• You Know You're a Business Owner When...

    by Sara Harold | Feb 19, 2014

    There are more than 23 million small businesses in the US. They provide us with things like coffee every morning, dry-cleaned clothes, legal representation, preventative healthcare and tax prep. Take a peek into their lives, and thank a small business owner for all they do today! (Hugs are good too.)

    You can’t count the number of times you’ve heard the phrase “Wears many hats.
    But you know it’s way more than the number of hats you have – metaphorically and in your closet.




     Vacation – what’s that?!
    You can’t remember the last time you made it through an entire vacation without checking in with the office, reading emails or making business calls. Maybe when you retire.


    It drives you crazy when people say, “But you’re your own boss! How hard can that be?”
    If it was this easy, everyone would run their own business.



    You’re a networking machine.

    Whether it’s catching up with the president of the Chamber of Commerce at the post office or running into a potential client at dinner, you always stop to have a word (or 500). How else are you supposed to know what’s going on in your community and industry?!


    You’re a planner.
    A good business plan is a work of art – and you aim to be Van Gogh.

     

    You’re part of the backbone of America – thank you for all that you do!

  • Protect Your Files From Malware

    by Lynnette Nolan | Oct 08, 2013

    By backing up your files, you’ve already taken an important step in protecting your computer – but there are threats beyond data loss that you can prepare for.

    Malware (short for malicious software) is software that is developed to disrupt or damage a computer system. It can appear in a number of ways, and can be used to gather private information, delete data or even lock people out of their own files. According to Kaspersky Labs, there are more than 200,000 new malware threats per day!

    One such malware, Cryptolocker, has been making the internet rounds over the past several weeks. The software is called “ransomware,” as it encrypts the files on infected computers so users can’t access them. When someone tries to open a file on a computer infected with this malware, they are alerted that they must pay $300 for their files to be unencrypted so they can access them. Deleting the malware or refusing to pay the ransom will leave their files encrypted. Spiceworks has a great overview of the issue
    .

    As your trusted partner in data protection, we at Carbonite want to ensure that our customers are aware of these threats and know how to prevent them from infecting their computers and servers. Here are some tips that can help you avoid malware and other types of viruses:

    • Be an email skeptic: Malware is often spread through email links or attachments. Don’t open attachments or click on links from people or companies you’re not familiar with.
    • Free software – too good to be true?: Downloading free software is tempting, but it may include spyware and other malicious content. Only download software from trusted vendors.
    • Down with the pop-ups: Block pop-up windows and don’t click on links or buttons within them.
    • Bump up your browser security: Go into your web browser settings and make sure your security settings are set to medium or higher.
    • Beware of illegal downloads: While it’s tempting to watch a movie that’s still in theatres on your computer, many files shared on illegal file-sharing sites have pieces of malware attached to them.

    These are just a few tips that can help you avoid the headaches and other negative effects of malware. Safe (internet) surfing!

  • What Can the Cloud Do for Your Business?

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jul 19, 2013

    From driving revenue to increasing productivity to analyzing big data, it’s clear that the cloud is really changing the ways small businesses operate! But with all this potential, some businesses are still unsure about transitioning to the cloud. That’s understandable, because with new technologies emerging every day, it can be hard to identify the useful tools in a sea of fleeting fads.

    You’ve got a lot on your plate, so let us help you cut through the cloud clutter. Here are a few ways the cloud can help you streamline business practices:

    Data Recovery: Having a business continuity and disaster recovery plan is essential for every small business, and the cloud makes it easy. After a data disaster, the cloud can help you quickly retrieve and restore any lost information – and getting back up and running as quickly as possible makes all the difference for SMBs.

    Cost Savings: Peace of mind is priceless, but we know that business owners have budgets. Fortunately, the cloud is inexpensive to implement, so you can operate efficiently without breaking the bank.

    Scalability: As a business grows, so do your data needs. The cloud is versatile enough to scale with your business, allowing you to quickly and easily make changes to you storage capacity.

    When you migrate tasks to the cloud, you can rest assured knowing your business can stay on track no matter what’s going on in the office!

  • Celebrate National Small Business Week!

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jun 20, 2013

    Small businesses are the backbone of America – and during National Small Business week, we’re celebrating these great companies!

