Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Backup Retention Policy

Backup Retention Policy

Backup retention policy refers to how long the backup files or data is kept. Common questions about backup retention are below and we will cover these in more depth.

How long should you keep backups?

Backups are only as valuable as the most recent version. This can help determine how long you should keep your backup and older file versions. The examples here are unlimited. Basically if you are modifying files daily or even hourly then more frequent backups is ideal. Based on these details, try to determine how long you should keep backups. Preparing a disaster recovery plan try to determine if a data restore should be required, how many days, weeks or months or even years of data should be kept.

What are retention policies?

Retention policies are standards set by the business that determine the parameters on how much old data is retained. For example, if there is a compliance requirement such as taxaion documents, perhaps the policy is set by an outside entity and that might be to retain 7 years worth of data. This is not to say that all documents would be purged once they are 7 years old, but perhaps certain documents could then be discarded.

Data Backup Devices
How do you create a data retention policy?

On the technical side the data retention policy would then be translated into the backup settings to abide by the policy. The main features in the backup software client are to set if a file should be deleted after it reaches a certain age, but always keep the latest version. Other options include keeping a certain number of versions of each file. For example, in the case of a spreadsheet that is modified daily, perhaps keeping 10 versions, where 10 represents 10 days of history. Maybe some businesses need many more. During a backup if that file is modified, it would save another version until it reaches the minimum number of versions required and any additional versions would be purged. There could also be a delay in place to purge the extra versions a certain number of days after that requirement is met. Finally, to delete files from the backups completely if they are deleted locally. This would keep the backups more in sync with the data that is local on the drives. In some instances this keeps the data storage for the backups from growing out of control.

Which backup uses retention period?

Backup retention period is really what separates backups with cloud storage. If you modify data regularly and requires regular frequent backups then using cloud storage might not be the best solution. Cloud storage services only keep the most recent version of a file and if it is deleted holds those files in a trash bin for a certain amount of time, then they are purged permanently. If you asked Google to restore a deleted file from 5 weeks ago there is a strong chance it is gone forever. Backup takes a copy of the current version and then using the retention policy to determine how long to keep that file. Cloud storage only has one copy. If you modify and save in error, there is no versions to restore back to. It is always a good idea even if using Cloud Storage, to also run a backup of the locally stored (cached) version of those files for your own security.

What is the grandfather father son backup?

Grandfather, father, son backup is a term coined when using multiple media storage units for local backups. Also referred to as the 3 generation backup. For example, there will be a daily, weekly and monthly backup and those media units (hard drives or tapes) would be rotated with 3 sets. This is an old method of running a backup and using this rotation provides a retention of say 3 months. However, it isn't exactly 3 months depending on how those media units are recycled. It migh be 3 monthly snap shots of the data when that monthly backup is run. The daily or weekly backups would be more of a saviour for retrieving recent versions. This can now be simulated with unlimited backup plans as found in the TAPNET Online Backup software client by creating backup plans that simulate the 3 generation backup retention policy.

As always, the most valuable backup is the most recent one. If you haven't started, we highly recommend the TAPNET 15 Day Free Trial to get started. Any backup is better than none, even if its a free trial. It just might be the one that saves you.

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How can I backup my data online for free?

How can I backup my data online for free?

Top question that everyone asks, how can I backup my data online for free? Today we will take a deeper dive into the top 5 questions about online backup. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about how to backup data online, where files are stored, what exactly is meant by online backup and if online backup is the most secure way to backup files.

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Data Backup and Recovery

Data Backup and recovery refers to the process of backup up data in case a loss and setting up systems that allow that data recovery due to data loss.

Backing up data requires copying and archiving computer data, so that it is accessible in case of data deletion or corruption. TAPNET data backup service offers 100GB Online Backup for storage space for a one time fee of $4.95. Add storage in increments of 100GB any time. The one time setup fee includes 1 device, but offers unlimited local and network drives for that 1 device.

Data Backup Software

TAPNET backup client software works on all major operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, Virtual Machine, Synology QNAP, Backup for Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS, SUSE, Oracle Linux. Use any of these backup clients with the 100GB of data storage.

Data Backup and Recovery Plan

To create a data backup or recovery is just a few clicks away. From the client application click on Files and follow the wizard through the steps to setup a backup plan. The options start with choosing to create a local or cloud backup or a Hybrid where the backup is done locally first and then to cloud. We highly recommend this option to build data redundancy and eliminate single point of failure. Off-site backups are always recommended as a second level of data backup with on-site or local being the primary go to.

