Eleven Uses for Online Backup

An exhaustive list of the uses for online backup would make this post book length, and everyone is sick of “top ten” lists, so here’s a list of eleven reasons why you should have online backup.

  1. For your business, it’s a sure way to make certain that you don’t go out of business should a fire, burglary or computer malfunction occur.  If you’re already backing everything up to, say, external hard drives, online backup gives you protection should they become corrupted.
  2. If you have an irreplaceable video from your granddaughter’s birthday party, you can secure it and retrieve it from anywhere; and, you can share it with others without wrestling with a file that’s too large for email.
  3. If you’re writing the great American novel, or even the next cheesy slasher screenplay, you might want to be able to access and work on it from anywhere and from any computer.  And, you don’t want to have to download it to someone else’s computer to work on it, lest you watch in horror as your (former) best friend accepts the Oscar.
  4. All of you photos are important, and all need to be secure and accessible from anywhere.  Depending on just your computer’s hard drive is a terrible mistake.
  5. Your resume’ and cover letter, as well as versions that you’ve sent out.
  6. All of your emails, texts and personal notes.
  7. Your tax return.  While this is an extremely sensitive and personal document, losing it can be hazardous to your health.  If you choose the right solution provider (ElephantDrive offers security that is second to none) you have nothing to worry about.
  8. Your birth certificate and those of your children.  (Who knows, one of them may want to run for President someday.)
  9. Anything you may want to transfer to another device.  Sure, some hardware manufacturers offer cloud services, but data syncing covers only their products.  You need to be able to sync effortlessly regardless of how many different devices from different manufacturers you are using.

10. Anything you may want to share with someone else.  As Point 2 says, some files are just too large to email, and picking and choosing files to email to multiple recipients can be a major pain.

11. Anything to which you want to have access from anywhere.  Suppose you’ve got some unexpected down time and would like to work on that business proposal, but you don’t have your laptop.  With online backup, you can access your data from any computer with an Internet connection.

So, that covers eleven out of a potential million or so.  But just these eleven are reason enough to rethink your data storage and backup strategy.  You need to be protected against all contingencies and availed of all conveniences, and nothing does it better than cloud services for online backup.

A Brief History of Storage – Part 2. The Ascendancy of Online Storage.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”  — Albert Einstein

In Part 1, we left off with magnetic tape and the microprocessor revolution.  But as processing power increased, so too did the need for storage and backup.  Enter the hard drive.

It’s not that the hard drive wasn’t around before the mid ‘80s, it’s just that it looked like the picture below (as a frame of reference to size, think about two refrigerators) and it cost about $10 to store one megabyte. It was in 1983 that IBM introduced the PC/XT, and the hard drive became a component of virtually every computer sold thereafter.  And, hard drive backup became a reality.  But what good is a backup copy of data stored on a hard drive if the hard drive itself is corrupted?  Not much, so enter the next stage of storage development, the floppy disk.

Like the name would indicate, the original floppy disks were actually disks, and they were floppy.   By the late 1990s they had evolved into 3.5 inch diskettes, and could store a whopping 256 megabytes.  Backup and storage then, became a simple matter of downloading all of your data onto diskettes, and like the original punched card backups, finding a safe and secure place to store them.   We can now telescope a bit to the present, because the next steps happened so quickly (CD’s, thumb drives, et al) it seems like a blur.  And, it’s not so much the method of storage that became the issue, but rather what was being stored, and for whom.

As mentioned earlier, the microprocessor revolution made memory inexpensive and storage capacities virtually unlimited.  Yet, issues remained.  For example:

  1. The more storage space you have, the more you are likely to store, and the more you are likely to store, the more likely you are to jump out the window of a ten story building if your data is lost.
  2. The cheaper the cost of computing, the more hardware you are likely to own.
  3. The more processing power, the greater the capability to store more than just data; for example audio, music, movies and photos.
  4. As technology becomes a greater part of your life, so too does the need to easily access that which technology makes possible.

That leads to the current stage in the evolution of data storage: Online storage and backup, and not just for gigantic banks or corporations.  Just as computing power has come to the household, so has the ability to use “other peoples’ servers” a.k.a. “The Cloud.”  Now, capacity is not a factor, nor is convenient accessibility, shared files or synchronization between devices.  And, most importantly, is price.   Anyone can afford to tap into the revolution that is cloud computing.  Let’s see, lots of memory, remarkable intelligence and a cost that’s, well, peanuts compared to the value you get.  No wonder they call it ElephantDrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief History of Storage (Online and Otherwise) Part 1.

