Tag Archives: Backing Up

Interview With Filmmaker Laura D’Antoni

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/interview-with-filmmaker-laura-dantoni/

Laura D'Antoni, filmmaker

I first met Laura D’Antoni when we were shooting B2 Cloud Storage customer videos for Youngevity and Austin City Limits. I enjoyed talking about her filmmaking background and was fascinated by her journey as a director, editor, and all around filmmaker. When she came to the Backblaze office to shoot our Who We Are and What We Do video, I floated the idea of doing an interview with her to highlight her journey and educate our blog readers who may be starting out or are already established in the filmmaking world. We’ve finally gotten around to doing the interview, and I hope you enjoy the Q&A with Laura below!

Q: How did you get involved in visual storytelling?
My interest in directing films began when I was 10 years old. Back then I used my father’s Hi8 camera to make short films in my backyard using my friends as actors. My passion for filmmaking continued through my teens and I ended up studying film and television at New York University.

Q: Do you have a specialty or favorite subject area for your films?
I’ve always been drawn to dramatic films, especially those based on real life events. My latest short is a glimpse into a difficult time in my childhood, told in reverse Memento-style from a little girl’s perspective.

Most of my filmmaking career I actually spent in the documentary world. I’ve directed a few feature documentaries about social justice and many more short docs for non-profit organizations like the SPCA.

Q: Who are you visual storyteller inspirations? What motivates you to tell your stories?
The film that inspired me the most when I was just starting out was The Godfather: Part II. The visuals and the performances are incredible, and probably my father being from Sicily really drew me in (the culture, not the Mafia, ha!). Lately I’ve been fascinated by the look of The Handmaid’s Tale, and tried to create a similar feel for my film on a much, much tinier budget.
As far as what motivates me, it’s the love for directing. Collaborating with a team to make your vision on paper a reality is an incredible feeling. It’s a ton of work that involves a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but in the end you’ve made a movie! And that’s pretty cool.

Q: What kind of equipment do you take on shoots? Favorite camera, favorite lens?
For shoots I bring lights, cameras, tripods, a slider and my gimbal. I use my Panasonic EVA-1 as my main camera and also just purchased the Panasonic GH5 as B-cam to match. Most of my lenses are Canon photo lenses; the L-glass is fantastic quality and I like the look of them. My favorite lens is the Canon 70-200mm f2.8.

Q: How much data per day does a typical shoot create?
If I’m shooting in 4K, around 150GB.

Q: How do you back up your daily shoots? Copy to a disk? Bunch of disks?
I bring a portable hard drive and transfer all of the footage from the cards to that drive.

Q: Tell us a bit about your workflow from shooting to editing.
Generally, if the whole project fits onto a drive, I’ll use that drive to transfer the footage and then edit from it as well. If I’ve shot in 4K then the first step before editing is creating proxies in Adobe Premiere Pro of all of the video files so it’s not so taxing on my computer. Once that’s done I can start the edit!

Q: How do you maintain your data?
If it’s a personal project, I have two copies of everything on separate hard drives. For clients, they usually have a backup of the footage on a drive at their office. The data doesn’t really get maintained, it just stays on the drive and may or may not get used again.

Q: What are some best practices for keeping track of all your videos and assets?
I think having a Google Docs spreadsheet and numbering your drives is helpful so you know what footage/project is where.

Q: How has having a good backup and archive strategy helped in your filmmaking?
Well, I learned the hard way to always back up your footage. Years ago while editing a feature doc, I had an unfortunate incident with PluralEyes software and it ate the audio of one of my interview subjects. We ended up having to use the bad camera audio and nobody was happy. Now I know. I think the best possible strategy really is to have it backed up in the cloud. Hard drives fail, and if you didn’t back that drive up, you’re in trouble. I learned about a great cloud storage solution called Backblaze when I created a few videos for them. For the price it’s absolutely the best option and I plan on dusting off my ancient drives and getting them into the cloud, where they can rest safely until someday someone wants to watch a few of my very first black and white films!

Q: What advice do you have for filmmakers and videographers just starting out?
Know what you want to specialize in early on so you can focus on just that instead of many different specialties, and then market yourself as just that.

It also seems that the easiest way into the film world (unless you’re related to Steven Spielberg or any other famous person in Hollywood) is to start from the bottom and work your way up.

Also, remember to always be nice to the people you work with, because in this industry that PA you worked with might be a big time producer before you know it.

Q: What might our readers find surprising about challenges you face in your work?
In terms of my directing career, the most challenging thing is to simply be seen. There is so much competition, even among women directors, and getting your film in front of the right person that could bring your career to the next level is nearly impossible. Hollywood is all about who you know, not what you know, unfortunately. So I just keep on making my films and refuse to give up on my dream of winning an Academy Award for best director!

Q: How has your workflow changed since you started working with video?
I only worked with film during my college years. It definitely teaches you to take your time and set up that shot perfectly before you hit record,; or triple check where you’re going to cut your film before it ends up on the floor and you have to crawl around and find it to splice it back in. Nowadays that’s all gone. A simple command- z shortcut and you can go back several edits on your timeline, or you can record countless hours on your video camera because you don’t have to pay to have it developed. My workflow is much easier, but I definitely miss the look of film.

Q: Where can we see your work?
The trailer for my latest film Cycle can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/335909934
And my website is: www.leprika.com

Trailer from Cycle, Leprika Productions

The post Interview With Filmmaker Laura D’Antoni appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Reading, Writing, and Backing Up — Are You Ready to Go Back to School?

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/back-to-school-backup-plan/

It's That Time of the Year

Dear students,

We’re very sorry to interrupt your time enjoying the beach, pool, and other fun outdoor and urban places.

We’ve got some important advice you need to hear so that you can be responsible students when you go back to school this fall.

Now that all the students have stopped listening and likely it’s just us now, I’d like to address the parents of students who are starting or about to return to school in the fall.

You’re likely spending a large amount of money on your children’s education. That money is well spent as it will help your child succeed and be good adults and citizens in the future. We’d like to help by highlighting something you can do to protect your investment, and that is to ensure the safety of your students’ data.

Where did summer go?

Our Lives Are Digital Now — Students’ Especially

We don’t have to tell you how everything in our lives has become digital. That’s true as well of schools and universities. Students now take notes, write papers, read, communicate, and record everything on digital devices.

You don’t want data damage or loss to happen to the important school or university files and records your child (and possible future U.S. president) has on his or her digital device.

Think about it.

  • Has your child ever forgotten a digital device in a vehicle, restaurant, or friend’s house?

We thought so.

  • How about water damage?

Yes, us too.

  • Did you ever figure out what that substance was clogging the laptop keyboard?

We’ve learned that parenting is full of unanswered questions, as well.

Maybe your student is ahead of the game and already has a plan for backing up their data while at school. That’s great, and a good sign that your student will succeed in life and maybe even solve some of the many challenges we’re leaving to their generation.

Parents Can Help

If not, you can be an exceptional parent by giving your student the gift of automatic and unlimited backup. Before they start school, you can install Backblaze Computer Backup on their Windows or Mac computer. It takes just a couple of minutes. Once that’s done, every time they’re connected to the internet all their important data will be automatically backed up to the cloud.

If anything happens to the computer, that file is safe and ready to be restored. It also could prevent that late night frantic call asking you to somehow magically find their lost data. Who needs that?

Let’s Hear From the Students Themselves

You don’t have to take our word for it. We asked two bona fide high school students who interned at Backblaze this summer for the advice they’d give to their fellow students.

Marina

My friends do not normally back up their data other than a few of them putting their important school work on Microsoft’s OneDrive.

With college essays, applications, important school projects and documents, there is little I am willing to lose.

I will be backing up my data when I get home for sure. Next year I will ensure that all of my data is backed up in two places.

Andrea

After spending a week at Backblaze, I realized how important it is to keep your data safe.

Always save multiple copies of your data. Accidents happen and data gets lost, but it is much easier to recover if there is another copy saved somewhere reliable. Backblaze helps with this by keeping a regularly updated copy of your files in one of their secure data centers.

When backing up data, use programs that make sense and are easy to follow. Stress runs high when files are lost. Having a program like Backblaze that is simple and has live support certainly makes the recovery process more enjoyable.

Relax! The pressures of performing well at school are high. Knowing your files are safe and secure can take a little bit of the weight off your shoulders during such a stressful time.

I definitely plan on using Backblaze in the future and I think all students should.

We couldn’t have said it better. Having a solid backup plan is a great idea for both parents and students. We suggest using Backblaze Personal Backup, but the important thing is to have a backup plan for your data and act on it no matter what solution you’re using.

Learning to Back Up is a Good Life Lesson

Students have a lot to think about these days, and with all the responsibilities and new challenges they’re going to face in school, it’s easy for them to forget some of the basics. We hope this light reminder will be just enough to set them on the right backup track.

Have a great school year everyone!

P.S. If you know a student or the parent of a student going to school in the fall, why not share this post with them? You can use the Email or other sharing buttons to the left or at the bottom of this post.

The post Reading, Writing, and Backing Up — Are You Ready to Go Back to School? appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

More From Our Annual Survey: Choosing the Best Cloud for Backing Up

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/choosing-the-best-cloud-for-backing-up/

plugging a cord into the cloud

Which cloud is best for backing up?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked at Backblaze, and we’ve addressed it many times on this blog, on our website, and at trade shows and conferences.

There are many uses for the cloud, and many services that provide storage drives, sync, backup, and sharing. It’s hard for computer users to know which service is best for which use.

Every spring for the past twelve years we’ve commissioned an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll to help us understand if and how computer users are backing up. We’ve asked the same question, “How often do you backup all the data on your computer?” every year. We just published the results of the latest poll, which showed that more surveyed computer owners are backing up in 2019 than when we conducted our first poll in 2008. We’re heartened that more people are protecting their valuable files, photos, financial records, and personal documents.

This year we decided to ask a second question that would help us understand how the cloud compares to other backup destinations, such as external drives and NAS, and which cloud services are being used for backing up.

This was the question we asked:

What is the primary method you use to backup all of the data on your computer?

1 Cloud backup (e.g., Backblaze, Carbonite, iDrive)
2 Cloud drive (e.g., Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive)
3 Cloud sync (e.g., Dropbox, iCloud)
4 External hard drive (e.g., Time Machine, Windows Backup and Restore)
5 Network Attached Storage (NAS) (e.g., QNAP, Synology)
6 Other
7 Not sure

Where Computer Users are Backing Up

More than half of those who have ever backed up all the data on their computer (58 percent) indicated that they are using the cloud as one of the primary methods to back up all of the data on their computer. Nearly two in five (38 percent) use an external hard drive, and just 5 percent use network attached storage (NAS). (The total is greater than 100 percent because respondents were able to select multiple destinations.)

Backup Destinations
(Among Those Who Have Ever Backed Up All Data on Their Computer)

2019 survey backing up destinations
Among Those Who Have Ever Backed Up All Data On Computer — Primary Method Used

What Type of Cloud is Being Used?