    Just a few years ago, in 2005, Carbonite was a small start-up founded by Dave Friend after his daughter’s term paper was lost in a computer crash. Now, we’re a public company with almost 500 employees! But we still have that start-up spirit, and Dave Friend is always looking for ways to reach, empower and advise entrepreneurs − which is why he launched the Friends with Friend series!

    Check out what Dave has to say about Carbonite’s beginnings and the factors he considers critical to small business growth and success.

    If you have questions for Dave, you can submit them here. He may have the answer for you in an upcoming webisode!

  • Top Ten Reasons to Bring Summer Fridays to Your Office

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jun 14, 2013

    If you’re one of the lucky 12% of US workers enjoying Summer Fridays – congratulations! If not, we bet this e-card from someecards surely resonates.

    summer-fridays-ecard

    So let Carbonite, the Official Sponsor of Summer Fridays, help you explain to your boss why you deserve a few extra weekend hours now through Labor Day weekend. Just share the following list with your supervisor and you could be enjoying a change of scenery come Friday afternoon!

    Top Ten Reasons to Bring Summer Fridays to Our Office

    10. Spending some time in the sun is the best way to get the Vitamin D I need to stay healthy (i.e., Summer Fridays prevent sick days on Monday).

    9. 12% of U.S. workers already enjoy Summer Fridays. Let’s join the cool crowd!

    8. With Currents, I can send a file for to any of my collaborators to review and edit no matter where we are.

    7. Flexible schedules can increase retention and engagement.

    6. It would be awesome to have another reason to tweet about how amazing my workplace is.

    5. I can avoid burnout if we conduct our meetings via Google Hangout.

    4. The air conditioning is making the office a bit too cold for my liking.

    3. I recently heard that treats baked on a Friday afternoon taste best when shared with the boss on Monday morning.

    2. Happy employees are productive employees. And my cube-mates and were just talking about how we’re happiest by the pool.

    1. With my Carbonite Mobile app, my backed up files are accessible anytime, anywhere!

    If you really want to drive it home, make sure to create your own Summer Fridays request letter on our Facebook page. After being presented with a tailored letter and this list of reasons why Summer Fridays should be instituted in every office, your boss may even want to join you at the beach this Friday afternoon!

  • Cloud Services and the Home Office Work-Life Balance [INFOGRAPHIC]

    by Lynnette Nolan | Apr 24, 2013

    Finding a work/life balance is hard. And for small business owners who work from home, there are even more challenges!  In fact, a new survey by Wakefield Research for Carbonite found that nearly half of home-based business owners feel it’s more stressful working for themselves. And this infographic shows us why…

    home-office-work-life-balance-infographic-stressors

    From hiding in the bathroom to finishing a project to missing happy hour with friends, small business owners working from home often play hooky from life in order to take care of business. It’s not ideal, but it is understandable, since these leaders are striving to manage everything from time constraints to data loss.

    home-office-work-life-balance-infographic-stressors

    But business owners aren’t the only ones affected by the challenges of home offices. As they turn the kitchen table into a video conference table, tensions can arise at home as their partners start to feel the weight of the stress. The top reasons couples argue include: work cluttering other parts of the house (32%), working late takes away from family time (31%), and the inability to separate personal life from professional life (30%).

    Despite the challenges, working from home can reduce overhead costs and encourage productivity, especially for small businesses that employ cloud services in their home office.

    The cloud may not be able to quiet your toddler’s tantrum while you’re on a client call, but backup certainly comes in handy if your kids accidentally delete an important file from your desktop while you’re squatting in the basement trying work in peace!

  • Putting the Cloud to Work for Your SMB

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jan 21, 2013

    The cloud is a valuable asset for small businesses with vast responsibilities, but minimal resources. With cloud solutions, SMBs can solve IT dilemmas that they might otherwise need to outsource, often at a high cost. This Wall Street Journal article highlights companies that have turned to the cloud and reduced their third-party IT costs by thousands of dollars!

    Cloud applications are becoming commonplace solutions for businesses, and when SMBs put the cloud to work, they can increase productivity and cut IT-related costs. Some of the more popular ways small businesses are using the cloud today include:

    • Email, like Gmail or Office 365
    • Customer Relationship Management (CRM), like Salesforce
    • Financial software, likeQuickBooks Online
    • And of course, backup – like Carbonite!

    How does your small business put the cloud to use? At Carbonite, our business is the cloud. If you’re interested in the better backup plan for yours, give us a call. You can even try us free for 30-days , with no risk or commitment.