“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.”

—Aristotle

And who is going to doubt Aristotle?  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how this thing called file storage evolved into what is today the remarkable ability for even the most technically-challenged consumer to utilize solutions like ElephantDrive, a tool that pre-moon launch NASA would have envied.

It all started in 1951, when a little company called IBM (actually, they weren’t little even back then) began to use punch cards for data storage.  The punch cards themselves were a “primitive” way to program computers, not store data, but if you wanted to back up what you programmed, you simply duplicated the punched cards and stored them in a safe place.

As programming became more complex, and the data more voluminous, punch cards were replaced by magnetic tape.  If you google ”magnetic tape” today, you’re likely to come up with a product sold in office supply stores.  That’s not what we’re talking about here.  Rather, we’re referring to “A sequential storage medium used for data collection, backup and archiving.”  Too complicated?  Just think of an old-fashioned tape recorder, only with data on it instead of your feeble attempt to sound like Sam Cooke.  Ten spools of magnetic tape could contain as much data as a million punch cards, so by the ‘60s, punched card storage was going the way of the dinosaur, and magnetic tape would be the storage medium of choice through most of the 1980s.

More importantly, the market began to realize that tape backup was a feasible way to eliminate that 100,000 square foot document storage warehouse.

So far, we’ve dealt with business use cases.  The desktop revolution had yet to begin, although by the mid- ‘80s, the notion that you could actually have one of those computer “thingies” in your home was beginning to take hold.  And this notion was driven by the same force that facilitated virtually every important development in computing over the last thirty years – the advancements in the manufacture of microprocessors.  This led to the expansion of the computer universe, from the business computer room with the raised floor to the geek with a desktop PC in the room above the garage.   And, from there, to the average non-technically savvy consumer.

The microprocessor evolution/revolution would lead to something else; the ability to do more things and the need to store more digital content.  And more content to store would present the need for more and easier ways to backup that content.   In Part 2, we’ll look at the next steps in the development of storage, and how these advancements brought us to where we are today.

 

The Unlimited Power of The Cloud.

My friend edits movie trailers, which ultimately means he’s sitting in front of his computers for hours on end looking over footage. At any given time when you go to his apartment he has roughly 8 to 10 external hard drives scattered around his desk, like he’s building a fort with them. When I was hanging at his house, I finally had it and couldn’t look at the clutter any longer. It was too much to take.

I told my friend it was time for a change; I couldn’t stand this anymore. He went on to tell me he hates them (which I didn’t know) and if he could find something with more space he’d change immediately. I honestly wish I knew this. I was under the impression my friend had some kind of love for the external hard drives. Immediately I told him about The Cloud and ElephantDrive.

Again, he reiterated to me that he needs space. Yes, I know, I said, and told him you can actually get as much space as he needed.  If he wasn’t sold then, he was sold when he found out he had the capability to do back ups on all of his devices, he could have an automatic sync, he was secured, and he had support.

Moments later we backed up all of his external hard drives and marveled at the space that was saved in his office. Suddenly his office just seemed bigger and easier to be in. I even think that my friend was a bit happier. When we opened the cloud, all of his files were sorted as he wanted them – it was a new, clean, and better approach to his file back ups.

He proceeded to sit at his computer and edit for another few hours, with all the space he needed and back ups to boot.

The Move and The Cloud.

There may not be a single time in life that’s more frantic than when someone is moving. I don’t know about anyone else but the few times I’ve moved have been filled with nothing but procrastination, and last week was no exception. I was parting way with my buddy that I’ve been living with since college; we’ve been living together for almost 4 years and this move was seemingly more significant than two roommates moving on: it was the end of an era.

Around year 2 of living together my computer crashed and I started to use his computer for basically everything. I began saving things to his desktop, and even made folders for myself. He didn’t really care, and I always told myself I’d just back everything up when I needed to. I wish someone told me that I was irresponsible, because my planned back up never happened.

As soon as I left our apartment I instantly realized how much I had left behind – specifically all of the computer stuff. I began to realize how much I needed all of my old files that I never transferred to my computer. I called my buddy and he told me he’d back them up on a hard drive and send them, but I think somewhere deep down we both knew that wasn’t going to happen (we both procrastinate).