The survey results tell us that the cloud has become a popular destination for backing up data.
Among those who have ever backed up all data on their computer, the following indicated what type of cloud service they used:

  • 38 percent are using cloud drive (such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive)
  • 21 percent are using cloud sync (such as Dropbox or Apple iCloud)
  • 11 percent are using cloud backup (such as Backblaze Computer Backup)

Cloud Destinations
(Among Those Who Have Ever Backed Up All Data on Their Computer)

2019 survey cloud destinations

Choosing the Best Cloud for Backups

Backblaze customers or regular readers of this blog will immediately recognize the issue in these responses. There’s a big difference in what type of cloud service you select for cloud backup. Both cloud drive and cloud sync services can store data in the cloud, but they’re not the same as having a real backup. We’ve written about these differences in our blog post, What’s the Diff: Sync vs Backup vs Storage, and in our guide, Online Storage vs. Online Backup.

Put simply, those who use cloud drive or cloud sync are missing the benefits of real cloud backup. These benefits can include automatic backup of all data on your computer, not being limited to just special folders or directories that can be backed up, going back to earlier versions of files, and not having files lost when syncing, such as when a shared folder gets deleted by someone else.

Cloud backup is specifically designed to protect your files, while the purpose of cloud drives and sync is to make it easy to access your files from different computers and share them when desired. While there is overlap in what these services offer and how they can be used, obtaining the best results requires selecting the right cloud service for your needs. If your goal is to back up your files, you want the service to seamlessly protect your files and make sure they’re available when and if you need to restore them due to data loss on your computer.

As users have more time and experience with their selected cloud service(s), it will be interesting in future polls to discover how happy they are with the various services and how well their needs are being met. We plan to cover this topic in our future polls.

•  •  •

Survey Method
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Backblaze from June 6-10, 2019 among 2,010 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,858 own a computer and 1,484 have ever backed up all data on their computer. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Backblaze.

The post More From Our Annual Survey: Choosing the Best Cloud for Backing Up appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

More People Than Ever Backing Up According to Our Survey

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/more-people-than-ever-backing-up-according-to-our-survey/

computer with line chart on a desk with a man and woman standing near it

For the past twelve years we’ve conducted an annual poll asking people the simple question, “How often do you backup all the data on your computer?” and published the results here on the blog. In 2009 we decided to make this an annual event and declared June to be Backup Awareness Month.

How We Are Doing

The good news from this year’s poll is that more computer owners than we’ve ever surveyed (four out of five) have backed up all the data on their computer. That’s up 4 percent from last year and up 15 percent from our first poll in 2008.

The fact that 20 percent of those who own a computer have never backed up all the data on the computer is still alarming, however, as they are vulnerable to losing important documents, photos, and other files. We still have work to do to reach all those people to convince them how easy and economical it is to protect their data through regular backups.

The trend is positive however, as according to the poll, most people back up more frequently now (whether yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily) than they did in 2008.

Computer Backup Frequency 2008-2019 Chart
Top line in chart shows decrease from 35 percent in 2008 to 20 percent in 2019 for those who responded,
“I’ve never backed up all the data on my computer.”

Key Takeaways From Our Latest Poll

  • Four in five Americans who own a computer (80 percent) have ever backed up all the data on their computer, which is up from roughly three-quarters (76 percent) in 2018.
  • 9 percent who own a computer back up their computer once a day or more often.
  • Among those who have ever backed up all data on their computer, nearly three in five (58 percent) use the cloud as the primary method to back up all of the data on their computer, 38 percent use an external hard drive, and just 5 percent use network-attached storage (NAS).

Backing up survey charts for 2008 and 2019

Here’s a detailed look at the numbers from our surveys in 2008 through 2019.

Backing up survey table 2008-2019

How We Can Improve

Every year after the poll we sift through the poll data to see what conclusions we can draw from the results. Our pollster gives us demographics about the subjects surveyed, such as the region of the U.S. where they live, level of education, income, and whether they own a computer or not (kinda important, we think, for this poll).

What stood out for us is that more people in 2019 backed up more frequently than in 2008, and we wondered why.

Backing Up Frequency 2008 vs 2019

There are a lot of things that get in the way of backing up: managing a household, job(s), taking care of children, travel, and social activities. The fact that more people are backing up more often tells us that they have found a way to make backing up easier and a part of their regular lives.

Our Backing Up Action Plan

The best way to succeed at a task that’s sometimes neglected is to make it so easy that it gets done. Fortunately, computers are good at automation and backing up can be configured to happen quietly and automatically in the background.

We believe that the reason more people are successful at backing up is that they have discovered automated backup solutions such as Backblaze Personal Backup.

Backblaze Personal Backup can be installed on a Mac or PC and in less than a couple of minutes will be on the job continuously backing up your data. In many situations, the default settings are fine so there’s nothing else to do.

If more people used solutions like Backblaze Personal Backup and automate their backups, the poll results will continue to improve, but more importantly, people will be less likely to lose their valuable photos, messages, financial records, and other important files and documents.

It will be interesting to see whether the poll results next year show even more people backing up. We hope so.

How You Can Help!

You can help improve the results for next year’s survey. If you’re already a Backblaze customer, you can let your friends and family know that backing up is important and can even refer them to Backblaze using our Refer-a-Friend program. If you’re not a Backblaze customer, consider signing up for a trial, and help us ensure that no one ever loses data again.

•  •  •

Survey Method
These surveys were conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Backblaze among U.S. adults ages 18+ who own a computer in June 6-10, 2019 (n=1,858), June 5-7, 2018 (n=1,871), May 19-23, 2017 (n=1,954), May 13-17, 2016 (n=1,920), May 15-19, 2015 (n=2,009), June 2-4, 2014 (n=1,991), June 13–17, 2013 (n=1,952), May 31–June 4, 2012 (n=2,176), June 28–30, 2011 (n=2,209), June 3–7, 2010 (n=2,051), May 13–14, 2009 (n=2,154), and May 27–29, 2008 (n=2,723). These online surveys were not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Backblaze.

The post More People Than Ever Backing Up According to Our Survey appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

12 Power Tips for Backing Up Business Data

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/12-power-tips-for-backing-up-business-data/

Business Backup Power Tips

In this, the fourth post in our Power Tips series, we provide some blazingly useful tips that we feel would benefit business users. Some of the tips apply to our Backblaze Business Backup product and some to B2 Cloud Storage.

Don’t miss our earlier posts on Power Tips for Backblaze Computer Backup, 12 B2 Power Tips for New Users, and 12 B2 Power Tips for Experts and Developers.

12 Power Tips for Business Users of Backblaze Business Backup and B2

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1 Manage All Users of Backblaze Business Backup or B2

Backblaze Groups can be used for both Backblaze Business Backup and B2 to manage accounts and users. See the status of all accounts and produce reports using the admin console.

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2 Restore For Free via Web or USB

Admins can restore data from endpoints using the web-based admin console. USB drives can be shipped worldwide to facilitate the management of a remote workforce.

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3 Back Up Your VMs

Backblaze Business Backup can handle virtual machines, such as those created by Parallels, VMware Fusion, and VirtualBox; and B2 integrates with StarWind, OpenDedupe, and CloudBerry to back up enterprise-level VMs.

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4 Mass Deploy Backblaze Remotely to Many Computers

Companies, organizations, schools, non-profits, and others can use the Backblaze Business Backup MSI installer, Jamf, Munki, and other tools to deploy Backblaze computer backup remotely across all their computers without any end-user interaction.

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5 Save Money with Free Data Exchange with B2’s Compute Partners

Spin up compute applications with high speed and no egress charges using our partners Packet and Server Central.

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6 Speed up Access to Your Content With Free Egress to Cloudflare

Backblaze offers free egress from B2 to Cloudflare’s content delivery network, speeding up access to your data worldwide.

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7 Get Your Data Into the Cloud Fast

You can use Backblaze’s Fireball hard disk array to load large volumes of data without saturating your network. We ship a Fireball to you and once you load your data onto it, you ship it back to us and we load it directly into your B2 account.

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8 Use Single Sign-On (SSO) and Two Factor Verification for Enhanced Security

Single sign-on (Google and Microsoft) improves security and speeds signing into your Backblaze account for authorized users. With Backblaze Business Backup, all data is automatically encrypted client-side prior to upload, protected during transfer, and stored encrypted in our secure data centers. Adding Two Factor Verification augments account safety with another layer of security.

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9 Get Quick Answers to Your Backing Up Questions

Refer to an extensive library of FAQs, how-tos, and help articles for Business Backup and B2 in our online help library.

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10 Application Keys Enable Controlled Sharing of Data for Users and Apps

Take control of your cloud data and share files or permit API access using configurable Backblaze application keys.

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11 Manage Your Server Backups with CloudBerry MBS and B2

Automate and centrally manage server backups using CloudBerry Managed Backup Service (MBS) and B2. It’s easy to set up and once configured, you have a true set-it-and-forget-it backup solution in place.

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12 Protect your NAS Data Using Built-in Sync Applications and B2

B2 is integrated with the leading tools and devices in the market for NAS backup. Native integrations from Synology, QNAP, FreeNAS, TrueNAS and more ensure that setups are simple and backups are automated.

Want to Learn More About Backblaze Business Backup and B2?

You can find more information on Backblaze Business Backup (including a free trial) on our website, and more tips about backing up in our help pages and in our Backup Guide.

The post 12 Power Tips for Backing Up Business Data appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

When Ransomware Strikes

Post Syndicated from Natasha Rabinov original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-ransomware/

Ransomware Prevention & Survival

Does this sound familiar? An employee walks over with panic and confusion written all over their face. They approach holding their laptop and say that they’re not sure what happened. You open their computer to find that there is a single message displayed:

You want your files?
Your computer has been infected with ransomware and you will need to pay us to get them back.

They may not know what just happened, but the sinking feeling in your stomach has a name you know well. Your company has been hit with ransomware, which is, unfortunately, a growing trend. The business of ransomware is a booming one, bringing productivity and growth to a dead stop.

As ransomware attacks increase on businesses of all sizes, ransomware may prove to be the single biggest destructive force for business data, surpassing even hard drive failures as the leader of data loss.

When Ransomware Strikes

It’s a situation that most IT Managers will face at some point in their career. Per Security Magazine, “Eighty-six percent Small to Medium Business (SMB) clients were recently victimized by ransomware.” In fact, it happened to us at Backblaze. Cybersecurity company Ice Cybersecurity published that ransomware attacks occur every 40 seconds (that’s over 2,000 times per day!). Coveware’s Ransomware Marketplace Report says that the average ransom cost has increased by 89% to $12,762, as compared to $6,733 in Q4 of 2018. The downtime resulting from ransomware is also on the rise. The average number of days a ransomware incident lasts amounts to just over a week at 7.3 days, which should be factored in when calculating the true cost of ransomware. The estimated downtime costs per ransomware attack per company averaged $65,645. The increasing financial impact on businesses of all sizes has proven that the business of ransomware is booming, with no signs of slowing down.

How Has Ransomware Grown So Quickly?

Ransomware has taken advantage of multiple developments in technology, similar to other high-growth industries. The first attacks occurred in 1989 with floppy desks distributed across organizations, purporting to raise money to fund AIDS research. At the time, the users were asked to pay $189 to get their files back.

