Manage cloud backup services trends in SMBs

Talkin’Cloud reported on compelling new survey data that illustrates how comprehensive cloud backup solutions have become an essential piece of the services portfolio that MSPs offer to their SMB customers.  The recent survey (of 434 U.S. based IT resellers and MSPs) reveals the impact of cloud backup offerings on their business. Key findings from the Survey: Managed Cloud Backup Services are:

  • 51 percent of respondents pointed that “they could not effectively compete without cloud backup solutions as part of their portfolios.”
  • 79% of the survey respondents predicted increasing demand for cloud backup solutions in the next 12 months.
  • 75% of respondents find their managed cloud backup solutions as a gateway to up-selling more high-margin services
  • Reliability and cost are top factors for consideration with reliability of service being a greater of the two.

The top concern for SMBs that are still waiting to adopt cloud backup solutions is the need to keep data on-site for security reasons.  ElephantDrive is one of the most comprehensive cloud backup, sync, and sharing solutions providers and has addressed security concerns by enforcing on-site encryption (using 256-bit AES) of all data backed up to ElephantDrive. This means that you data never leaves your devices unencrypted.  Additionally, the data is transferred over a secure SSL channel. For even greater security, ElephantDrive also offers the option to encrypt data using user provided keys. This ensures that only you (or whomever you share your password with) has the ability to decrypt your data. You can read more about all the security measures ElephantDrive takes to protect our customers data here.

ElephantDrive has been working with resellers and MSPs in the U.S. and internationally to enable them to resell the ElephantDrive cloud backup solution. To learn more about ElephantDrive’s robust reseller program, check out the ElephantDrive Reseller Program PDF here.

Wearables: The Race Heats Up between Android Wear and iWatch

While we tend to focus on cloud backup, storage, and sync issues, sometimes we are just so interested in a new technology we need to talk about it. Not too long ago, we excitedly reported some of the cool new tech and gadgets we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). When we weren’t busy checking out the new cars, 3D printers or the 4K UHDTVs, we were awed by the number of wearables that were introduced.

From Pebble’s Steel to LG’s Lifeband Touch, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear to Sony’s Smartwatch 2 and the rumored iWatch from Apple, this new market already seems crowded (reminds us of cloud storage in that way). Two days ago with Google’s announcement of their developer version of the Android Wear, Apple fans are wondering when the iWatch will be released. It is very likely that these two top players will dominate the wearables market. Let’s take a look at their simulated images.

Android Wear by Google:
androidwear

iWatch by Apple (concept image):

iwatch-concept-nike

Similarities:

Fitness. Android Wear will be able to detect both speed and distance traveled. There will definitely be a focus on fitness. Likewise for the iWatch, Apple had brought some key hires onto the iWatch team: ex-Nike employees, sleep analysis experts and biometric scienticians etc. Moreover, it is widely expected to launch its health monitoring software, possibly on the iOS8, at the WWDC this June.

Voice Command. On the Android Wear, if you want to do more than just getting notifications, Google allows you to respond to your messages or search for things (such as finding toy stores nearby) using voice command. As for iWatch, it will incorporate Siri. There were recent rumors that Apple is beefing Siri up to allow the iWatch to make reservations, send texts etc. It will be interesting and crucial (for these companies) to see what else their respective voice commands and do.

Verdict

The eventual market leader will depend on several factors. First, release dates will be crucial. Though no official release dates were announced for Android Wear, Motorola said it might be summer 2014. Of course, Apple is as tight lipped as usual but the rumors are pinning it to a late 2014 launch. If Apple pushes it further back to 2015, it may lost the early adopters to Google.

Second, features and functionalities are crucial. We all expect to be able to check the weather, read emails and messages, get Facebook notifications, use the maps and of course, monitor our health and other fitness related things. The availability of other apps might give one an edge over the other. For example, if the user is able to access his files stored on the cloud, such as in ElephantDrive, and view them on the go.

One other big factor is the usability of the voice command. On our smartphones, we can just laugh it off when the voice command messes up what we say. However, for the smartwatches, it will not be so funny anymore since there is really no other alternative to send a message or search for things. It will also need to be able to distinguish the user’s voice from other background sounds since this will be used primarily on the go and not in a quiet room.

All in all, it will be interesting to see what each company rolls out. If the product is capable to do many things and takes off, I believe it may replace the smartphone. At that time, we will be left with the smartwatch and the tablet for our mobile devices.

ElephantDrive on NAS: Restore After a Disaster!