Backup Procedures

Every small business should have a disaster recovery plan and part of that should include data backup and recovery procedures. These should be documented and kept as a hard copy with multiple key stakeholders. Just imagine that you are doing a data recovery with a brand new machine and have absolutely nothing left from the disaster except the manual to recovery from.

Data Backup and Recovery Tools
Methods and Software

When preparing a disaster recovery plan every detail should be considered. From which files and folders are required to be in the backup to the hardware needed for the local backup and a full detailed inventory of what hardware requirements to complete a successful recovery. It is also good to practice the recovery process and document the methods used such as full or partial restores, priority of folders and the estimated time to implement the recovery plan.

Importance of Data Backup and Recovery

Every small, medium and large business will invest enourmous amounts of time and money in technology and the data represents the value of the employee equity. Without a backup, a disaster can wipe out all the equity of the organization. The recovery is like having a fire safe to prevent important papers from being destroyed in a fire. Remember the most valuable backup is the most recent one.

Backup and Recovery Concepts
  • Selecting file types to backup
  • Backup only modified files
  • Skipping system and hidden files
  • Skipping locked files
  • Backup compression configuration
  • Additional security and encryption
  • Setting Retention Policies
  • Sync your data that has been deleted locally
  • Backup schedules, one time, real time
  • Notification and event logs
  • Data versioning and file revision history
Backup Solution Is Fully Automated

Using data backup services is definitely something that can be automated and where the term was coined to set it and forget it. Ultimately a proper data backup and recovery plan will save cost and time and gives stakeholders peace of mind knowing the valuables are safe and secure.

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What are the New Updates in Cloud Computing?

With the vast amount of benefits that the cloud has brought to the world, experts continue to find ways to make cloud computing even more useful for people across different industries. No matter how extensive the services of cloud computing seem to be, more possibilities are discovered to prove that its powers are indeed limitless.

Here are some new updates in cloud computing that show several improvements that are still in place to make the cloud even more powerful and beneficial to people.

IBM Global Entrepreneur Program for Cloud Startups

Just recently, IBM announced that they will be awarding aspiring start-up companies with a $120,000 grant, and at the same time, offer them access of the wide range of services that the technology giant has under their cloud structure. This includes data transfer through Aspera, database through Cloudant, infrastructure through SoftLayer, and social analytics through Twitter. At the moment, IBM has over 143,000 companies with over 4 million developers under their cloud, making IBM one of the biggest cloud providers in terms of the range of services offered. According to Promod Haque of Norwest Ventures, IBM’s program can definitely drive collaborative cloud innovation with this initiative. This program can help magnify the rate at which cloud start-ups can market and expand their services. It makes it easier for cloud start-ups to monetise their solutions.

Cisco’s Cloud Index Study Shows Data Centres Covering Over Three Quarters of Total Workload by 2018

Cisco’s Cloud Index Study shows that by 2018, global cloud IP traffic will be a whopping 6.5 zettabytes, with 78% of workloads going through cloud data centres. The study is regularly done by Cisco to keep track of global data centers’ growth, as well as the growth of cloud-based IP traffic. With these numbers, it shows that over 2 billion people will be using cloud storage by then, considering that in 2013 there were already 922 million people storing their data in different cloud services. This growth will mostly be fuelled by the adoption of IPv6, with 24% of internet users ready to shift from their IPv4 protocol by 2018. This will be quite a considerable jump, as over 96% of today’s internet traffic is still dependent on IPv4.

Salesforce Opens its First UK Data Center

Salesforce launched their first data center in the UK in the latter part of October, fully-powered by renewable energy as part of their goals on sustainability. Salesforce CEO, George Hu, says that this move proves that they firmly believe that this shift is very strategic, considering how much power the UK market has. They are also considering building similar data centers in Germany and France in the near future. Other big cloud vendors have also done the same thing, with IBM announcing that they are also in the process of building data centres in the UK, France, and Germany. Amazon Web Services has also announced a German branch for their services.

With all these new updates in cloud computing, it is truly exciting to see what lies ahead in the world of technology. What possible expansions, innovations, and initiatives do you see happening next?

What are the Links between Email Hacking and Identity Theft?

Email hacking and identity theft are linked to one another. When someone hacks your personal email, your identity becomes vulnerable. All the private information you stored in your electronic mail can be easily stolen and used in various illegal ways. Moreover, if the hacking is personal, it can damage not just your reputation but your relationship with others as well.