     

  • The Buzz Over Big Data: Thoughts from Dave Friend

    by Lynnette Nolan | Oct 30, 2012

    I presented last week at Xconomy's BIG DATA Forum.  It wasn't until after I accepted that I realized I didn't know what the term big data actually means.  So I turned to Wikipedia to find out.  According to Wikipedia, "The term big data is a buzzword, and is frequently misused to mean any form of large-scale data or information processing."  Well, that explains why I was invited to speak.  "Large-scale data" is Carbonite in a nutshell.  I wouldn't use the term "big data" for Carbonite.  We're more like "Extremely Large Data" or "gigundous amounts of data."

    Big data is far from a new idea, of course.  Regression analysis, one of the first mathematical treatments of data sets, was described by the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss in the early 1800s.  Back in the early 1990s, I was CEO of a company in Cambridge called Pilot Software and we did what at that time was called Data Mining.  Our flagship product was a multidimensional database that was especially good at slicing and dicing very large transactional databases looking for patterns and anomalies.  It was used by companies like McDonald's and JCPenney to uncover nuggets of useful management information in the vast quantities transactional data produced by their cash registers.  There are many other buzzwords that have come and gone as well, including business intelligence, data analytics, decision support, data dredging and so on.

    So I had to ask myself, what's makes big data different from the "data mining" I was doing more than a decade ago.  As far as I can tell, it's mostly a matter of quantity, with data now coming from all kinds of devices and places, not just cash registers.

    So, just why does big data warrant a new buzzword?  I can think of three reasons: 1) it's probably harder to raise venture capital for a data mining company these days, 2) maybe it helps IT professionals justify bigger budgets, and 3) of course, how could you organize a successful conference without a new buzzword? ;)

    Personally, I appreciate that Google can use big data to serve up an ad for something I might actually find interesting or that Netflix knows that I might prefer Steven Hawking to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  But I'd be cautious about all the hype about big data because it's is no substitute for judgment.  Judgment is actually the ultimate form of big data.  You are taking a lifetime of experiences and applying them in a very sophisticated way to predict what's going to happen in the future.  For example, with all the data that's available in the financial markets, with computers making millisecond high velocity trades, MIT-trained physicists and mathematicians laboring away in the bowels of Goldman Sachs,  there is still no way to replace a Peter Lynch or a Warren Buffet.

    The stuff we do with computers is trivial by comparison.  This morning when I was eating breakfast, my cat leapt a good six feet from the sink to the table and landed perfectly right between my newspaper and the cereal bowl.  I thought, wow, now that's big data at work.  Think of the accumulated experience and judgment that it took to pull that off.  Think of the enormous quantity of visual data, the 3D image processing, the billions of neurons, the precise muscle control, the knowledge that if you land on the newspaper it's going to slide, and the knowledge that if you land on my cereal bowl you're going to get whacked.  That's big data and it's humbling.

    So that brought me back to what was I doing talking about big data? Is Carbonite really big data or just ‘a lot of data'?  Well, according to another definition I found on the web, "Big data involves the extraction of useful insight from volumes of data so large that traditional database tools cannot handle the workload."   Well, we would certainly qualify on to "too large for traditional database" front.  In fact, we get over 300 million new files every day.  And we add around a petabyte of storage every couple of weeks.  I doubt that very many companies in New England have more data than Carbonite. 

    But as for the "insights," well, the whole idea in backup is you have this sacred trust with your customers that you're not supposed to know anything about them. And you're certainly not supposed to be able to glean any kind of insights from the contents of their computers.   To break that sacred trust would probably spell doom in our business.  We spend tens of millions a year on advertising to create a trusted brand.  What does "trusted" brand mean?  It means your data is private. Confidential. Secure.  Nobody gets to look at it for any reason.  We bend over backwards to encrypt at every step of the process.  There are zero unencrypted customer files in our data centers.  We hire white-hat hackers to try to compromise our security.  We have PhDs on our team whose sole job is to prevent people from extracting insights from our customer's data.  So just what do we do with all that data?  We store it and give it back to our customers when they want it.  That's it.

    The one thing we may have in common with big data is that it takes very specialized technology just to deal with the volumes.  Commercial databases and file systems aren't designed to work at this scale.  I remember when we were first starting out we stored backed up files using Window's NTFS file system.  When we got to about 500 million files, things got trickier.  So we called Microsoft and they asked "How many files do you have?"  We told them "about 500 million."  There was a good 10 seconds of silence on the other end of the line.   "Uh, NTFS wasn't really designed to handle that many files."  Since then we have backed up over 200 billion files and keeping track of all of them and insuring that none of them are corrupted takes very specialized technology.  Especially when you consider that it has to be done very inexpensively because we offer unlimited backup for $59 per year.