ElephantDrive_5_RGB_FileCabinet
Have you ever had a hardware failure or lost a storage device and all your important files are gone?  It’s not surprising if you have – digital disasters are, unfortunately, common occurences.  When bad things like this happen, you will be quite glad that you have backed up your devices, such as NAS, desktop computers, laptops, or phones to ElephantDrive because, while the physical device is no longer working or no longer available, you can still retrieve and restore your data at the ElephantDrive website. What a lifesaver, right?!

There are two methods to retrieve your files from ElephantDrive – Download and Restore:

-For a small number of files (aka mission essentials) that you need to quickly obtain, use the Download function to get few files/folders right away.

-For the full set of backups that you have synced to ElephantDrive from your devices, use the Restore function and expect it to take some time before your complete data set is recovered (duration varies among size of your data storage).  Unlike Download, which is an ad hoc request, Restore is an automated job (similar to your Backup job) that will manage the process over time, even if you need to go offline before the transfer completes.

Download a file/folder:
#1: Log in to your account online: https://vault.elephantdrive.com/account/login.aspx
#2: Navigate to the file or folder that you would like to download
#3: Right-click on the file/folder and select “Download” (or highlight the folder and click on the “Download” button). You must have Java installed on your machine. Check for Java here: http://www.java.com/en/download/installed.jsp

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#4: Select the location on your device where you would like to download the file/folder to. The download window will then show the progress of the download. You will need to keep this window open for the Download to finish. You are done once it’s finished the download process!

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Restore a folder:
#1: Navigate to the folder that you would like to restore
#2: Right-click on the folder and select “Restore Folder” (or highlight the folder and click on the “Restore” button)

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#3: Select a Destination Device and the Destination Path where you would like to restore the folder to. This device must be connected to your account (it can be a NAS device, PC, Windows Server, or Mac) and does not have to be the device where you originally backed up from. This can be set up and initiated offsite as well. Here, you can also enable “Overwrite: to replace any similar named files from the lower left corner.

#4: Click “Start Restore Now” or use the drop-down menu to select a different time to begin the restore.

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You will see a confirmation message once the restore is complete.

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Don’t you love the easy steps to rescue your data? Make sure you back up your NAS and other devices to ElephantDrive.com!

ElephantDrive is proud to partner with these leading NAS manufacturers to ensure the best performance and user experience:

netgear
We are pre-installed as the “ReadyNAS Vault” on nearly all ReadyNAS storage products.

qnap
ED comes pre-installed on nearly all QNAP TurboNAS products.

drobo
ED is pre-installed on all Drobo 5N devices.

wd
ED is pre-installed on the WesternDigital (WD) My Cloud EX4. More to come very soon!

thecus
ED is available on nearly all Thecus storage products.

synology
ED will soon be available on nearly all Synology NAS devices. Stay tuned!

Questions? Feedback? Email us at support@ElephantDrive.com, we are always here to help!

ElephantDrive on NAS: Enable ElephantDrive on Your NAS Devices to Start Protecting your Data in the Cloud

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Now that you have decided on a NAS device that partners with ElephantDrive for your on-premise data storage, you are only a few steps away from achieving an even more robust data protection and access solution by backing up the files on your NAS device to the ElephantDrive secure cloud:

-You need to enable/turn-on ElephantDrive on your NAS device for it to sync data to our cloud.
-You need to authorize your ElephantDrive account on the NAS device (if you don’t already have an account, you can create one easily right from the NAS interface or at our web site).

The procedure of turning on ElephantDrive on your NAS device may be slightly different across NAS device models. In this post we are using the WD EX4 for the tutorial. If you need detailed instructions for a certain device, feel free to contact us at support@ElephantDrive.com or go to our help desk to search for your device: http://support.elephantdrive.com/categories/20072208-NAS-Support.

Here is a quick guide to connect your WD EX4 to ElephantDrive and start backing up your NAS device to the ElephantDrive cloud!

#1: Create an ElephantDrive account.

  • Go to http://home.elephantdrive.com/welcome/nas/. For a limited time, we are giving away FREE 100GB for 3 months just to our NAS users. Click on Get 100GB For 3 Months button to get your FREE account. No credit card required!
  • Step 1 – Enter your name and the email address you would like to use to manage your account.
  • Step 2 – Create a password
  • You have successfully created your ElephantDrive account!

#2: Now that you have an ElephantDrive account, turn “ON” ElephantDrive in the WD My Cloud EX4 interface.

