic MS Office software.

Microsoft also recognizes that it has to try and get ahead of Apple, who practically has the market cornered on touch devices as the consumers gobble these up every time Apple emerges with an updated version. Microsoft hopes that it can get some of the market away from Apple but as a company, they know they need to make Windows 8 and touch screens irresistible to consumers.

Get Your Piece Of The Cloud

Investors are looking to cash in on new technology and the cloud is it. The question is, how to go about it with finesse, and not lose your shirt? The best website and news blurb to read on the subject of investing is MotleyFool.com, or look in your local paper in the business section. The owners and inventors of the Motley Fool column have tips for getting in on the best stocks and how to make your investments pay off. I’ve read the column myself every Sunday, and the advice is always sound. The owner told everybody years ago to invest in remote backup services, as cloud was called then, and those that did are rolling in it now. But it’s not too late to follow Motley Fool’s advice and get your piece of the cloud, too.

Your remaining investment options are to go with a company that incorporates cloud into their electronics, because you know consumers will keep buying them. Microsoft, Google and Amazon are all looking for investment partners. Maybe the new investment partner could be you.

How To Tell When Your Hard Drive Is Failing

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

There are many different symptoms of a failing hard drive, such as awkward noises, or even blue screening, or your computer might not even run the operating system. All hard drives are destined to fail eventually, so it’s best to be prepared.

How do hard drives fail?

Hard drives fail in many different ways, such as logical failures, media failures, head failures, and mechanical failures. Symptoms that tell you if and when your hard drive could be failing are strange noises, disappearing data and disk errors, your computer stops recognizing your drive, your computer crashes, or just really slow access times. The circuits built into the hard drive that direct traffic of data between the hard drive and the rest of the computer is called the hard drive’s firmware. When problems with the firmware make a hard drive stop working, that is called logical failure. Failure caused by a hard drive getting jarred while the heads are engaged or overheated enough so that the platters get warped may lead to media/head failure. The most common type of hard drive failure is mechanical failure, which happens when the motor burns out, or the bearings get stuck.

Here are some basic diagnostics you can use to make sure it is indeed the hard drive failing:

  1. Check to ensure the power cable is properly connected to the drive.
  2. Ensure the IDE ribbon cable, or SATA data firmly attached and aligned properly.
  3. Master/Slave assignment jumpers are positioned correctly, if the drive has jumpers.
  4. Make sure the BIOS settings for your computer are appropriate for your hard drive.

What can we do to protect your data

Many people don’t use backups; therefore if and when their hard drive fails, all data would be lost, with little chance of recovery. You should plan ahead and employ a backup solution that fits your needs.

Be sure to prepare yourself against a hard drive failure by purchasing a CST Cloud subscription today so you don’t have to risk losing all your data. Other options are on CD Media, flash drives, or external hard drives; however, with those devices you risk the theft, loss, or damage of the device and loss of your data. CST Cloud keeps your backups safely off site, so even in the case of a disaster, you will still have your data.

What is malware?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

A malware is a program that tells your computer to do something you dont want it to do. A virus or any other malware can be very hard to detect or not very hard to detect. No matter what the circumstances all malware make your computer run less efficient in one way or another. A virus is malware that gets copied when ever you do something on your computer.

A virus is not a bug, because a bug is what happens when someone makes an error in writing a program, a virus is a program purposely made to wreck your computer. Computers can be protected from viruses by using some form of anti-virus such as AVG, Avast, or another antivirus program.

Another form of protection from malware is keeping your computer up to date.

1. Trojan (Horse) – A trojan is a program that looks normal until you run it, then you may start to notice changes in how your computer operates.

2. Worms – A worm is a type of malware that spreads from your computer to others on the same network.

3. Virus – A virus is a type of malware that spreads whenever you tell your computer to do something.

4. Fake AV – Fake antivirus disguises itself as an antivirus program until you download it on to your computer.

5. Rogue Proxies – A rogue proxy is what occurs when someone hacks your dns server and they may be able to access all of your credit card numbers and other banking information.

If you have experienced any of these problems, contact us at Cold Snap Technology, and we will see what we can do to get your computer healthy again.

How might a backup for your data be useful?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

A backup for your files might be useful in the event of your data being corrupted, damaged or deleted during a catastrophe. Having a good backup plan means less work of recovering the data you lost, or simply keeping you from losing data at all. You can backup your data in many different ways to make the recovery possible such as a usb flash drive, a cloud, or a disk. Flash drives and other local storage risk being lost or stolen, but cloud backup cannot be misplaced, and is protected by a strong encryption.

Why cloud backup is better than others

A cloud is probably one of the best ways you can backup your files, because you can access your data from anywhere an internet connection is available even after disaster strikes and everything on site is destroyed. Cloud backup compared to local backup solutions provides more security, availability, and reliability. With CST Cloud you dont have to worry about keeping your data safe, because we get alerts if anything goes wrong. CST Cloud is automated and can be managed remotely. Another benefit of our cloud solution over on-site backup is the different location of your backup. When a flood hit Duluth, Minnesota recently, anyone using only a local backup solution lost data, even though they had a backup “ON SITE.” Using a cloud solution instead, the data would not have been destroyed during the flood. A good cloud backup provides disaster recovery plan, quarterly disaster recovery testing, and backup restore support.

The HIPAA security rule ensures that the confidentiality of your data is maintained, and protected against threats or hazards. Since clouds are not on site, it keeps your data safe from threats and hazards including storms and fires. CST Cloud has strong encryption to guarantee confidentiallity applying a 256 bit AES storage, and 128 bit SSL transfers.

Dont just get a local backup, get CST Cloud, it is much more efficent and you dont have to carry it with you all the time.