I was running through various scenarios as to how I was going to get all my stuff back and then it hit me – The Cloud! I set up an ElephantDrive account and talked him through the simple steps to get us a joint account. Even for people like us, who both like to put everything off, this was an extremely simple solution. My friend backed everything up and an hour later I had all of my old files back.

It was oddly bittersweet getting everything back; the file transfer solidified our move… The Cloud is officially helping me move on.

 

The Cloud and How it Reminded Me That I Love My Fiancé.

Judgment day was finally upon me. A work presentation that I neglected for over a month was due in one day. Throughout my workday and before the presentation my boss had asked me specifics about what I was presenting. My mission was to basically create a marketing campaign for a new business, so any time anyone would ask me how things were coming I’d just brush it off or make something up, knowing full well that when I got home I’d be having an all night work marathon.

Part of me was frantic; the other part of me was angry with myself for delaying this as long as I did. On my drive home I called my fiancé and told her that when I walked in the house to not talk to me because I needed to head to the computer and work – that was my way of prepping her that I may be in a very bad mood for the rest of the night.

When I walked in, the computer was already on. I sat down and didn’t move for about 8 straight hours – I was in work mode. As I was working I was thinking that if I could work all the time like I do while in a last minute rush I might be a super human… And then it happened. Out of nowhere my computer just went black. I sat frozen staring at the screen for a good minute, clicked, turned it back on, and yelled: NO!

My fiancé came in to see why I was yelling. The computer crashed, I said. She was nonchalant and said It will be okay. What? How could it be okay? I was freaking out. I reopened my program and saw nothing. I couldn’t believe it; it was as though my last 8 hours were for nothing. I kept searching – nothing. I started to play scenarios out in my head about what I would say at work knowing full well I couldn’t finish this thing in time. It was too late. I stood up and started to pace around the room.

My overly calm fiancé sat down in my chair, I kept pacing and then as I turned around I saw it – it was back! On the screen, exactly where I left off, was my beautiful work project. I didn’t say anything, just stared. Then my fiancé said: I told you; you should be using The Cloud more often. She went on to say that she had purchased ElephantDrive, and apparently we’d had it for months.

I told her I didn’t do anything to back it up. She went on to tell me that it automatically backs up your workflow for you, and every few minutes it saved what I was working on. Apparently it starts as soon as the computer turns on. I almost cried from happiness.

As I went to work the next day, fully reminded why I love my fiancé, I talked about the beauty of the cloud for about 15 minutes before my presentation.

If you’re wondering – the presentation went great.

 

 

Security, Security, Security.

My boss treats everything like he’s a secret agent. He’s always told me that the security of his personals is the most important thing to him. When he told me he needed to secure and back up his files, I immediately thought of The Cloud and ElephantDrive. When I told him about it, he asked if I could set it up for him. I said it doesn’t take that much time, but for whatever reason he insisted I do it.

As I was sitting in his office on the brink of officially getting him set up he pounced on me with questions. I knew he was going to ask me them, it was inevitable.

My boss is pretty frantic, so you have to imagine every question with stress and on the brink of yelling.

“Is someone going to steal this info!?”

No, it’s secure.

“How do you know!?”

I showed him ElephantDrive’s principles of security and read about the encryption they use so nobody can access your personals. I showed him that ElephantDrive has secure servers and closes off all ports that don’t need to be open – nobody can access it. He proceeded to read, and I saw his stress level go down a bit.

“Well what if someone steals my computer!?”

I told him that he could make a secure password so he’s the only one who can access his files, no matter what. An added bonus is that if he wanted to share files with anyone, he can also add another password on that so absolutely nobody would see it.

He scratched his eyebrow while looking a bit impressed. Eventually he gave me the okay to install. The installation took just a few minutes and before I could make it out of the office I told him he could securely access his files from any computer. He finally gave me the okay to leave.

As I was walking out I couldn’t help but respect how he likes his security… And I’m starting to seriously think he’s a secret agent.

 

Europe Loves the Cloud? Indeed, Good Sir.

A new study is out on trends in adoption of cloud solutions among Europeans, and – if its numbers are to be believed – Britons are pretty far ahead of their continental brethren in hopping onto the cloud. 