  • ElephantDrive is located under Backups -> Cloud Backups -> ElephantDrive
  • Click the OFF/ON button to turn ON ElephantDrive

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.20.38 PM

  • Once you’ve turned ElephantDrive “ON”, you can login to your ElephantDrive account. Simply click Login

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.20.50 PM

  • Enter your ElephantDrive account credentials and click Login

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.21.03 PM

#3: Once you’ve successfully logged-in to your ElephantDrive account on the NAS, the Status icon will change from gray to blue. It will also display Online when you mouse over the blue icon.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.23.12 PM

You’re now ready to backup your data and shares to the ElephantDrive Cloud. Just click the New device backup wizard link to get started.

After clicking on the New device backup wizard, you may follow along with the Backup Wizard Tutorial here for additional assistance. Time to enjoy the peace of mind of having your data safe and secure!

ElephantDrive is proud to partner with these leading NAS manufacturers to ensure the best performance and user experience:

netgear
We are pre-installed as the “ReadyNAS Vault” on nearly all ReadyNAS storage products.

qnap
ED comes pre-installed on nearly all QNAP TurboNAS products.

drobo
ED is pre-installed on all Drobo 5N devices.

wd
ED is pre-installed on the WesternDigital (WD) My Cloud EX4. More to come very soon!

thecus
ED is available on nearly all Thecus storage products.

synology
ED will soon be available on nearly all Synology NAS devices. Stay tuned!

Questions? Feedback? Email us at support@ElephantDrive.com, we are always here to help!

Frontline of Your Data Security – Building Strong Passwords

Password box on a webpage
Password security check!
As SplashData, a password management application company, recently released its finding of “The Most Common Passwords of 2013,” we are surprised to see that people have been and are still using the most vulnerable passwords that would give hackers and others easy access to the data, personal information, email, and even bank account balance. Building strong, yet memorable, passwords isn’t as difficult as you expect even though it may require a little effort and some knowledge in the logics behind password combinations. However, don’t panic. Here we will show you some rules of thumb to reinforce your password security, easily and effectively.

password 2
Password Security Don’ts

#1: Do not use public information, such as your full name, your kid’s birthday, date of your anniversary, etc. – These types of information are easy to access and commonly known by your acquaintances. If your intimate other can figure out your email password because it’s a combination of your name and his or her birthday, this is probably not the strongest password to use.

#2: Do not use consecutive or repeated numbers and/or letters such as 123456, 000000, abcdefg, abc123, aaabbbccc, etc. – We know this sounds like a no brainer, who uses passwords like these? Well, according to SplashData’s report, 11 out of 25 Most Common Passwords of 2013 fell in this category. Don’t fall for this trap.

#3: Do not use the same passwords for every single site. – When you use the same password for every site you have an account with, it means whenever someone figures out the password to one of your accounts, he has instant access to every other account that you’ve signed up with. As you don’t use the same key for your house and your storage locker, you probably don’t want to use the same “key” for your multiple online accounts.

#4: Do not write the complete passwords down. – What’s the point of having passwords if you are writing them down for others to see? If you absolutely have to write them down, write down hints instead of the actual passwords!

#5: Do not tell others your passwords. If in any case you need to share passwords with someone, use a password manager such as Dashlane, LastPass, SplashID, etc. so you don’t have to give out your actual passwords. Most of these applications also let you access passwords on both desktop and mobile though there may be a small fee that you need to pay for the service.

password 3
Password Security Do’s

#1: Create a password of 8 characters or more. – Length of a password is one of the several important components of building strong passwords. Researches have shown that anything less than 8 characters is considered weak and not as secure as a longer password.

#2: Use a mix of different types of characters. – Complexity matters! Uppercase, lowercase, special characters, and numbers: Seems too complex? Then it’s the way to go! As many websites now actually require using certain combinations of character types, we suggest that people use this rule of thumb for sites that do not require complex character types as well for better password security.

#3: Build a password that you can actually remember. – As simple as it sounds, it’s probably the most difficult among the Do’s that we recommend here, as most of us can somehow relate to the experience of having to reset or retrieve a password because we cannot remember it. 3Hs8%@_djHG!28 may look like a strong password, but it will be an inefficient one if you can’t even remember it.

#4: Change your passwords periodically. – Some suggest changing your passwords every three months, but we think that may increase the chance of forgetting your passwords so we recommend twice a year, or at least once a year.

#5: Know where to recover your passwords when you need to. – Some websites send your password to your email address, some require you to answer a series of security questions before you can reset your password, and some send you a confirmation code via text message for retrieval. Regardless the method of recovering your passwords, make sure you have it set up completely while you sign up for an account with the website/application.