    And all this new data comes salted with some interesting new privacy issues.  While we most definitely don't want to know anything about the data on our customers' computers, we do know some things that help us provide a better service WITHOUT violating the sacred trust between us and our users.  For example, we can suggest tips and user hints based on the type of computer or mobile devices our customers are using Carbonite with.

    But, as I think about big data on whole, one concern is that even data that is innocuous by social media or credit card company standards, tilts the playing field away from the inpidual.  For example, if I am shopping for a flight, it's easy for a travel site to figure out how badly I need to go on a certain day and price my ticket accordingly.  Think about it.  If you're on a plane with 200 other passengers, how many do you think paid the same price that you paid?  It's the same with hotel rooms, or any number of other services.   The problem is the systems know more about you than you probably want them to know, and that could put you potentially at a disadvantage.

    Something else to consider is the potential for prying.  In most countries, we assume our governments are benign, that the magazines we read, the books we take from the library, the causes we support, the purchases we make, even the places we visit, will not be used by some government to persecute us in the future.  It doesn't even have to be a government – when you apply for a home mortgage for example, and you're denied, do you really always know the whole truth about why?  It's all in your big data, but that doesn't mean the data is correct and it doesn't mean that you will ever know what's really there.

    For those of you whose businesses are based on big data, I urge you to use caution when dealing with privacy issues.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant."  I think that may apply to businesses as well.

  • World Backup Day Tips from Carbonite - Secure Your Photos in the Cloud

    by Lynnette Nolan | Mar 30, 2012

    If you lost all of your digital photos, what would you be willing to sacrifice to get them back? For World Backup Day 2012 keep your cellphones and coffee – just make sure you’re backing up your photos online.

    World Backup Day Backup Tip #5: Secure Your Photos in the Cloud

    • Download photos/videos off of all your devices: It’s easy to lose a phone or camera and lose all the photos stored on its internal memory. Make sure to download all your photos and video from your device to your computer.
    • Protect photos with more than just a disk drive: Computers are subject to all sorts of problems—from corrupted files to damaged hard drives to theft—that can make your photos disappear forever. Don’t rely on the one copy of your precious photos and videos on your computer, back them up.
    • Go to the cloud: Keep your photos and videos safe from disaster by backing them up online. With an online backup service like Carbonite, your memories are spared from computer meltdowns, theft, floods, fire or other disasters that can destroy your computers, external hard drives and photo devices.

    By backing your photos up online, not only are they secure, but they’re accessible from nearly any internet connected device (including your smartphone!) at any time via the cloud.

    Don't have Carbonite? Begin backing up today by starting a free trial.

  • Big Gaps in Small Business Backup Plans [Infographic]

    by Lynnette Nolan | Mar 13, 2012

    How reliable is your small business’ data backup plan? Recently, we surveyed small businesses to study how they prepare for a data disaster. We found that many small businesses are in fact backing up their data – yet despite known risks, they continue to choose a range of out-of-date and unreliable technologies to protect important business data.

    Close the gaps in your small business backup plan. Try a free 30-day trial of Carbonite Business, and if you’re ready to trade in your “clunker" of a backup solution now, you can get 3 months free with this limited time offer.

  • Carbonite Celebrates the Small Business Owner

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 16, 2011

    At Carbonite, we understand that small business means large responsibility. Small business owners must simultaneously manage multiple roles to allow innovative ideas to come to life, and their job is never done. For that reason Carbonite celebrates small business heroes this month.

    Recently we conducted a study and found that many small business owners do much more than just run the business. They also manage their companies’ technology and data backup needs:

    • More than 60% of small business owners make new software or technology purchase decisions
    • 52% of small business owners are responsible for backing up their business’ data
    • 40% of small business owners spend at least 52 hours per year on backing up

    There isn’t enough time in a day, so why waste an entire work week backing up business data? Automatic cloud solutions like Carbonite Business ease everyday workloads and keep important digital data safe from disaster, letting small business owners focus on what matters most - running their business.

    So while small businesses prepare for a busy Small Business Saturday on November 26, Carbonite is offering a limite