Since then, ransomware has grown significantly due to the advent of multiple facilitators. Sophisticated RSA encryption with increasing key sizes make encrypted files more difficult to decrypt. Per the Carbon Black report, ransomware kits are now relatively easy to access on the dark web and only cost $10, on average. With cryptocurrency in place, payment is both virtually untraceable and irreversible. As recovery becomes more difficult, the cost to business rises alongside it. Per the Atlantic, ransomware now costs businesses more than $75 billion per year.

If Your Job is Protecting Company Data, What Happens After Your Ransomware Attack?

Isolate, Assess, Restore

Your first thought will probably be that you need to isolate any infected computers and get them off the network. Next, you may begin to assess the damage by determining the origins of the infected file and locating others that were affected. You can check our guide for recovering from ransomware or call in a specialized team to assist you. Once you prevent the malware from spreading, your thoughts will surely turn to the backup strategy you have in place. If you have used either a backup or sync solution to get your data offsite, you are more prepared than most. Unfortunately, even for this Eagle Scout level of preparedness, too often the backup solution hasn’t been tested against the exact scenario it’s needed for.

Both backup and sync solutions help get your data offsite. However, sync solutions vary greatly in their process for backup. Some require saving data to a specific folder. Others provide versions of files. Most offer varying pricing tiers for storage space. Backup solutions also have a multitude of features, some of which prove vital at the time of restore.

If you are in IT, you are constantly looking for points of failure. When it comes time to restore your data after a ransomware attack, three weak points immediately come to mind:

1. Your Security Breach Has Affected Your Backups

Redundancy is key in workflows. However, if you are syncing your data and get hit with ransomware on your local machine, your newly infected files will automatically sync to the cloud and thereby, infect your backup set.

This can be mitigated with backup software that offers multiple versions of your files. Backup software, such as Backblaze Business Backup, saves your original file as is and creates a new backup file with every change made. If you accidentally delete a file or if your files are encrypted by ransomware and you are backed up with Backblaze Business Backup, you can simply restore a prior version of a file — one that has not been encrypted by the ransomware. The capability of your backup software to restore a prior version is the difference between usable and unusable data.

2. Restoring Data will be Cumbersome and Time-Consuming

Depending on the size of your dataset, restoring from the cloud can be a drawn out process. Moreover, for those that need to restore gigabytes of data, the restore process may not only prove to be lengthy, but also tedious.

Snapshots allow you to restore all of your data from a specific point in time. When dealing with ransomware, this capability is crucial. Without this functionality, each file needs to be rolled back individually to a prior version and downloaded one at a time. At Backblaze, you can easily create a snapshot of your data and archive those snapshots into cloud storage to give you the appropriate amount of time to recover.

You can download the files that your employees need immediately and request the rest of their data to be shipped to you overnight on a USB drive. You can then either keep the drive or send it back for a full refund.

3. All Critical Data Didn’t Get Backed Up

Unfortunately, human error is the second leading cause of data loss. As humans, we all make mistakes and some of those may have a large impact on company data. Although there is no way to prevent employees from spilling drinks on computers or leaving laptops on planes, others are easier to avoid. Some solutions require users to save their data to a specific folder to enable backups. When thinking about the files on your average employees’ desktops, are there any that may prove critical to your business? If so, they need to be backed up. Relying on those employees to change their work habits and begin saving files to specific, backed-up locations is certainly not the easiest nor reliable method of data protection.

In fact, it is the responsibility of the backup solution to protect business data, regardless of where the end user saves it. To that end, Backblaze backs up all user-generated data by default. The most effective backup solutions are ones that are easiest for the end users and require the least amount of user intervention.

Are you interested in assessing the risk to your business? Would you like to learn how to protect your business from ransomware? To better understand innovative ways that you can protect business data, we invite you to attend our Ransomware: Prevention and Survival webinar on July 17th. Join Steven Rahseparian, Chief Technical Officer at Ice CyberSecurity and industry expert on cybersecurity, to hear stories of ransomware and to learn how to take a proactive approach to protect your business data.

The post When Ransomware Strikes appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

How to Have Fun This Summer and Keep Your Data Safe, Too

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/protecting-your-data-when-traveling/

Man in hat taking goofy summer photos

If you’re like me, you can hardly wait for summer to be here. Summer is the time to get outdoors, go swimming, hang out with friends, and enjoy the weather. For many, it’s also a time for graduations, weddings, vacations, visiting family, and grilling in the backyard.

We’re likely to take more photos and go places we haven’t been before. And we take along all our portable gadgets, especially our cameras, phones, and digital music devices.

Unfortunately, being on the move means that the data on our digital devices is more susceptible to loss. We’re often not as careful backing up that data or even keeping track of the devices themselves. Perhaps you’ve had the sad experience of getting back home after a family reunion, company picnic, or vacation and discovering that your phone or camera didn’t make it all the way home with you.

With just a little planning and a few simple practices, you can be certain that your digital memories will last far beyond summer.

Keep All Those Summer Memories Safe

We don’t want you to miss out on all the great summer memories you’re going to create this year. Before summer is actually here, it’s good to review some tips to make sure that all those great memories you create will be with you for years to come.

Summer Data Backup Tips

Even if your devices are lost or stolen, you’ll be able to recover what was on them if you back them up during your trip. Don’t wait until you get home — do it regularly no matter where you are. It’s not hard to make sure your devices are backed up; you just need to take a few minutes to make a plan on how and when you’re going to back up your devices.

Have somewhere to put your backup data, either in the cloud or on a backup device that you can keep safe, give to someone else, or ship home

If You Have Access to Wi-Fi
  • If your devices are internet-ready, you can back them up to the cloud directly whenever you’re connected.
  • If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, you can back up your devices to a laptop computer and then back up that computer to the cloud.

Note: See Safety Tips for Using Wi-Fi on the Go, below.

If You Don’t Have Access to Wi-Fi

If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, you can back up your devices to a USB thumb drive and carry that with you. If you put it in luggage, put it in a piece of luggage different than where you carry your devices, or give it to a family member to put in their bag or luggage. To be extra safe, it’s easy and inexpensive to mail a thumb drive to yourself when you’re away from home. Some hotels will even do that for you.

Make Sure Your Devices Get Home With You

You want to be careful with your devices when you travel.

  • Use covers for your phone and cameras. It helps protects them from physical damage and also discourages robbers who are attracted to shiny things. In any case, don’t flash around your nice mobile phone or expensive digital camera. Keep them out of sight when you’re not using them.
  • Don’t leave any of your digital devices unprotected in an airport security line, at a hotel, on a cafe or restaurant table, beside the pool, or in a handbag on the floor or hanging from a chair.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Be especially cautious of anyone getting close to you in a crowd.
  • It seems silly to say, but keep your devices away from all forms of liquid.
  • If available, you can use a hotel room or front desk safe to protect your devices when you’re not using them.

Water and Tech Don’t Mix

I love being near or in the water, but did you know that water damage is the most common cause of damage to digital devices? We should be more careful around water, but it’s easy for accidents to happen. And in the summer they tend to happen even more.

Mobile phone in pool

Safety Tips for Using Wi-Fi on the Go

Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for being places where nefarious individuals snoop on other computers to steal passwords and account information. You can avoid that possibility by following some easy tips.

  • Before you travel, change the passwords on the accounts you plan to use. Change them again when you get home. Don’t use the same password on different accounts or reuse a password you’ve used previously. Password managers, such as 1Password, LastPass, or BitWarden, make handling your password easy.
  • Turn off sharing on your devices to prevent anyone obtaining access to your device.
  • Turn off automatic connection to open Wi-Fi networks.
  • Don’t use the web to access your bank, financial institutions, or other important sites if you’re not 100% confident in the security of your internet connection.
  • If you do access a financial, shopping, or other high risk site, make sure your connection is protected with Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is indicated with the HTTPS prefix in the URL. When you browse over HTTPS, people on the same Wi-Fi network as you can’t snoop on the data that travels between you and the server of the website you’re connecting to. Most sites that ask for payment or confidential information use SSL. If they don’t, stay away.
  • If you can, set up a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your connection. A VPN routes your traffic through a secure network even on public Wi-Fi, giving you all the protection of your private network while still having the freedom of public Wi-Fi. This is something you should look into and set up before you go on a trip. Here are some tips for choosing a VPN.

Share the Knowledge About Keeping Data Safe

You might be savvy about all the above, but undoubtedly you have family members or friends who aren’t as knowledgeable. Why not share this post with someone you know who might benefit from these tips? To email this post to a friend, just click on the email social sharing icon to the left or at the bottom of this post. Or, you can just send an email containing this post’s URL, https://www.backblaze.com/blog/protecting-your-data-when-traveling.

And be sure to have a great summer!

The post How to Have Fun This Summer and Keep Your Data Safe, Too appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze Cloud Backup Release 6.1

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-cloud-backup-release-6-1/

New Backblaze version is available

We’re releasing an update today for Backblaze Cloud Backup: version 6.1! This release comes with a performance boost and some underlying client efficiency changes for both the Mac and PC!

What’s New:

Windows & Macintosh

  • Sped up throughput and improved RAM efficiency by increasing the large file transmission threshold
  • SSO (Single Sign-On) support for the Inherit Backup State feature
  • Error dialog updates to more clearly identify and explain previously added security features
  • Minor bug fixes
  • Reduced log sizing in some cases which could result in performance issues

Mac

  • Underlying code updated to XCode 10.2, which should result in some performance improvements

Release Version Number:

Mac — 6.1.0.330
PC — 6.1.0.331

Availability:

April, 18 2019

Cost:

Free for Backblaze Cloud Backup consumer and business customers and active trial users.

Upgrade Methods:

  • Immediately when performing a “Check for Updates” (right-click on the Backblaze icon and then select “Check for Updates”).
  • Immediately as a download from: https://secure.backblaze.com/update.htm.
  • Immediately as the default download from: www.backblaze.com.
  • Auto-update will begin rolling out in the next few weeks.

The post Backblaze Cloud Backup Release 6.1 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Future-Proofing Backups for Your Business

Post Syndicated from Natasha Rabinov original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/future-proofing-backups-for-your-business/

screenshot of PagerDuty dashboard

An alert from PagerDuty sets off alarm bells for anyone in IT. Alerts might signify that a disk is nearly full or has failed entirely. Although unpleasant and imminently critical, hard drive failures come as no surprise to IT Managers. They are prepared for those alerts and have likely seen such incidents and failures before. Experience has shown them that it is not a question of if hard drives will fail, but when.

In fact, from the moment they are hired, IT Managers begin protecting company data and assessing points of failure. On that first day, the threat of data loss may inadvertently come from internal mistakes.

When my execs are on the road, what happens if they lose their laptop? How can I get them the latest version of their files, no matter where they are?

Although execs may be the ones losing their laptops, they will surely turn to IT Managers to recover data right away.

Questions continue to build up when thinking about company growth and the impact on IT.

We just hired another five people and the server is almost full. When will I have both time and budget to spin up another one?

IT Managers are typically not lacking in projects; they are often short on time. Budgets certainly matter but time management is also a problem — there already isn’t enough time in the day.

Many of these IT issues can be mitigated if they are tackled early on. The right backup solution is simple, silent, and affordable. A low-touch solution can give IT Managers back two precious resources, time and budget. They can move on to other projects while their backups run automatically in the background, not interrupting their users. The best plan is something that scales as the company grows from its first IT manager through IPO.

A good example of a company that future-proofed their backups is PagerDuty. At the time of their first IT hire, they accurately assessed their current and future backup needs. Here is their story.

PagerDuty server rack

Case Study: How PagerDuty Future Proofed Backups

The first thing Matt Spring, IT Manager, noticed when he joined PagerDuty was that they worked in the cloud. While everyone carried around a laptop or perhaps had a desktop system, there were no file servers, no database servers, no mail servers, no servers of any kind located in the office. At first glance, it seemed everyone simply connected to the internet and used cloud-based applications, but as Matt soon discovered many people were also using Mac-based applications as well. Matt instinctively knew he had a backup problem and he had to act to ensure the organization would not lose important data.

The backup problem that Matt faced is one encountered by companies that use both cloud-based and PC/Mac-based applications in their environment. For example, a company might use a cloud-based HR system, but Office applications on their laptops and desktops. While Matt had some confidence the cloud-based data was backed up, the local data on the company’s laptops and desktops was not being backed up.

As Matt was building a list of backup vendors to consider, he included Backblaze. He was familiar with Backblaze because he had been following their Hard Drive Stats blog posts. He appreciated the company’s transparency and included them in the list. His primary criteria for selecting a backup service were:

  • Able to be installed with little or no user involvement
  • Automatically back up all the data on a laptop or desktop with no user intervention
  • Affordable

After a review process, he chose Backblaze Business Backup.

As PagerDuty grew, so did the number of laptops and desktops, and Matt and his team ensured that Backblaze was installed on all of them. This was especially important to PagerDuty as some of the newly hired employees worked in locations across the globe. Matt could send them a system provisioned with Backblaze and from the moment the new employee started working, they were being backed up to the Backblaze cloud.

One of the features that Matt likes is how Backblaze scans the users’ system looking for data to back up versus having to pick and choose folders and files. He points out how he once restored an Office autorecovery file from Backblaze when a user forgot to save several hours of work before their system crashed. He commented that, “no other cloud backup system that I know of would have automatically backed up that file.”

Over the years that PagerDuty has been a Backblaze Business Backup customer, they’ve had several instances where they needed to restore data. Every restore has been successful.

As a bonus, most users find the restore process easy enough so they can restore their own files, but Matt and his team have from time to time done complete system restores to replace a failed or lost system.

“No other cloud backup system that I know of would have automatically backed up that file.”

— Matt Spring, PagerDuty

Recently, Matt and his team upgraded for free to the most recent release of Backblaze Business Backup. This release included Business Groups. This feature allows administrators to organize users into groups for billing and management purposes. For example, groups might be created for administrators, executives, and staff. Groups can also be managed or unmanaged. Contractors and interns could be in a managed group where IT controls the restore process, while company employees could be in one or more unmanaged groups, as desired.

Matt Appreciates the Flexibility That Business Groups Provides

As PagerDuty continues to grow, Matt expects the organization to be more and more dispersed, with even more employees and contractors spread out internationally. While this presents many challenges for IT, one thing Matt already has covered is having the data sitting on the company’s laptops and desktops automatically and securely backed up to the Backblaze cloud.

If you are interested in learning more, you can read the PagerDuty case study. Or, if you would like to back up all of your end users’ data today and future proof your backups, we invite you to try out Backblaze Business Backup.

The post Future-Proofing Backups for Your Business appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

3-2-1 Backup Best Practices Using the Cloud

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/3-2-1-backup-best-practices-using-the-cloud/

Archive 3-2-1

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional photographer or videographer, employing a 3-2-1 backup strategy for your valuable photos and videos is critical. A good backup strategy can protect you from accidental or incidental data loss and make sure your working or archived files are available when you need them.

Most photographers and videographers are aware of the necessity to back up their data, but like a lot of things that are good for us, like eating kale and exercising regularly, putting good habits into practice can be challenging. Maybe you’re currently using the cloud as part of your backup or archive strategy, or perhaps you’re still juggling hard disk drives between your workstations, a storage closet, and an offsite location.

If you’re not yet using the cloud, or are still getting familiar with the cloud for data backup and archiving, I’d like to go over some ways in which the cloud can make managing your data easier and provide you with a number of benefits you might not currently enjoy.

Let’s first do a quick review of 3-2-1 backup strategy.

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least three total copies of your data, two of which are local but on different media, and at least one copy that is offsite.

A Typical 3-2-1 Scenario

Let’s use landscape.cr2 as an example file for this scenario. Landscape.cr2 lives on your primary computer. That’s one copy of the data file. You also have an external hard drive or Network-Attached Storage (NAS) that you use for backing up your computer. Your backup program runs on a regular schedule, or whenever a file is added to your system, and backs up landscape.cr2 to your external drive(s). That’s a second copy on a different device or medium. In addition to that external hard drive, you also have an online backup solution that makes another copy of your data. The backup program continuously scans your computer and uploads your data to a data center (aka the cloud). Landscape.cr2 is included in this upload, and that becomes the third copy of your data.

Why Two Onsite Copies and One Offsite Copy?

Whichever kind of computer you are using, an onsite backup is a simple way of having quick access to your data should anything happen to your computer. If your laptop or desktop’s hard drive crashes, and you have been regularly backing up to an external hard drive or NAS, you can quickly get the majority of your data back (or use the external drive on another computer while yours gets fixed or replaced). If you use an automatic backup program, the exposure for data loss is fairly minimal.

Synology NAS and cloud backup symbol

Having an onsite backup is a great start, but having an offsite backup is a key component to completing a backup strategy. Onsite backups are easy to set up, but unfortunately having a backup near the device that it’s backing up (for example, having a desktop PC or Mac and an external hard drive on the same desk), means that both of those copies of your data are susceptible to loss in case of fire, theft, water damage, or other unforeseen occurrences.

Backblaze data center

Most often, if the two devices you have as your local copies are close together, they’ll both be affected if the unfortunate should happen. A continuously updated copy of your data that’s not in the same physical location as the other two is paramount in protecting your files. Even the United States Government recommends this approach. In a 2012 paper for US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team), Carnegie Mellon recommended the 3-2-1 method in their publication titled: Data Backup Options.

The Cloud as Part of 3-2-1

a storage vault in the middle of a cloud

The cloud can make fulfilling the 3-2-1 strategy much easier. And, with recent advances in technology and cost competition, the cloud brings other advantages:

Broadband speed and coverage — Broadband bandwidth has increased and is more widely available while the reach of cellular data service has made many remote locations accessible. It’s possible to upload data to the cloud from home, office, and even when traveling to remote locations. For example, the summit of Mt. Everest now has mobile network service.

Competitive costCompetition in cloud storage has made for competitive pricing and a range of services. The cloud is more affordable than ever.

Advantages of Adding the Cloud to 3-2-1

If you’re already using 3-2-1, then you’ve made a great start in keeping your data safe. If you’re not yet using the cloud as part of your backup strategy, then you might consider the following advantages of adding it to your data security plans.

Convenience
The two offsite copies of your data required by 3-2-1 can be anywhere that’s geographically separated from your primary location. That can be convenient for some, such as for a photographer friend who takes a backup hard disk to leave at his mother’s house during their regular Sunday dinner. It’s not so easy for others, who have to transport or ship disks to other locations to fulfill the diverse location requirement. The cloud handles this without any extra effort.

Durability
Cloud data centers are designed to protect data against outages, service interruptions, hardware failures, and natural disasters. Backblaze claims 99.999999999% (11 9s) annual durability for its customers’ data.

Sharing & Collaboration
Having data in the cloud can make sharing much easier. Users can control who has access and to what data. Backblaze Backup and B2 Cloud Storage support sharing links that can be sent to anyone who needs permanent or temporary access to stored data. This is ideal if you’re working with second shooters on a project or relaying final deliverables to a client.

Data Ingest/Seeding
As digital resolutions increase, media files grow larger and larger. Forty-five megapixel images and 8K digital videos can quickly fill up any storage media and put demands on the time and bandwidth required to transfer data. Some cloud services provide seeding services that enable physical transfer of data directly to the cloud. An example is the Backblaze B2 Fireball, which is a 70 TB hard disk array with 1 GB connectivity that enables the customer to load and ship data securely to Backblaze’s data centers.

Challenges of the Cloud

For some, there are real challenges using the cloud for backing up or archiving data, especially when they have a lot of data, as many photographers and videographers do. As services expand and new technologies are adopted, transfer speeds will continue to increase and should help overcome that hurdle.

Data center racks

In the meantime, here are some tips for meeting these challenges:

  • Schedule your data uploads for off hours when the network load is light and the transfers won’t impede other data traffic.
  • Leverage multi-threaded uploads to improve transfer speed.
  • Take advantage of data ingest options to seed data to the cloud. It’s definitely faster and can even be more economical compared to other data transfer options.
  • Be patient. Once you get your initial files uploaded or seeded to the cloud, it becomes much easier to upload incremental updates. In the near-future we will see 5G mobile networks and higher broadband speeds that will make data transfers even faster.

Are you Using the Cloud to Best Advantage?

Backups are great for your active projects, but how do you handle your archives? We recently wrote about the difference between backing up and archiving, and knowing the difference will improve your data management strategy.

Many photographers and videographers are using a backup or even a sync solution for their data when archiving is the approach that better suits their needs. Briefly, a data backup is for recovery from hardware failure or recent data corruption or loss, and an archive is for space management and long term retention. If you’re using a data backup or sync service to store data that you wish to keep permanently or long-term, you’re trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

What’s the Best Use for Backup?

  • Working files currently being edited, or in a live project.
  • Documents, correspondence, application settings, and other transient system information.

What’s the Best Use for Archive?

  • Finished projects for which you wish to retain all or just the primary data files used.
  • Photos and videos that you might use again at some time in the future.
  • Media that has value to your business for possible future sales.

Making the Most of the Cloud

If you’re following a 3-2-1 backup strategy that includes the cloud, you’ll be ahead of 90% of your peers. The cloud is becoming more useful and more economical every day. When you add the security of the cloud, collaboration with clients and peers, and proven durability to that list, the cloud is an unbeatable choice for upping your game in data backup and archiving.

You can read more posts in this series written in conjunction with Lensrentals.com on photography and videography.

•  •  •

Note: This post originally appeared on Lensrentals.com on September 18, 2018.

The post 3-2-1 Backup Best Practices Using the Cloud appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

You Asked Us Anything on Reddit!

Post Syndicated from Natasha Rabinov original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/you-asked-us-anything-on-reddit/

Backblaze team members answering IAmA questions on Reddit

When you open the door to the internet, you have absolutely no idea what is going to come through. That is especially true for Reddit — the front page of the internet and one of the world’s most popular websites. Since Backblaze prides itself on the transparent way we do business, the decision to participate in an IAmA on Reddit was an easy one. It was an exciting opportunity to give people insight into Backblaze and start a conversation with anybody in the world that could lead pretty much anywhere.