In conclusion, we believe data encryption is important to keep your files and documents secure, but before moving into that step, creating a strong password to protect your access to the data is equally essential and should not be overlooked.

Now that you have a strong password that you can remember to access your account, did we mention that you can utilize our Personal Key Encryption Setting to make the security of your data stored and backed up with ElephantDrive even more impeccable? Find out how to set up Personal Key Encryption in easy steps here: http://support.elephantdrive.com/entries/58086-What-is-a-Personal-Key-in-the-encryption-settings-

P.S. Keep it in mind that most companies, including ElephantDrive, will NEVER need or ask for your account password for any troubleshooting or information verification purposes. Be very cautious when someone reaches out to you for your password. Our advice is not to give out your password because this kind of scenario usually turns out to be a phishing scam.

For your reference, here’s a list of The Most Common Passwords of 2013. Don’t make the same mistakes.

password 4
Read on: http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/01/20/the-25-worst-passwords-of-2013/

Make your cloud backups NSA proof.

Make your cloud backups NSA proof.

Data privacy is of the utmost importance when it comes to securing our user’s data. In the light of the recent revelations of NSA snooping on all types of digital media and communication, we thought it made sense to explore ElephantDrive’s strongest measures for keeping your data in the cloud secure from prying eyes.

First, the basics…

When you backup to the ElephantDrive cloud, ElephantDrive always encrypts your data locally before it gets uploaded to our servers. Any data being uploaded to ElephantDrive is transformed with the Advanced Encryption Standard, also known as AES, using a 256-bit key locally on your device (PC, MAC, server, etc.). By default, this secure encryption key is provided by ElephantDrive. Once the data is encrypted, it is then transferred over to the ElephantDrive servers over a 128-bit secure SSL channel, a second layer of security to prevent anyone trying to intercept the data while in transfer. You can read more about the default security methods we employ to keep your data secure.

These methods will keep your data secure from almost everyone, but what if ElephantDrive is legally forced to hand over your data to the government. In other words, “how do we make it NSA proof?”

In order to make your data NSA proof, ElephantDrive gives you the option to use a “personal encryption key”, which replaces the default encryption key provided by ElephantDrive. This option allows you to use encryption keys that even ElephantDrive doesn’t know or have access to. When you select the “personal encryption key” option, instead of using the default keys provided by ElephantDrive, the keys are derived from your password. Since ElephantDrive doesn’t keep your password in plain text, which is required to obtain any personal encryption keys, it is impossible for us to decrypt your data.

What this means is that in a case ElephantDrive is required by a valid court order to hand over your data to a government agency, such as NSA; we only have your encrypted data to provide to them. As ElephantDrive doesn’t have the keys that were used to encrypt the data, there is nothing further we have that we can provide. This ensures that unless you provide your password to someone, which holds the encryption keys, your data will remain securely encrypted. Even from the NSA!

The feature was originally implemented as an increased security and privacy option for users who wanted to make sure that even if the disks were stolen right out of the secure, locked, video monitored data center, their data would still be totally inaccessible by the bad guys.  But it also works on the “good guys.”  Or the “good bad guys.”  Or however you classify the analysts as No Such Agency.

While this option provides a powerful method of keeping your data secure from others, you do have to make sure that you do not forget your password. If you forget your password, even ElephantDrive will not be able to help recover your data because ElephantDrive doesn’t know your password either (we only know a hash that is generated by your password that we use to verify your account).

You can read more detailed breakdown of how “Personal Encryption Keys” work to encrypt data.

 

security

ElephantDrive App (Beta) for Windows 8 is Ready!

The ElephantDrive team has been hard at work to expand the availability of ElephantDrive across different platforms and OS. We are proud to announce the ElephantDrive App (Beta) for Windows 8 as the newest addition to the existing platforms being supported by ElephantDrive. ElephantDrive now supports Windows (including Windows Servers), MacLinux (Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint)Android, and NAS). The supported NAS devices (QNAP TurboNAS, Netgear ReadyNAS, and Thecus NAS) come with ElephantDrive fully integrated. That means you can directly backup to the cloud from you NAS – no need to set up the backups through a computer.

Windows8-1

With this new addition in our supported platforms, ElephantDrive is truly becoming one of the most friendly cloud backup solution across all platforms. Our team will continue to work to expand our supported platforms. We are also curious to hear from you about which platform would you like to see ElephantDrive on? Just tell us below: