“What would you do if you lost everything?”
San Francisco, CA — March 31st has been declared World Backup Day. With so much of our lives, photos, videos, and business data being stored in digital form, it is important that we begin to make backups of our precious data. Backing up your data is one of those easy-to-do procedures that many people ignore.
People now create and generate over 1.8 zettabytes of data per year.¹ That’s a lot of data that we need to protect! Unfortunately, nearly 30% of people have never even backed up their data.² Backing up your data will protect your life’s work when that hard drive fails. If you are a small business, a data backup can be what saves your company. World Backup Day is here to make sure that people actually start backing up.
World Backup Day can easily be observed by spreading the word of data integrity and automatic backup. Share World Backup Day with all your friends and family. The virtues of both local and offsite data backup sites should be extolled. People should relay and take heed of the tales of devastating data disasters like the loss of an entire season of a children’s television series³ or the near complete loss of customer data by Microsoft’s & T-Mobile’s Sidekick.⁴ Even Pixar accidentally lost nearly 90% of the animated film Toy Story 2 to an errant computer command.⁶ So sad, all they needed was a proper backup plan that included regularly testing the data restores.
And to all the IT professionals saying “Hoho! I’m good. I already got backups.” Then March 31st is a great day to tell your bosses and colleagues about the importance of data backups. If you are a small or medium sized business, then a data disaster can be the end your company. Ever heard of the bookmark sharing site called Mag.nolia? Of course you didn’t, they suffered a catastrophic data disaster and had to shut down when they lost both their primary and backup data stores.⁷
Already have a backup procedure in place? If you don’t, consider making a plan to protect your data. One should also check (and then recheck) your backup restores on World Backup Day to see if they actually work. After all, a backup plan that doesn’t work isn’t much of a backup plan.
A word from the founder of World Backup Day
“I’m thrilled with the response to World Backup Day, and I hope it’s made a difference in people’s lives,” said World Backup Day founder Ismail Jadun. “We all know someone who has lost critical data, whether it was their videos, photos, music, book reports, or personal stuff. Hopefully this day will make everyone think about their situation, learn about the various options and get their files backed up. I hope that World Backup Day sparks conversations about the enormous task of saving our digital heritage for future generations.”
About World Backup Day
World Backup Day was chosen to be the day before April 1st (April Fools) in order to drive the message that one should backup all those pictures, spreadsheets, love letters, cat pictures, & important financial documents before it’s too late.
Key points about backing up data from WorldBackupDay.com:
- Items to backup: Your computer, laptop, phone, iPod, tablet, other wireless devices, photos and videos on social networks.
- Common ways to lose data: Theft, hardware failure, natural disaster, alien invasion, obsolete file formats, you forgot where you put it (really, it has happened).
- Backup options: Backing up is easy. Once set up, your data should be backing up automatically. There are two main types of backup solutions:
- Local backup: An external hard drive that can be easily retrieved at home.
- Cloud/offsite backup: An online backup service or hard drive securely placed in a different location
- Having both local and offsite backups gives you piece of mind knowing your files are safe and secure.
- If you are working in a business:
- tell your bosses & colleagues about the importance of data backups
- check your backup procedures & restores to make sure everything is up-to-date and working.
- if don’t have one, consider creating a company data backup & continuity plan
Don’t be an April Fool. Backup your data. World Backup Day is March 31st.
World Backup Day is March 31st.
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P.S. Cake is also an acceptable method of celebrating World Backup Day on March 31st provided there is enough cake for everyone.
 Extracting Value from Chaos, IDC Digital Universe study
 [Backblaze survey](https://www.backblaze.com/blog/the-survey-says-apathy-is-winning)
 [Zodiac Island data loss](http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9215417/Lawsuit_claims_fired_data_center_worker_wiped_out_TV_show)
 [Sidekick data loss](http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/10/10/t-mobile-microsoft-lost-all-the-sidekick-backups/)
 [Pixar Toy Story 2 data loss](http://www.quora.com/Did-Pixar-accidentally-delete-Toy-Story-2-during-production?share=1)
 [Pixar Toy story 2 data loss transcript](http://thenextweb.com/media/2012/05/21/how-pixars-toy-story-2-was-deleted-twice-once-by-technology-and-again-for-its-own-good)
 [Mag.nolia shutdown](http://www.wired.com/2009/01/magnolia-suffer)
Fall 2013, the Cryptolocker malware made its debut and terrified computer users worldwide with its ability to hold whole computers for ransom, encrypting the files on infected devices and refusing to unlock them unless the victim paid a fee. Throughout 2014, Cryptolocker mutated into RIG, Game-Over Zeus (GOZ) and OphionLocker, getting more and more nefarious with each new release, and it does not appear to be slowing down.
Lost in the media hype about embarrassing emails of Sony Exec’s, and the delayed release of The Interview, the original talks between Sony and hackers that stole information from the companies computer systems was an attempt to extort money in return for not taking the information public. Sony refused and soon thereafter the private information and emails were released to the prying eyes of the internet.
More commonly, especially with Small Business networks and Home Offices, ransomware locks and encrypts the data and information stored on an infected computer or device, preventing the user from gaining access. Then the virus demands money, usually in some form of untraceable currency, to unlock the users data. Users who have reportedly paid the ransom get mixed results, some get a key to get their data back, others lose their money and their data.
Scared yet? You should be. This is a growing problem, mostly on older machines that don’t receive software updates anymore, or machines that do not have adequate virus protection. Currently, St. Aubin Technologies recommends and uses a 3 step approach to preventing ransomware and virus infections. Network security, Up-to-date workstations, and up-to-date Anti-Virus protection.
Its is now more important than ever to have strong network security protocols. Your networks first line of protection is to prevent the infection from ever gaining access to your network devices and workstations. Utilizing network security features can prevent ransomware and viruses from ever entering your network in the first place. Consider web filtering for instance; its not just for filtering your users and patron’s from utilizing your internet connection for watching porn, or controlling your users to be more productive by keeping them off of Facebook. Web filtering is a useful tool that can save your users from going to infected web-sites, or sites that are designed to trick users into installing viruses such as Cryptolocker and GOZ. Lets say that your devices are cars on the network, and the data they hold are the occupants of that car. Web filtering is like the bumper on a car, it can save the rest of the body from the drivers slight mistakes that could have been detrimental if that initial crush zone wasn’t there.
Remember early last year when you received notices from Microsoft and St. Aubin Technologies about the End-of-Life for Microsoft Windows XP? Those machines no longer receive the updates we are talking about. Probably time to consider replacing them if you already haven’t. Your networks second line of defense is the machine operating systems themselves. These operating systems should be up-to-date with the latest security patches available. If you are using XP or Server 2003 at this time in your network, and you do not have a plan to replace these machines yet, you need to. These are serious security concerns, and those older machines are the weak-link in your network. In our car crash from before, the security patches and operating systems on your machines are the structure around the passenger space, giving the car its form and look, but also proving ridged at this time of need and preventing in every way it can the other object from penetrating this protective shell and getting to the occupants.
Your networks third defense is the workstations and servers antivirus protection. St. Aubin Technologies has long been a fan of avast! antivirus protection. avast! Business Protection suites provide advanced protection for your workstations and servers, giving you peace-of-mind that if a user does accidentally let something through, the antivirus protection is there to save your data. Back to our car accident analogy, your antivirus is like the airbag, cushioning the blow of the impact, attempting to save the occupants. If your airbag is outdated, or non-existent, it won’t work as well (or at all), and your occupants will be lost to the impact.
The last line of defense for any virus, ransomware, or general computer failure is a good backup. You know what is fun about ransomware and in-house backups? An in-house backup (i.e. backup to a USB hard disk) is just a susceptible to ransomware infection and encryption as the machine itself. What this means is if you are using a USB hard disk as a primary backup destination, a ransomware infection can encrypt your backup right along with the rest of your computer. The only way to protect yourself and your data from this kind of failure is an off-site, cloud backup. We highly recommend Carbonite Online Backup. This removes your backup from direct access by the workstation, and its infection, protecting the backup from corruption, and allowing us to restore your data as quickly as possible in the event of a worst-case scenario. This is like the hospital in our car crash. The occupants are hurt and the car is totaled (in a way), but we can help them recover and get into new wheels as quickly as possible.
The battle for your security is an ongoing war, and the total prevention of all is just not possible in this day & age. As we make advances in protection, hackers make advances in intrusion. No one protection system is complete, but we can put in place an arsenal to try and thwart the enemies advances. Utilizing the tools available to implement network security, and keeping operating systems and antivirus protection up-to-date, we can minimize your risk of infection and data loss.
To get your network checked, or to discuss your options for your business, don’t hesitate to call us. 305-247-2227
Today we are beginning the roll out of Clutter to Office 365 business customers, which brings the power of Office Graph to your inbox. Clutter is designed to help you focus on the most important messages in your inbox. It uses machine learning to de-clutter your inbox by moving lower priority messages out of your way and into a new Clutter folder. Ultimately, Clutter removes distractions so you can focus on what matters most.
The Clutter experience
Take a look at this video to learn how Clutter helps you keep focused on the most important items in your inbox.
How Clutter works
Clutter learns from your actions to determine the messages you are likely to ignore. As less important messages arrive, they are automatically moved to the Clutter folder. Clutter does this by leveraging Office Graph’s sophisticated machine learning techniques to determine which messages are Clutter. It gets smarter over time, learning from your prior actions with similar messages, and assessing things like the type of content and even how you are addressed in the message. The Clutter experience is personalized to each individual and reflects an email experience that adapts to your actions and preferences without you having to do anything. The information Clutter learns from each user’s actions are only applied to that user’s experience and are not shared with anyone else.
Getting started with Clutter
By default, Clutter is disabled for your inbox. Each person controls whether to turn Clutter on or off. You control Clutter from the Outlook Web App (OWA) options menu. You can turn it on as soon as Clutter is available for your Office 365 tenant. Clutter begins taking actions once it has sufficiently learned your work style and can confidently begin working for you. If you later find Clutter isn’t for you, it can be turned off any time.
Clutter is best suited and most effective for those of us who tend to pile up messages in our inboxes. Clutter respects your existing email rules, so if you have created rules to organize your email those rules continue to be applied and Clutter won’t act on those messages.
Working with Clutter
The less important messages are simply moved to the Clutter folder. They remain out of your way until you have time to review the items—if you choose to. You can proactively train Clutter by marking items as Clutter or simply move the items to the Clutter folder. If you find items in your Clutter folder that shouldn’t be there, train Clutter by moving the message back to your inbox. Clutter continuously learns and will adapt to your new patterns within days when you begin working on new projects or a new role. As you work with Clutter it will notify you of its activity in your inbox, this is Clutter helping you keep in control of your messages
The Clutter folder allows you to take advantage of the feature across many email clients including Outlook, OWA, OWA for devices, or EAS connected devices. Clutter continuously learns from your actions across these clients. Regardless of the client, the messages moved to the Clutter folder are out of your inbox view—yet readily accessible.
Join the YamJam
On Thursday, November 13th, the Office 365 Technical Network will host a Clutter YamJam from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. PT / 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. UTC to discuss the Clutter feature. For those unfamiliar with a YamJam, it is similar to a “TweetJam” on Twitter or an “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” on Reddit, except it takes place on Yammer. A YamJam provides the opportunity for the community to ask questions and have a discussion with a panel of Microsoft experts on a particular topic.
How to participate:
- Request access to the Office 365 Technical Network.
- Join the Exchange IT Pro group. You can find it by using the Browse Groups function or through the search bar.
- Log in at 9:00 a.m. PT on Thursday, November 13th to ask questions, follow the discussions and connect with Microsoft team members
Frequently asked questions
Q. When will the Clutter feature be available in my Office 365 environment?
A. Customers who have opted into First Release will begin seeing the Clutter feature today. We are first rolling out the feature to those using the English locale, other languages will follow as localization is complete. Deployment to standard deployment tenants is targeted to begin later this month.
Q. I turned Clutter on but nothing happened?
A. Clutter is still learning so that it can provide strong predictions and will only begin taking actions once it has a learned your work style. You can expedite Clutter’s learning by moving messages into the Clutter folder to help train it. The more you move, the faster it will learn.
Q. Can I disable Clutter after I have turned it on?
A. Yes, you can turn Clutter off. It can be turned off from the OWA options page. If turned off existing items in the Clutter folder will remain in the Clutter folder.
Q. How to train Clutter that items are or aren’t Clutter?
A. The easiest way to train Clutter is by simply completing your work. You can explicitly train Clutter by moving items to or from the Clutter folder. In OWA, Clutter-specific actions are available as a right-click commands to mark items as Clutter or not Clutter.
Q. Are clutter items automatically deleted after a specified time period?
A. The Clutter folder does not apply a specific clean-up action. The default policy for a new folder is applied to the Clutter folder at time of creation, and can later be changed. Users in OWA are provided Clutter specific quick clean-up tools to expedite the deletion of the Clutter messages.
Q. Does Clutter work in Outlook desktop clients?
A. Yes. Once turned on by the user, the Clutter folder is available in Outlook and is automatically added in your folder Favorites. In Outlook, users interact with Clutter by moving items to/from the Clutter folder, which trains Clutter for your inbox. You must use the OWA options menu to turn Clutter on or off.