If you’re not familiar with a Reddit IAmA (I Am a), it’s a subreddit (/r/IAmA) for question-and-answer interactive interviews. Redditors can ask the subject(s) whatever they wish, which is the reason it is called an AMA, short for “Ask Me Anything.” The resulting comment thread is preserved on Reddit. Backblaze did our first AMA in 2012, so we thought it was time for a second one.

How Did We End up on Reddit?

Twelve years ago, Backblaze was formed after our founder’s friend called to tell him that her computer had crashed. She had no backups and her data was gone. As a result, Backblaze was founded to help consumers and businesses back up their data in the simplest way possible to avoid data loss.

World Backup Day was similarly started when a Reddit user lost their hard drive and wished someone had reminded them to back it up. A small group within the Reddit community realized the importance of backing up and the rising trend of data loss. In an effort to raise awareness, they created World Backup Day. With our goals aligned, in partnership with World Backup Day and Reddit, Backblaze decided to do an IAmA.

In 2012, Backblaze was a smaller company with only 25 petabytes of data under management and fifteen employees. Most of us participated in the IAmA that year. At the time, people wanted to know about the future of Backblaze and the possibility of our company going out of business. Our CTO, Brian Wilson, responded with:

“We’re not going anywhere. We’re happy and profitable.”

Seven years later, both of those statements still hold true.

Of course, in almost a decade since, a lot has changed. We store over 750 PB of customer data from customers in 150+ countries. Our 15 person team has grown to almost 100. But, some things still stay the same — less than 6% of computer owners back up their data once a day or more. So, Backblaze decided to return to Reddit to promote World Backup Day and check in with the internet.

Once again, the most upvoted comment came from our CTO, Brian. When asked why Backblaze forced users to back up their C drive, Brian explained that he wrote the client that way “to solve a very real problem.”

The Problem

Originally, Backblaze allowed users to de-select their main drive. And a horrible problem appeared almost immediately. Customers began de-selecting their drive, either because they were unaware that the C drive contained data that they might need or simply by mistake. They would then contact our support and find that they were unable to restore their data. This included photos of children that had passed away already (we had two cases of that exact situation), and other irreplaceable data now gone forever.

The Solution

At that point, Brian re-wrote the client to force the inclusion of the main drive. It was a decision that some didn’t like. However, per Brian, “the fix worked spectacularly well” and we no longer have any customers accidentally losing data because they de-select their drive. Based on the numerous responses from people working in IT, Brian got it right. “Software has to be written for the end user”, one IT guy replied. “All the best and most popular software (and hardware) is simple and easy to learn.”

What Were Some Other Questions?

While we had originally scheduled two hours for the IAmA, we ended up going for five (our social guy, Yev, may still be on there right now).

Among the questions were a couple of requests to show off our Storage Pods. We talked podcast sponsorships, clarified our process for ordering hard drives, and answered hundreds of questions and comments. As of the publication of this blog post, we had over 1,300 comments.

Classic Storage Pod

Of interest was how Backblaze continues to provide a truly unlimited computer backup solution. Our industry has seen almost all unlimited solutions vanish from the market. But Backblaze has doubled down on it over the past few years. That begs the question of how we continue to sustainably support the product line. We currently have one customer backing up 430 terabytes for $6 a month. At that price, we are clearly losing money on that customer. However, most of our customers have much less data. So, while we are losing money on that one customer, we are profitable on average. There are other reasons to support the outliers — those customers demonstrate that we are truly unlimited. No service that was throttling or selectively backing up files would enable 430 TB to get backed up. Yes, that ends up being a business cost, but those outlier customers become big evangelists as well. You don’t get that much data without being somewhat of a storage enthusiast. Our CTO, Brian, brought up another great reason: when the product works for the really big outliers, then “it will work really smoothly for the average customer.”

If you are interested in reading more of our IAmA conversation, you can do so on Reddit. Or, if you would like to back up all of your end users’ data in the most simple, reliable way possible, we invite you to try out Backblaze Business Backup.

The post You Asked Us Anything on Reddit! appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Introducing Furball — Rapid Content Delivery

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/introducing-furball-rapid-content-delivery/

Introducing Furball

When we first introduced Catblaze back in 2016, people called us crazy. Back then we thought we were onto something after our CAT scans filtered through our 200 petabytes of data and saw that over 50% of the material was cat pictures. Well, we couldn’t have been more right. We’re now backing up well over 750 petabytes of data and our Catblaze service accounts for almost one-third of it. Similarly to how we keep iterating on Backblaze Cloud Backup, we knew we had to keep working on Catblaze as well.

Introducing the Furball

With that many cat photos being uploaded to us, we saw the need to introduce a rapid cat delivery system to our Catblaze offering, which can concatenate your new cat content with your existing cat content in the cloud! We took a look at our B2 Fireball and realized that we could create a similar system that was integrated with our Restore by Mail service to deliver your cat content currently backed up to Catblaze. Introducing: the Furball!

Furball carrier

How it Works

You’ve uploaded all of your cat content to Catblaze, and you feel great. But oh no! Disaster has struck when your frisky feline flipped Fresca all over your computer. Now you need some way to get all of those feline files back. Fret not! Just log in to Catblaze, navigate to the Furball page, enter your address, et voila — all of your cat content will be coughed up to the Furball and sent directly back to you!

One thing to keep in mind is that Backblaze typically has 11 nines of durability, Catblaze and the Furball program are down to only 9 lives of durability, but don’t let that worry you.

Furball Pricing

You might be thinking that the Furball is priceless, but we’re pleased to announce that it won’t actually cost a paw and a leg! We recently increased our Restore by Mail capabilities and Furball pricing is similar at just $189 per Furball for up to 8 terabytes of frisky feline fun!

*Please note that the Furball ships as soon as we can actually get the cat contents inside the box. This might sound easy but herding cats has proven tricky in the past. Also, please make sure you send us clean data —- otherwise it takes us a while to scrub it. As the old saying goes, “litterbox in, litterbox out.”

Disk droppings

Availability and Pricing

Catblaze is available now for just $6/month per computer for an unlimited amount of cat-related content. We’ll also let you upload other content as well, but we know it’s not as important. Just cough up $189 and the Furball is yours — sent overnight by PetEx! Building on the success of our Restore Return Refund program, you can return your Furball to us within 30 days and we’ll refund you the money!

You can try Catblaze for free by visiting: http://www.catblaze.com though you might find that it says Backblaze once installed. We regret this typo.

Furball catbox

The post Introducing Furball — Rapid Content Delivery appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backing Up Isn’t Hard to Do (for Musicians)

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backing-up-isnt-hard-to-do-for-musicians/

Home recording studio

You no doubt heard the news this month about the huge data loss at Myspace, which announced that users’ audio files — along with any photos and videos — that were uploaded to Myspace more than three years ago, “may no longer be available on or from Myspace.” That’s estimated to be as many as 53 million songs from 14 million artists that were lost. The reason given was a botched server migration, but it could have been anything. Data can be lost due to accidental deletion, hardware or software failure, or because a service is terminated by a company that decides it no longer fits their business goals.

Myspace: A Groundbreaking Online Social & Music Community

Ten to fifteen years ago, Myspace fulfilled the promise of an online musical community where up and coming bands and musicians could share their art, interact with their fans, and promote their concerts. Many musicians made a lot of music that ended up on Myspace, and some of them even became superstars, or at least, well-known names such as Arctic Monkeys, Attack! Attack!, Black Veil Brides, and Panic! at the Disco.

Today, Myspace is just a shadow of its former social media presence, but at one time it claimed nearly one billion registered users and the biggest library in digital music. Now, much of that music is gone. Artists who thought that their music would exist indefinitely on Myspace have had to deal with the realization that putting recordings — or any kind of data — in a cloud streaming service doesn’t guarantee that it is safe. Cloud-based sites like Myspace, SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Google, or any other site that is not specifically a backup or archive site can’t be relied upon (nor do they claim the intention) to keep your data safe and available indefinitely.

A Personal Story of Music and Myspace

by Ahin Thomas, VP of Marketing, Backblaze

Recently, I was sharing the story of the first good song I had written with a colleague and sent her the link to the song on Myspace. When she went to listen to the song, the page was there but we both found out that the song was no longer available on Myspace.

Myspace missing song
Song missing on Myspace

That’s the problem with data loss. You don’t know that it’s lost until it’s gone. And, at that point, it’s simply too late.

The song was called By The Way. The inspiration for the song came when I was waiting for a restaurant table and saw a picture frame in a store window with a photo of this adorable little kid. “Twinkle, twinkle in your eyes, are you an angel in disguise?” was written on the picture frame. Cute kid, great line. I fiddled with it for awhile and managed to twist it into a nice little pop song.

Writing By The Way was the first time I felt like a real songwriter. It also taught me that being open and willing to share with others can change your life. The song itself is decent, but the lessons and memories are priceless. It’s the sort of thing I want to be able to share with my daughter. She’s only 15 months old now, but I figured maybe she might someday tell stories about how her dad wrote songs that people recorded, and how he played his songs for her when she was little. So that’s what the song meant to me.

Child

I was lucky. I had backed up the song, which means that I still have the song to play for my daughter (photo above). If I hadn’t backed up the song, well, I wouldn’t be able to.

I think of the many artists who are way more talented than I am, but not as lucky as I was to be able to preserve the music that means so much to me and my family. To them, I send my heartfelt condolences for the hours and memories lost due to the flip of a wrong switch. To everyone else, remind one friend today to get backed up. They’ll never forget you for it.

If you’re interested, here is my song By The Way, performed by Sehr Thadhani and her wonderful band.

Nothing Holds a Memory (Like a Song)*

Just about all of us are music fans and consumers, and we have music files that we keep on local computers, mobile devices, and in the cloud. Even if you’ve switched to a streaming music service such as Spotify, Google, Pandora, Apple, or Amazon, it’s likely you still have music files on your computers and devices that you’d like to preserve.

If you keep only one copy of a music file, you greatly increase the chances that the file will be lost.

Back Up the Music

We can hope that most of the garage bands, aspiring, and successful artists who uploaded music to Myspace had other copies, but if past incidents have taught us anything, we can expect that for many this is a permanent loss of their music files. Whether on an attached or local disk, mobile device, or in the cloud, one copy of a file is susceptible to loss. As we’ve often said, the only reliable protection against data loss is to keep multiple copies in more than one location, also known as the 3-2-1 backup strategy. Having more than one copy (of your tracks, your rough and final mixes, your vocals, your masters, your sessions), and ideally three in at least two different geographical locations, can go a long way in ensuring your music won’t be lost.

The only reliable protection against data loss is to keep multiple copies in more than one location.

Depending on the amount of recording data you have and how you work, a good backup service can automatically back up your recording data and ensure it against loss. If you wish to archive recordings for future use or reference, an object cloud storage service will store your data in a secure data center and provide greater flexibility and long term storage at reasonable cost.

For a good overview of backup options for recording musicians, there’s a great article written by producer, recording engineer, instructor, and composer Glenn Lorbecki, called The Music Producer’s Guide to Backing Up Data. Glenn is also a Backblaze customer, so he knows backup and cloud storage. You can read about Glenn on his website at Glennsound.com.