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/internet/3332520/brits-most-likely-use-cloud-storage-on-regular-basis/

A web hosting firm surveyed 272 Europeans on their web habits, finding that 63 percent of British respondents used cloud-based storage regularly, compared with the overall European average of 40 percent. The survey found that digital memories, work documents, and personal documents were the most commonly stored items. According to the survey, videos aren’t as popular a medium to store in the cloud, likely due to bandwidth limitations. But even in this sector, Britons were more likely to use the technology, with 42 percent of respondents indicating they store videos in the cloud.

The survey also found that security is a sizable concern among those that haven’t been using the cloud. No surprise there, as overall security and online privacy rights have become quite the issues in the EU. Recent EU proposals would call for greater security and clarity regarding user data and users’ rights to that data, and a number of sites you may have heard of  are having their own issues with the implications of the new EU user privacy regulations. (Of course, you already know about ElephantDrive’s world-class security, and our EULA is readily available for you to see.)

The aforementioned survey didn’t go into specifics, though, on what users like the most from their storage services. No word on whether ease of use trumped accessibility, or if price was the ultimate consideration. But no matter your top consideration, no matter if you’re in Europe or elsewhere, it’s probably a good idea to go with the cloud storage system that offers ease, ubiquity, and security at a wide range of prices: ElephantDrive.

More local govts moving to the #cloud to cut costs. http://bit.ly/wQSaw9

Do EU’s new #privacy #law proposals = boost for the cloud industry? http://bit.ly/wSAleU 

@engadget sees #megaupload scaring other sites. http://engt.co/yvLCK0 still best to stick with the legal http://bit.ly/zqn3f

Smallbusinessblog sees the benefits of the #cloud for – surprise! – small businesses. http://bit.ly/yRPgzI

A Quantum of Security?

It seems like just about every day, some news comes out showing that quantum computing is moving out of the realms of science fictiony predictions and labs and closer and closer to an everyday reality. Now, news comes out of the University of Vienna that the technology could have remarkable implications for computer security, and cloud computing in specific.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/uov-qpe011612.php

 

First, a quick primer. Quantum computing is based in part on the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. Put plainly, quantum entanglement means that there is some force that binds particles across vast distances, so that changing one particle in Location A means that another particle in Location B changes instantaneously. Think that’s weird? You’re not alone: Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance.”  There’s more, actually, including quantum superposition, but quantum superposition may scare you and make you question your worldview (or just give you a headache) so we’re going to keep it simple.

 

Now that you’re thoroughly confused, back to Vienna. Researchers there have applied quantum computing to the problem of security in cloud computing. Their work would, essentially, allow users to choose an encryption key known only to them before the transmission of data. The data is transmitted to and processed by a remote server, before being sent back to the user. Through the whole process, no one but the user is privy to the actual information transmitted, even if they manage to eavesdrop on the transmission.

 

Of course, as with just about anything with “quantum” in its name, all of this is quite a ways off before it reaches mass market applicability. In the mean time, if you’re looking to ensure your data is secure when you store it, keep in mind that ElephantDrive provides military-grade security for all of your stored data. It might not be “spooky,” but it’s secure enough for the most secure institutions in the world today.

 

In the future, there will be quantum computers and your elephantdrive will update automatically. Oh wait that’s now http://bit.ly/zqn3f

 

 

 

 

 

ElephantDrive Never Forgets

You might be wondering why exactly our site is called ElephantDrive. I know I was when I first started to use the website – after all, a file hosting website doesn’t seem to have much in common with a 13,000-lb. land animal native to Africa and India.

Well, here’s a list of elephant-related things that ElephantDrive is definitely not named after:

Well, here are the real reasons why we’re called ElephantDrive. First, we’re big. No one can top the sheer amount of storage we can offer on our servers – everything from 2GB of space for “Personal” accounts with our free “Lite” account to as much as you can store with the “Enterprise” accounts. Second, we “work for peanuts.” No matter the amount of storage space you need, you won’t find a better, cheaper price online. For more details, you can see the pricing here (http://home.elephantdrive.com/plans-and-pricing). Finally, (just like an elephant), we won’t forget. Your data won’t get lost or corrupted, so you’ll always be able to “remember” that vital file you need for work or play.

To close, let me post another jam off of that White Stripes album. My fingers almost fell off trying to play this one. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhWyoJadUSE)

Elephants: they’re big, they work for peanuts, and they won’t forget. Just Like ElephantDrive.