So what are the links between email hacking and identity theft? Read on.

Stolen Data

When your email is hacked, it’s not just your correspondences that are at risk. Your medical history, financial standing and social media connections can be easily accessed. More often than not, people with multiple emails from different email providers have similar passwords. This practice extends to important account passwords like the ones for your online banking. Once your personal data are stolen, it’s easy enough for the hacker to use and max out your credit cards.

Ruined Reputation

It’ll only take a couple of minutes for a competent hacker to ruin your good online standing. There are different kinds of online hackers. And every kind has its own agenda. Some hack for financial gain, while others hack out of revenge for some reason. An increasing number of “hacktivists” are circling the net. The last two types of hackers are more dangerous for your reputation than the first because even though they don’t steal your identity per se, they have the power to be “you” for the time being and create havoc under your name.

Vessel of Virus

If you’re attacked by an opportunist hacker, s/he can “temporarily” steal your identity to send viruses to anyone in your contact list. This works not only with your email accounts. If your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter are connected to your email, Trojans can be sent and uploaded using multiple accounts under your name.

So what can you do to prevent your email from being hacked and your identity from being stolen?

Use the latest firewall protection and anti-virus software. An up-to-date security is trickier to hack because you will be alerted instantly when a malicious entity is trying to sabotage your online accounts. Also schedule regular scans against potential risks on your computer.

Be smart. Don’t just click a link right away. If you receive one from someone you trust but the link doesn’t look familiar or legit, don’t open it. Ask the sender first (if possible using other account) if s/he sent the link to you. This is also applicable to whatever you download online, especially if you’re using P2P sites.

Be vigilant. Don’t just give your email address to anyone online. If there’s a need for your email address, make sure that the company/brand/service you’re giving your information to won’t sell your email to third party companies. As much as possible, avoid clicking or reading the emails in your Spam folder too.

Victims of identity theft and email hacking are from different parts of the world. Some are just part of the unlucky group while others are targeted. Don’t be a victim. Change your password every now and then to steer clear of the clever hackers.

Do you have any personal experience with email hacking or identity theft? Share your story.

Microsoft Offers Cloud Computing Tools to Help in the Fight Against Ebola

In the midst of the global effort to contain the amount of damage that the Ebola Virus has done, Microsoft has decided to do their part by offering free research applications and cloud computing tools to the medical researchers who are working on the cure for the disease. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has announced the availability of Azure, the cloud-computing program that Microsoft developed, to all the research teams involved in the Ebola outbreak in a presentation he gave in San Francisco. Nadella also revealed that Microsoft’s own team of researchers have been working on a tool that aids in vaccine discovery which he is also offering to the research community.

To make the efforts spread even farther, Microsoft has also announced that they are soliciting cloud computing proposals that could be used in the development of a cure for Ebola as well as in creating a better understanding about the virus and the way it spreads and advances. The company says that allocations of Microsoft Azure will be awarded to those whose proposals will qualify.

Microsoft Azure supports a number of tools, languages and frameworks including Linux, Java, Python, Hadoop and Microsoft .NET. Qualified proposals should meet the following requirements:

* The proposal should not exceed three pages in length.

* The title of the proposal should include the word “Ebola.”

* The proposal should be submitted with the online application form provided.

No deadline has been set for submissions and the solicitation remains open for all proposals with ongoing reviews. All applicants should be affiliated with an academic institution.

Aside from individual investigator projects, Microsoft is also open to any kind of project that would help give access to different services and data that would be relevant to healthcare workers and medical researchers who are working on the Ebola crisis.

So far, the Ebola Virus has killed over 4,500 people in West Africa, and the number of potential victims continues to grow by the day.

Aside from offering their cloud computing tools for the Ebola victims and towards the research that goes into it, Microsoft has been known to help out in different issues as part of their corporate social responsibility programs. According to Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Strategist, the company believes in using cloud computing tools and the general power of information technology to help address some of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.

Among Microsoft’s known efforts to help in disasters on a global scale is their participation in the relief efforts after Typhoon Haiyan (November 2013), which affected over 4 million people in the Visayan region of the Philippines alone. Aside from providing over $1.1 million in relief support both in cash and in kind, they also deployed emergency connectivity kits to help establish communications among over 5,000 humanitarian aid workers as all systems were down in the area for at least a few months after the storm has passed. Other global disasters that Microsoft has aided were the 2012 storms in the US East Coast and the 2011 earthquake in Japan.

How Did Cloud Computing Evolve?

If there is one thing that is experiencing unprecedented growth and burgeoning popularity these days, it is cloud computing. Now, this is not anything new and has, in fact, been a buzz word for several years now and has continued to grow its fan base with no signs of slowing down. As wonderful as the cloud is now, it wasn’t always this way, since it had to go through growing pains as part of its evolution. To understand how cloud computing got to where it is now, it is important to take a trip back to the past and see how it all started. This is where you will see just how far cloud computing has come, and how much it has changed since then.

The Beginnings

Believe it or not, cloud computing technology is not actually a new thing, since the concept came from way back in the ’50s. Back then, they had large-scale mainframes that were offered to corporations and schools. The mainframes had such massive hardware infrastructure that they would be installed in “server rooms” because each room had only enough space for one mainframe. Then, multiple users were given the chance to access the mainframe by way of “dumb terminals,” which were actually stations used solely for facilitating access to the mainframes.

These mainframes were hugely expensive to buy and maintain, and what this meant was that organizations were not able to maintain a mainframe for each and every user. This made it standard practice for multiple users to access the same data storage layer and CPU power from any given station. By allowing this to happen, an organization was able to get better ROI from their mainframes.

The Server Evolution

The way servers evolved had a direct impact on how the cloud evolved. For instance, if you were thinking of buying a server then, you would have to shell out tons of money. Of course, in the ’90s, the cost was nowhere near as high as in the ’50s but they were still pretty steep. However, as more and more people started to go online, the only thing to do was to adopt virtualization, and this was what led to servers being virtualized into different hosting environments. This kind of environment allowed companies to save on the cost of infrastructure by minimizing the actual amount of hardware needed to meet the needs of the company.

This was the same time that the term “cloud computing” started getting thrown around. That and “utility computing” were the two terms used to refer to it, since it seemed like the sum of the parts melded together to form one nebulous blob that was made up of computing resources that could then be segmented. With these cloud environments, it was extremely easy to keep adding resources: simply add a server to the rack and it immediately became part of a bigger system.

Modern Times

These days, using the cloud can be as easy as: creating an account, downloading and installing the application on the computer, and moving files into selected folders in the cloud. Also, cloud technology has become affordable, and this means people need not pay an arm and a leg to enjoy the technology.

Why is Syncing Files in the Cloud Important?

Modern technology has allowed us to flourish in many fields. Today, tasks such as record keeping, accessing files, or having organized digital folders of work-related files have made working much easier and more efficient. To add to the convenience of today’s employees, or pretty much everyone who makes use of gadgets which help them produce digital files, there exists the cloud where files of varying formats and sizes can be stored.

The cloud allows users to save files without the use of hardware, often at no cost other than being able to access the Internet and have a gadget to use to access the cloud. Indeed, it is a helpful tool for those who would like to keep backups of their files which they can later on access online. However, one must not forget that the cloud can only be completely useful depending on two main factors:
– The availability of network connection and gadgets to use to access the Internet
– Your habit of syncing files in the cloud

Cloud storage works under the assumption that the user has access to stable internet connection. When this variable is present, the use of the cloud is rarely impeded. Uploading and downloading files will be finished within just a few seconds or minutes depending on how much files are being processed and how fast the Internet connection is. Given these advantages that the cloud brings, it is obvious why it can be advantageous for people who need easy access to their files even without using their very own hardware or gadgets for it.

Apart from a fully functional cloud service provider though, there is one other crucial factor which can affect how useful the cloud actually is: your habit of syncing files in the cloud. Syncing or synchronizing refers to the act of uploading files to your cloud backup storage online. Without proper syncing, you will not be able to access your files through the cloud. Surprisingly, syncing can be a small and seemingly mindless thing to do, but the benefits of cloud storage actually depends on it.

Simply put, failing to properly syncing files in the cloud renders your cloud storage space, whether free or paid, useless. Syncing may be done through various means like copying files into the cloud storage folder, uploading files manually, or even programming your cloud storage backup to sync as per your preferences. Forgetting to care about these matters would result in the potentially nasty surprise of realizing that your files aren’t where you need them to be when you try and access them online through other devices.
From your end, ensuring that you have a stable connection to the Internet is crucial to syncing all the files you need to sync in the cloud. Next comes your understanding of when syncing has been completed. You will usually be notified by your cloud storage once your files have been synced, and when they are, you can then go about your other tasks. If not, check to see whether your files have been successfully synced because failing to do so will render your having cloud storage space useless!