Backblaze has many musicians and recording professionals among our users. The entire Austin City Limits music archives are in our B2 Cloud Storage. Kontent Core is a music licensing platform where labels and artists can showcase their creative work. Other customers are solo musicians, bands, recording engineers, studios, and music publishers.

Preserve Your Memories and Your Songs with Backblaze

Backblaze offers flexible and affordable backup and cloud storage for music, digital recordings, and data of any kind. Your content is stored with a data durability of 99.999999999 (11 nines), and covered by an SLA. If you’d like to learn more about Backblaze’s Computer Backup or B2 Cloud Storage, we invite you to read more on our website.

•  •  •

*Nothing Holds a Memory (Like a Song)Jason Cassidy, American country singer and songwriter.

The post Backing Up Isn’t Hard to Do (for Musicians) appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze Reddit IAmA & World Backup Day 2019

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-reddit-iama-world-backup-day-2019/

Backblaze and Reddit stuffed logos

World Backup Day is March 31st and to celebrate this year, we’re going back in time and revisiting one of the most fun things we’ve done here at Backblaze, a Reddit IAmA!

When — Mark Your Calendars
On Thursday March 28th at 10am Pacific, join us on the official Reddit IAmA subreddit and ask us whatever you like!

Who — The Team Behind Backblaze
Joining in this IAmA will be: Gleb Budman, CEO of Backblaze; Brian Wilson, CTO of Backblaze; Yev Pusin, The Guy Writing This Post; and Andy Klein, the fellow who writes all of the Hard Drive Stats and Storage Pod posts! We’ll also have other Backblaze members popping in if they have some expertise to share!

What — Reddit AUA (Ask Us Anything)
We’ll be online answering your questions in real-time. Want to know about Storage Pods? No problem. Hard Drive Stats? Great! What video games we like to play? You got it. What our favorite meal is to eat when we travel? Yummo!

Reddit AMA with Backblaze March 28, 2019 10am Pacific
Reddit AMA with Backblaze March 28, 2019 10am Pacific

Why — Backup Awareness
Backblaze has supported World Backup Day since it started. Our first AUA (ask us anything) was about seven years ago and was in honor of World Backup Day, as well. We want to make sure that everyone is backed up, and World Backup Day is a great reminder that not everyone has a backup, and lets friends know that they should protect the important files they have on their computers. And, of course, if someone you know could use a service like ours, please send them to: https://www.backblaze.com/free-trial.html

World Backup Day 2019
Don’t be an April Fool. Be prepared. Back up your files on March 31st.

Note: This page is not officially supported or endorsed by World Backup Day.

The post Backblaze Reddit IAmA & World Backup Day 2019 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Farewell to Mozy

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/farewell-to-mozy-backup/

Mozy folder moving to Backblaze cloud backup

Around this time last year, we all learned that Carbonite was acquiring Mozy from Dell Inc. That deal closed on March 19, 2018 for $145 million. One year later, we’ve seen reports that Mozy users will be forced to update to the Carbonite service.

We’re always sad to see a competitor exit the marketplace. When Backblaze burst onto the scene in 2008, Mozy and CrashPlan (also no longer offering a consumer service) were some of our most formidable peers in the online backup space. Much like after CrashPlan exited the consumer space, we’d like to reaffirm our commitment to simple, inexpensive, and unlimited cloud backup for businesses and consumers.

A Message to Mozy Backup Customers

If you’ve been using Mozy and are unsure about the transition to Carbonite, we invite you to take a look at our comparison page to see how Backblaze stacks up against the cloud backup competition. We invite to take a free trial of Backblaze. It takes less than 5 minutes to get started and once installed, Backblaze will automatically start backing up your computer — no credit card is required until you decide to buy a license.

As part of the transition from Mozy to Carbonite, Mozy customers will need to reupload all of their data to Carbonite. If you’re concerned about the time it will take to complete a new backup with Carbonite, Backblaze has recently made our service much faster with the release of Backblaze Computer Backup v6.0. Now is the perfect time to switch to Backblaze, where you’ll be able to back up more data, more quickly, and less expensively.

Set a Reminder

While Carbonite does have promotional pricing for existing Mozy customers, that pricing will expire after your first renewal and subsequent charges will be at regular Carbonite rates (Carbonite Billing FAQ). You can compare some of Carbonite’s plans against Backblaze on our comparison chart. If you’d like, we can send an email one month before your renewal, reminding you that it might be coming up, and that it would be a great time to try Backblaze. Just fill out the form below and we’ll send you the reminder.



Give Backblaze a Try

Backblaze has been a leader in online backup since 2008 — providing unlimited, inexpensive, and simple online backup to everyone. We currently store over 750 petabytes of data and have restored over 40 billion files for our customers. You can try Backblaze for free at any time by visiting https://www.backblaze.com/free-trial.html.

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to anyone joining us from Mozy and look forward to taking care of your backups and data!

The post Farewell to Mozy appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Five Best Practices to Securely Preserve Your Video, Photo, and Other Data

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/five-best-practices-to-securely-preserve-your-video-photo-and-other-data/

computer and camera overlooking a lake

Whether you’re working with video, photo, audio, or other data, preserving the security of your data has to be at the top of your priority list. Data security might sound like a challenging proposition, but by following just a handful of guidelines it becomes a straightforward and easily accomplished task.

We’d like to share what we consider best practices for maintaining the safety of your data. For both seasoned pros and those just getting started with digital media, these best practices are important to implement and revisit regularly. We believe that by following these practices — independently of which specific data storage software, service, or device you use — you will ensure that all your media and other data are kept secure to the greatest extent possible.

The Five Best Practices to Keep Your Digital Media Safe

1 — Keep Multiple Copies of Your Media Files

Everyone by now is likely familiar with the 3-2-1 strategy for maintaining multiple copies of your data (video, photos, digital asset management catalogs, etc.). Following a 3-2-1 strategy simply means that you should always have at least three copies of your active data, two of which are local, and at least one that is in another location.

a tech standing looking at a pod full of hard drives in a data center
Choose a reliable storage provider

Mind you, this is for active data, that is, files and other data that you are currently working on and want to have backed up in case of accident, theft, or hardware failure. Once you’re finished working with your data, you should consider archiving your data, which we’ve also written about on our blog.

2 — Use Trustworthy Vendors

There are times when you can legitimately cut corners to save money, and there are times when you shouldn’t. When it comes to your digital media and services, you want to go with the best. That means using topnotch memory sticks, HDD and SSD drives, software, and cloud services.

For hardware devices and software, it’s always helpful to read reviews or talk with others using the devices to find out how well they work. For hard drive reliability, our Drive Stats blog posts can be informative and are a unique source of information in the data storage industry.

For cloud storage, you want a vendor with a strong track record of reliability and cost stability. You don’t want to use a cloud service or other SaaS vendor that has a history of making it difficult or expensive to access or download your data from their service. A topnotch service vendor will be transparent in their business practices, inform you when there are any outages in their service or maintenance windows, and try as hard as possible to make things right if problems occur.

3 — Always Use Encryption (The Strongest Available)

Encrypting your data provides a number of benefits. It protects your data no matter where it is stored, and also when it is being moved — potentially the most vulnerable exposure your data will have.

Encrypted data can’t be altered or corrupted without the changes being detected, which provides another advantage. Encryption also enables you to meet requirements for privacy and security compliance and to keep up with changing rules and regulations.

Encryption comes in different flavors. You should always select the strongest encryption available, and make sure that any passwords or multi-factor authentication you use are strong and unique for each application.

4 — Automate Whenever Possible

Don’t rely on your memory or personal discipline alone to remember to regularly back up your data. While we always start with the best of intentions, we are busy and we often let things slide (much like resolving to exercise regularly). It’s better to have a regular schedule that you commit to, and best if the backups happen automatically. Many backup and archive apps let you specify when backups, incremental backups, or snapshots occur. You usually can set how many copies of your data to keep, and whether backups are triggered by the date and time or when data changes.

Automating your backups and archives means that you won’t forget to back up and results in a greater likelihood that your data will not only be recoverable after an accident or hardware failure, but up to date. You’ll be glad for the reduced stress and worry in your life, as well.

5 — Be Mindful of Security in Your Workflow

Nobody wants to worry about security all the time, but if it’s ignored, sooner or later that inattention will catch up with you. The best way to both increase the security of your data and reduce stress in your life is to have a plan and implement it.

At its simplest, the concept of security mindfulness means that you should be conscious of how you handle your data during all stages of your workflow. Being mindful shouldn’t require you to overthink, stress or worry, but just to be aware of the possible outcomes of your decisions about how you’re handling your data.

If you follow the first four practices in this list, then this fifth concept should flow naturally from them. You’ve taken the right steps to a long term plan for maintaining your data securely.

Data Security Can Be Both Simple and Effective

The best security practices are the ones that are easy to follow consistently. If you pay attention to the five best practices we’ve outlined here, then you’re well on your way to secure data and peace of mind.

•  •  •

Note:  This post originally appeared on Lensrentals.com on September 18, 2018.

The post Five Best Practices to Securely Preserve Your Video, Photo, and Other Data appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

How Reliable are SSDs?

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/how-reliable-are-ssds/

an exploded view of a Samsung Solid State Drive

What’s not to love about solid state drives (SSDs)? They are faster than conventional hard disk drives (HDDs), more compact, have no moving parts, are immune to magnetic fields, and can withstand more shocks and vibration than conventional magnetic platter disks. And, they are becoming available in larger and larger capacities while their cost comes down.

If you’ve upgraded an older computer with an SSD, you no doubt instantly saw the benefits. Your computer booted in less time, your applications loaded faster, and even when you ran out of memory, and apps and data had to be swapped to disk, it felt like everything was much snappier.

We’re now seeing SSDs with capacities that used to be reserved for HDDs and at prices that no longer make our eyes water. 500 GB SSDs are now affordable (under $100), and 1 TB drives are reasonably priced ($100 to $150). Even 2 TB SSDs fall into a budget range for putting together a good performance desktop system ($300 to $400).

We’ve written a number of times on this blog about SSDs, and considered the best uses for SSDs compared to HDDs. We’ve also written about the future of SSDs and how we use them in our data centers and whether we plan on using more in the future.

Reliability

In this post we’re going to consider the issue of SSD reliability. For all their merits, can SSDs be trusted with your data and will they last as long or longer than if you were using an HDD instead? You might have read that SSDs are limited to a finite number of reads and writes before they fail. What’s that all about?

The bottom line question is: do SSD drives fail? Of course they do, as do all drives eventually. The important questions we really need to be asking are 1) do they fail faster than HDDs, and 2) how long can we reasonably expect them to last?

Backing Up Is Great To Do

Of course, as a data storage and backup company, you know what we’re going to say right off. We always recommend that no matter which storage medium you use, you should always have a backup copy of your data. Even if the disk is reliable and in good condition, it won’t do you any good if your computer is stolen, consumed by a flood, or lost in a fire or other act of nature. You might have heard that water damage is the most common computer accident, and few computer components can survive a thorough soaking, especially when powered.

SSD Reliability Factors to Consider

Generally, SSDs are more durable than HDDs in extreme and harsh environments because they don’t have moving parts such as actuator arms. SSDs can withstand accidental drops and other shocks, vibration, extreme temperatures, and magnetic fields better than HDDs. Add to that their small size and lower power consumption, and you can understand why they’re a great fit for laptop computers and mobile applications.

First, let’s cover the basics. Almost all types of today’s SSDs use NAND flash memory. NAND isn’t an acronym like a lot of computer terms. Instead, it’s a name that’s derived from its logic gate called “NOT AND.”

SSD part diagram including Cache, Controller, and NAND Flash Memory

The term following NAND, flash, refers to a non-volatile solid state memory that retains data even when the power source is removed. NAND storage has specific properties that affect how long it will last. When data is written to a NAND cell (also known as programming), the data must be erased before new data can be written to that same cell. NAND is programed and erased by applying a voltage to send electrons through an insulator. The location of those electrons (and their quantity) determine when current will flow between a source and a sink (called a voltage threshold), determining the data stored in that cell (the 1s and 0s). When writing and erasing NAND, it sends the electrons through the insulator and back, and the insulator starts to wear — the exact number of these cycles in each individual cell varies by NAND design. Eventually, the insulator wears to the point where it may have difficulty keeping the electrons in their correct (programmed) location, which makes it increasingly more difficult to determine if the electrons are where they should be, or if they have migrated on their own.

This means that flash type memory cells can only be programmed and erased a limited number of times. This is measured in P/E cycles, which stands for programmed and erased.

P/E cycles are an important measurement of SSD reliability, but there are other factors that are important to consider, as well. These are P/E cycles, TBW (terabytes written), and MTBF (mean time between failures).

The SSD manufacturer will have these specifications available for their products and they can help you understand how long your drive can be expected to last and whether a particular drive is suited to your application.

P/E cycles — A solid-state-storage program-erase cycle is a sequence of events in which data is written to solid-state NAND flash memory cell, then erased, and then rewritten. How many P/E cycles a SSD can endure varies with the technology used, somewhere between 500 to 100,000 P/E cycles.

TBW — Terabytes written is the total amount of data that can be written into an SSD before it is likely to fail. For example, here are the TBW warranties for the popular Samsung 860 EVO SSD: 150 TBW for 250 GB model, 300 TBW for 500 GB model, 600 TBW for 1 TB model, 1,200 TBW for 2 TB model and 2,400 TBW for 4 TB model. Note: these models are warrantied for 5 years or TBW, whichever comes first.

MTBF — MTBF (mean time between failures) is a measure of how reliable a hardware product or component is over its expected lifetime. For most components, the measure is typically in thousands or even tens of thousands of hours between failures. For example, a hard disk drive may have a mean time between failures of 300,000 hours, while an SSD might have 1.5 million hours.

This doesn’t mean that your SSD will last that many hours, what it means is, given a sample set of that model of SSD, errors will occur at a certain rate. A 1.2 million hour MTBF means that if the drive is used at an average of 8 hours a day, a sample size of 1,000 SSDs would be expected to have one failure every 150 days, or about twice a year.

SSD Types

There are a number of different types of SSD, and advancements to the technology continue at a brisk pace. Generally, SSDs are based on four different NAND cell technologies:

  • SLC (Single Level Cell) — one bit per cell
  • When one bit is stored (SLC), it’s not necessary to keep close tabs on electron locations, so a few electrons migrating isn’t much of a concern. Because only a 1 or a 0 is being stored, it’s necessary only to accurately determine if voltage flows or not.

  • MLC (Multi-Level Cell) — two bits per cell
  • MLC stores two bits per cell, so more precision is needed (determining voltage threshold is more complex). It’s necessary to distinguish among 00, 01, 10 or 11. Migrating electrons have more of an impact, so the insulator cannot be worn as much as with SLC.

  • TLC (Triple Level Cell) — three bits per cell
  • This trend continues with TLC where three bits are stored: 001, 010, 100, …110 and 111. Migrating electrons have more effect than in MLC, which further reduces tolerable insulator wear.

  • QLC (Quad Level Cell) — four bits per cell
  • QLC stores four bits (16 possible combinations of 1s and 0s). With QLC, migrating electrons have the most significant effect. Tolerable insulator wear is further reduced.

    QLC is a good fit for read-centric workloads because NAND cells are worn negligibly when reading data versus worn more when writing data (programming and erasing). When writing and rewriting a lot of data, the insulator wears more quickly. If a NAND cell can tolerate that wear, it is well suited to read/write mixed accesses. The less wear-tolerable NAND cells are, the better they are suited for read-centric workloads and applications.

Each subsequent technology for NAND allows it to store an extra bit. The fewer bits per NAND cell, the faster, more reliable, and more energy efficient the technology is — and also, more expensive. A SLC SSD would technically be the most reliable SSD as it can endure more writes, while a QLC is the least reliable. If you’re selecting an SSD for an application where it will be written more than read, than the selection of NAND cell technology could be a significant factor in your decision. If your application is general computer use, it likely will matter less to you.

How Reliability Factors Affect Your Choice of SSD

How important these factors are to you depends on how the SSD is used. The right question to ask is how a drive will perform in your application. There are different performance and reliability criteria depending on whether the SSD will be used in a home desktop computer, a data center, or an exploration vehicle on Mars.

Manufacturers sometimes specify the type of application workload for which an SSD is designed, such as write-intensive, read-intensive or mixed-use. Some vendors allow the customer to select the optimal level of endurance and capacity for a particular SSD. For instance, an enterprise user with a high-transaction database might opt for a higher number of drive writes at the expense of capacity. Or a user operating a database that does infrequent writes might choose a lower drive writes number and a higher capacity.

Signs of SSD Failure

SSDs will eventually fail, but there usually are advance warnings of when that’s going to happen. You’ve likely encountered the dreaded clicking sound that emanates from a dying HDD. As an SSD has no moving parts, so we won’t get an audible warning that an SSD is about to fail us. You should be paying attention for a number of indicators that your SSD is nearing its end of life, and take action by replacing that drive with a new one.

1) Errors Involving Bad Blocks

Much like bad sectors on HDDs, there are bad blocks on SSDs. This is typically a scenario where the computer attempts to read or save a file, but it takes an unusually long time and ends in failure, so the system eventually gives up with an error message.

2) Files Cannot Be Read or Written

There are two ways in which a bad block can affect your files, 1) the system detects the bad block while writing data to the drive, and thus refuses to write data, and 2), the system detects the bad block after the data has been written, and thus refuses to read that data.

3) The File System Needs Repair
Getting an error message on your screen can happen simply because the computer was not shut down properly, but it also could be a sign of an SSD developing bad blocks or other problems.

4) Crashing During Boot
A crash during the computer boot is a sign that your drive could be developing a problem. You should make sure you have a current backup of all your data before it gets worse and the drive fails completely.

5) The Drive Becomes Read-Only
Your drive might refuse to write any more data to disk and can only read data. Fortunately, you can still get your data off the disk.

SSDs Generally Will Last As Long As You Need Them To

Let’s go back to the two questions we asked above.

Q: Do SSDs fail faster than HDDs?

A: That depends on the technology of the drives and how they’re used. HDDs are better suited for some applications and SSDs for others. SSDs can be expected to last as long or longer than HDDs in most general applications.

and

Q: How long can we reasonably expect an SSD to last?

A: An SSD should last as long as its manufacturer expects it to last (e.g. five years), provided that the use of the drive is not excessive for the technology it employs (e.g. using a QLC in an application with a high number of writes). Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that how you’re using the SSD matches its best use.

SSDs are a different breed of animal than a HDD and they have their strengths and weaknesses relative to other storage media. The good news is that their strengths — speed, durability, size, power consumption, etc. — are backed by pretty good overall reliability.

SSD users are far more likely to replace their storage drive because they’re ready to upgrade to a newer technology, higher capacity, or faster drive, than having to replace the drive due to a short lifespan. Under normal use we can expect an SSD to last years. If you replace your computer every three years, as most users do, then you probably needn’t worry about whether your SSD will outlast your computer. What’s important is whether the SSD will be sufficiently reliable that you won’t lose your data.

As we saw above, if you’re paying attention to your system, you will be given ample warning of an impending drive failure, and you can replace the drive before the data is not readable.

It’s good to understand how the different SSD technologies affect their reliability, and whether it’s worth it to spend extra money for SLC over MLC or QLC. However, unless you’re using an SSD in a specialized application with more writes than reads as we described above, just selecting a good quality SSD from a reputable manufacturer should be enough to make you feel confident that your SSD will have a useful life span.

Keep an eye out for any signs of failure or bad sectors, and, of course, be sure to have a solid backup plan no matter what type of drive you’re using.

The post How Reliable are SSDs? appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Subscription Updates for Computer Backup

Post Syndicated from Gleb Budman original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-computer-backup-pricing-change/

Backblaze laptop

Since 2008, we have offered unlimited Computer Backup for $5 per month. Today, after more than a decade of providing unlimited backup at that same price while also continuing to add features and functionality, we are announcing a price increase.

Effective for new purchases and renewals after March 11, 2019 at 5PM Pacific, our prices will change to:

2019 pricing

More than ten years ago, a friend’s computer crashed, taking with it all her writing and other files. Since she had no backup, she lost everything. As a result, we asked friends, family, and co-workers what they did for backup. The answers were primarily “nothing” or “not enough.” Five of us decided to quit our jobs and commit to working on this problem for a year with no salary in the hopes that we could help save a few people from this type of loss.

A lot has changed since then. Apple’s Time Machine, iPhone, iPad, Watch, and iCloud didn’t exist when we first started; Google Drive, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure were years away from being announced. Even for techies, the arrival of clouds mostly meant the need to bring an umbrella. Maxtor, at the time the third-largest hard drive vendor, had just been acquired by Seagate, and HGST was still a stand-alone hard drive company. The 1TB hard drive was a breakthrough in capacity.

Why The Change?

The short answer is that we have enhanced the service in many ways and storage costs have gone up. We have continually removed impediments to getting data backed up — no file size restrictions, speeding up uploads, all while data sets have grown larger and larger. We’ve worked hard to avoid raising our prices, which resulted in some great storage innovations and has allowed us to keep our original prices for more than a decade. By making this decision now, we are ensuring we can continue to offer unlimited backup and keep improving our Computer Backup service. I’d like to go into further detail on the two primary sources of our increased costs: 1) enhancements to the service, and 2) the market cost of storage.

1) Enhancements to the service

When we launched our service, we were (and still are) committed to providing unlimited backup. In addition, over the years, we’ve introduced many enhancements to improve the product in ways that have increased our costs. As consumer data has expanded, we have made sure that we continually back up all data as quickly as possible.

When we say unlimited, we mean unlimited. Here are a few examples of that commitment:

  • Removed all limits on what can be backed up. Originally 4GB was the maximum size any individual file could be and VM images, ISOs, plus other file types that aren’t typically user data were excluded.
  • Sped up backups. Combined small files into bundles, added threading to allow 30 backup processes at once, and added automatic thread management. This means your data gets backed up as fast as your setup allows.
  • Expanded restore options. Expanded the maximum size of Restore by Mail from 0.5 TB to 8 TB on a hard drive, and from a 4 GB DVD to a 256 GB flash drive. We also introduced the Restore Return Refund program. It’s a program our customers love but most other players in the industry have abandoned due to the costs of shipping, packaging, drive replacement, etc.
  • A bunch of other features. Locate My Computer, Preview/Access/Share, two-factor verification, iOS/Android apps, network management, Save to B2, and many of the other features/functions not only incurred development costs but have ongoing server/bandwidth expenses.