Have you ever experienced thinking your files have been synced and being surprised to see that they weren’t? Tell us your story—we’d love to hear about it!

How to Get Free Cloud Backup from Zipcloud

In this day and age where cloud backup is king, there is no shortage of cloud backup services that you can choose from. To date, there are already some superstars in the cloud backup arena and they are Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. These cloud services are basically the “it” crowd when it comes to cloud backup and they offer both paid and free cloud backup services. As far as cloud backup goes, these are the big three; but this doesn’t mean that you completely forget about the new kids on the block that also offer free cloud backup.

One new name that is quickly garnering fans is Zipcloud and while it is not yet widely known, it is certainly making waves. For those looking for free cloud backup, this is certainly worth considering.

Consider Zipcloud

Zipcloud offers free cloud backup and for those looking to try cloud backup for the first time or to shift from the one they currently use, this is a great service to try. The company is relatively new, but they are quickly gathering fans because they offer what everyone wants in their cloud backup service. Looking at their website, you will see that they describe their service as “Simple. Safe.Secure,” which is really all you can ever ask for in a cloud service. Have a look at some of the very best things it has to offer below:

• Free cloud backup and storage – If you want top of the line cloud storage and you do not want to pay a cent for it, then you ought to sign up for the free cloud backup and storage offered by Zipcloud. All you need to do is sign up and sign in to your free account. Now, you will get limited space but if you refer family and friends, you can actually boost your cloud’s memory; if you are familiar with Dropbox’s free accounts, this is a similar concept they are using. Some reports have it that Zipcloud offers free and unlimited storage for those who want to upgrade after two weeks.

• Paid Storage – Like other cloud storage providers, Zipcloud also has paid accounts and the rates are really quite fair. For those that want to sign up for the paid cloud storage, it will cost about $71.00 a year and you get 500GB of storage. Customers will have to pay an extra $0.14 for every extra GB they use up after the initial amount given has been used up.

• Apps – This service thinks of everything and has even released an app that is available for both Android and iOS, so everyone can back up their files on their computers and check them on their phones. This service is not just compatible with Windows and iOS but also with Linux OS as well.

Those are some of the main features of this up and coming cloud backup service provider and you have to admit they are pretty good.

Will you be giving their free services a try anytime soon? Share your thoughts below!

What to Expect from Cloud Computing at a Budget

Cloud computing has proven to be very beneficial to a lot of people for commercial or personal uses. It helps one access files through the Internet while also having a reliable backup storage online. Of course, people can still use hardware for keeping files, but the convenience that online access to files you’ve synced in the cloud is something you can only enjoy when availing of cloud backup services.

There are free and paid cloud computing services available online. Usually, individuals who use free cloud computing are those who have personal files they want to save for safekeeping through online backup storage. Free cloud storage may offer anywhere from 5 GB up to 10 GB or even more free space depending on the terms of the cloud service provider you choose.

For businesses in particular though, free cloud storage may not quite cut it. Because of this, cashing out may be necessary for businesses so that they can enjoy some perks which cannot be experienced from free cloud storage. There are different cloud storage plans available from various cloud storage service providers, and these come with different features and different prices. However, what if you have only a certain amount of money to spend, and you have nothing more to allot for cloud storage? To give you an idea, here’s what to expect from cloud computing on a budget:

More storage space – This is definitely a perk when you finally decide to spend money on your cloud computing services. You should, however, remember that your additional cloud storage space will depend on how much you are paying. More money means more space, and if you need quite a lot of space, you might get disappointed when you only have a small amount of money to allot for cloud computing.

Relatively affordable monthly rates – Monthly rates for cloud storage services are relatively affordable, but you should be mindful of renewal rates and other hidden costs. The cloud service provider will definitely want you to keep upgrading, so be wary of offers and possible popups which may lead to you spending more on their services. Be prepared to wade through enticing emails asking you to upgrade or reminders for upgrades while using your paid cloud storage services.

Security details – Free cloud computing is usually secure although there are still risks when it comes to saving files online. With cloud computing that’s paid, you get some added levels of protection from your cloud which gives your files a bit more safeguarding from external threats. Of course, more expensive cloud storage packages can certainly come with tighter security features, but you can expect some additional security from paid cloud storage, even if it’s the most basic package.

Cloud computing at a budget may seem limited compared to more expensive packages, but it would give you a good preview of how more expensive packages would be from your cloud service provider. Have you tried availing cloud services at a budget? We’d like to hear about your experiences!