Other services have moved away from unlimited plans in favor of tiered pricing options (and different feature sets for different customers). Our customers tell us they love simplicity and predictability. While we are changing our prices, we remain fully committed to providing simple, reliable computer backup.

2) Market cost of storage

The volume of personal data has been skyrocketing for the last decade. In many ways our daily lives generate more data. We now carry a HD video camera in our pockets, music/video downloads are ubiquitous, and no event goes by without memorializing it with a photo or a social media post.

Historically, Backblaze benefitted from hard drives growing in capacity and decreasing in price. Over our first few years, these two trends approximately canceled each other out (customer data grew at approximately the same rate as hard drives decreased in price). Unfortunately, the 2011 floods in Thailand caused a step-function increase in the cost of drives that the market has still not recovered from, and the rate of price decreases on hard drives has slowed down.

Our team works aggressively to reduce our cost of storage year over year. And we have managed to create enough efficiencies to have kept our 2008 pricing. We designed our own Storage Pods, wrote our cloud storage file system, used consumer hard drives and analyzed which had the best price/reliability mix for our use-case, built client-side deduplication, went to crazy extremes during the Thailand drive crisis, and continue working proactively every day to drive down the cost of storage.

As a result, we believe that we have the lowest cost of storage in the industry. (An indicator of this is that we offer our infrastructure-as-a-service cloud storage at 1/4th the price of Amazon, Google, or Microsoft.) Despite that, the amount of storage per customer has grown faster than the reduction in costs.

Going Forward

A lot has changed in the decade since we founded Backblaze. We now offer backup for consumers and businesses, as well as raw object storage. We store over 750 petabytes of data for hundreds of thousands of customers in over 150 countries, and have helped customers recover over 35 billion files. What hasn’t changed is our desire to continue providing a service we’re proud of.

With all of that, we determined that it was important for us to take this step. It was not a decision we took lightly. We are committed to unlimited backup and want to be able to continue to invest in the service. We spent months making sure that we made this change the right way, including providing something for our existing and loyal customers.

To say thank you, we are offering existing customers the ability to extend existing Computer Backup licenses by one year for $50 per computer (the price of our original annual plan from 2008). Please read the Subscription Extension Program FAQ to learn more about this program and how you can extend your existing license for one year at the current pricing.

Thank you for being a customer and we look forward to protecting your data for many years to come.

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Save Data Directly to B2 With Backblaze Cloud Backup 6.0

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/save-data-directly-to-cloud-storage/

Save Restores to B2 screenshot

Customers have often told us that they’d love a way to save data directly from their Backblaze Computer Backup account to B2 Cloud Storage. Some want to freeze a set of records in time, others want to preserve the state of a directory or system as it existed at a specific moment. Still others simply want to remove data from their local drive but have the assurance that it is safely stored in the cloud.

We listened to these requests and are happy to say that we’ve added this capability in our just released 6.0 update of Backblaze Computer Backup. Users can now select B2 Cloud Storage as a destination to save Snapshots from their backup account during the restore process.

This capability lets customers do a number of new things, like keep a copy of their old computer’s data even when migrating to a new one, save a collection of files (e.g. last year’s emails, a completed work project, your novel draft, tax returns) in the cloud as an archive, or free up space on a hard drive by moving data to a Snapshot in B2 and then deleting the original copy. Just like files in Computer Backup, the B2 Snapshot can be downloaded over the internet or delivered anywhere on a USB flash or hard drive.

No More Connecting Your External Drives Every 30 Days

This new feature can particularly benefit users who have been using Computer Backup to back up data from multiple external drives. Often, these external drives are not always connected to their computers, and to maintain the backups they have been required to connect these drives at least once every 30 days so that they’re active and therefore maintained in their backup — a task they tell us they’d rather avoid.

Now, with the ability to save a restore to B2, these customers can take a Snapshot of the data already backed up from these drives and save it to a B2 account. They can save as many Snapshots as they wish, thereby saving the state of the drive as it existed in one moment for as long as they wish to retain it.

Snapshots are stored at economical B2 rates: $0.005 gigabyte/month and $0.01 gigabyte for downloads. Customers get an instant cost estimate when a Snapshot is prepared from Backblaze Backup to B2.

What is B2 Cloud Storage?

B2 is Backblaze’s low cost and high performance cloud storage. It can be used to store data for as short or as long a period as you require. The data in B2 is retrievable without delay from anywhere at any time.

B2 is different from Backblaze Computer Backup in that B2 can be used to store whatever data you want and you have complete control of how long it is retained. Our Computer Backup service offers unlimited backup of the data on your Mac or Windows computer using the Backblaze client software. B2, in contrast, can be accessed through the account dashboard or used with any of a number of applications chosen by the user, or accessed through various programming interfaces or from a computer’s command line. For more on pricing, see our pricing page and calculator for B2.

How Does Saving a Restore to B2 Work?

Files in your Computer Backup can be zipped and archived to a Snapshot that is stored in B2 Cloud Storage. These selected files will be safe in B2 until the Snapshot is removed by the user, even if the files have been deleted from the computer and the backup.

screenshot of the View/Restore Files options

Creating a Restore Snapshot in Backup account

The user gets an instant estimate of the cost to store the Snapshot in B2.

Name this Snapshot screenshot

Preparing Snapshot from Computer Backup account

The user receives a notice when the Snapshot is created and stored.

Your B2 Snapshot is Ready!

Notice that Snapshot has been created

An unlimited number of restores can be saved and retained as B2 Snapshots for any length of time desired.The user’s account dashboard shows all the Snapshots that have been created, and gives options to download or remove the Snapshot. A Snapshot can be downloaded directly from B2 to a user’s computer or shipped to customers on a USB flash or hard drive. And, when returned within 30 days, the cost of the flash or hard drive is completely refundable, just like with regular restores.

screenshot of user B2 Snapshots

User account page showing status of Snapshots in B2

Let Us Know How You’re Using Snapshots

We hope you’ll try out this new capability and let us know how you’re using it.

For more tips on saving data to B2 Snapshots, read our help article, Saving Files to B2 from Computer Backup, or sign up for our free webinar on Backblaze Backup v6.0 on January 30, 2019, at 11am PST.

The post Save Data Directly to B2 With Backblaze Cloud Backup 6.0 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze Cloud Backup v6.0: Larger Longer Faster Better

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-cloud-backup-v6/

Backblaze 6.0 -- The Larger Longer Faster Better Release
Announcing Backblaze Cloud Backup 6.0: The Larger Longer Faster Better Release!

This release for consumers and businesses brings a lot of new functionality to Backblaze Cloud Backup: Restore by Mail drives that are twice the size, archiving with Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage, up to 50% faster backups, and a network blocklist feature to help avoid data caps. All that plus more efficient and performant Mac and Windows applications along with mobile enhancements and SSO support with Google. We hope you like it!

Backblaze Restores — Now With The Power of B2 Cloud Storage

Larger Restores — Twice the Size

The amount of data individuals accumulate each year keeps growing. As you store more data, you need bigger hard drives to restore that data. Backblaze is increasing the capacity of our restore hard drives by 100% for our Restore By Mail feature. Flash keys can now hold up to 256GB and hard drives can now hold up to 8TB in restore data. Best of all, you can still use our Restore Return Refund feature to return those restore drives for a full refund.
2x 8TB USB Hard Drive Restore / 2x 256 GB USB Flash Drive Restore

Saving Data To B2 Snapshots

Backed up files can now be zipped and archived to a Snapshot in B2 Cloud Storage. These selected files will be available until you delete the Snapshot, even if the files have been deleted from your computer and backup. This capability lets customers do new things like keep a copy of all your old computer’s data even when migrating to a new one, save a collection of files (e.g. tax returns) in the cloud as an archive, or free up space on your hard drive by moving data to a Snapshot and then deleting the original copy. Just like files in Computer Backup, your B2 Snapshot can be downloaded over the internet or delivered on a USB hard drive. Learn more about Saving Data to B2!
Save Files to B2

Keep Restores Longer

Extend the life of your .zip restore by archiving it to B2 Cloud Storage. Your restore will be kept in a private B2 Cloud Storage Snapshot bucket as a .zip file until you delete the Snapshot. Use this feature if you need more time to download your restore or want to keep a permanent copy. Get the data later by downloading it directly to your computer or using our Restore by Mail service. Learn more about Keeping Restores Longer!
V6 -- Keep Restores Longer

Mac and Windows Application Updates

Performance — a 50% Boost

We’ve increased the maximum upload threads to 30, creating speed increases up to 50% (depending on your computer and upload bandwidth). More threads allow more uploads to run in parallel thereby dramatically increasing backup speeds. Learn more about backup threads on Mac and Windows.

Efficiency

Logging and system resource usage have been streamlined so Backblaze continues to be nearly invisible on your computer.

Network Management

We’re not big fans of data caps here at Backblaze, and one bit of feedback we’ve received over the last year or so was that people were blowing past their ISP’s monthly bandwidth allotment while backing up using their hotspot or mobile device-tethered internet connection. With that in mind, we’ve added a blocklist feature so you can choose to prevent backups from occurring while you are connected to specific Wi-Fi networks of your choosing. Backblaze will still transmit little bits of data (we call them heartbeats) to let us know your computer is still active, but no backups will be transmitted. Learn more about Network Management!
Block chosen WiFi Networks

Mobile Overhaul

Increased File Download Size

In the spirit of our increased maximum Restore by Mail hard drive and flash drive sizes, we’ve also increased the maximum size for downloads on our iOS and Android mobile apps. You can now download larger files, but keep in mind that your phone or tablet needs to have space available to hold them!

Security Enhancements

We’ve spent the last few months enhancing our sign-in security choices, and with the newest versions of our mobile apps, we’ve added support for 2FV via ToTP, biometric support, and SSO support.

Ease Of Use

We’ve cleaned up the mobile apps and made them a bit more intuitive to enable faster navigation and increased speed for browsing and downloading files.
V6 -- Increased File Download Size and Security Enhancements

SSO Support with Google

We’re rolling out SSO support for Gmail. Our Backblaze Groups have had SSO support for G Suite businesses for a few months, and now everyone can use this alternate sign-in method. You can enable SSO login from the My Settings page in your account and we’ll change your login preferences to SSO with the Gmail address associated with your account. New accounts can also be created using SSO on account creation. Learn more about Enabling SSO!

Backblaze 6.0 Available: January 17th, 2019

We will be slowly auto-updating all users in the coming weeks. To update now:

This version is now the default download on www.backblaze.com.

Want to Learn More? January 30th, 2019 at 11am PT

Want to learn more? Join Yev on a webinar where he’ll go over version 6.0 features and answer viewer questions! The webinar will be available on BrightTalk (registration is required) and you can sign up here by visiting the Backblaze BrightTALK channel.

We hope you enjoy Backblaze Cloud Backup v6.0!

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