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How can companies effectively communicate the data security risks in cloud storage and file sharing to employees?

In my experience, over the last 10 years, as an IT engineer and architect I have answered my fair share of disaster recovery, network engineering, database administration and project management queries. Even in my role as an advisor on technical research projects, to my alma mater, Ryerson University I have addressed similar questions and concerns. But for each of this specific issues there is one underlying theme – data security.

Whether the setting is a Fortune 500 company or a university, data security within an organization should be evaluated through three main criteria: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.

Inasmuch as cloud storage and file sharing platforms provide convenience they also come with potential risks of exposing vulnerabilities in data security. It is therefore crucial that users employing these tools also rely upon a security model with policies that protect both organization and employee data. A password policy is compulsory to this approach but is only the first step in establishing comprehensive data security.

  • Confidentiality in data security is synonymous with encryption. But the notion of encrypted data does not guarantee confidentiality because, by definition and design, encryption implies decryption. In other words it becomes a matter of who will have the privilege in the act of decrypting. Will it be the intended user, or a hacker? The strength of encryption keys, where it is stored, how it is applied to the authentication process, and the authentication interface itself are all relevant factors, which can make or break data confidentiality.
  • Integrity of data refers to the reliability considerations and raises a number of questions. How do you know the data you sent will end up in the cloud and in exactly the same consistency? Are there processes or technologies in place to ensure that, as time goes by, data in the cloud remains intact? If an error or some corruption occurs with the data, will there be automatic notification of the incident and is there a subsequent healing process? If not data integrity is compromised. Without these security measures in-place you may not know in-time and will be forced to recover lost data from a bad copy. For these reasons data integrity, which speaks to the importance to maintain consistency of original data, is an important security consideration.
  • Data availability is the last piece to these security measures. Because cloud storage is often deployed in an extended topology – where local software is required to access the data – there is the chance of a “headless state” occurring. In simplest terms this is when the local software is not available and so too is the data stored in the cloud. For this reason, inherit to the availability of data is flexibility and simplicity. It should not require multiple stages of procedures for companies or employees to access data when they need it.

To learn more about Seagate’s secure approach to cloud and file sharing platforms visit our Cloud Systems and Solutions page on our website.

Case Study: Interstate and Lakeland Lumber Builds its Backup & Recovery with Seagate

Quick FactsQuote

  • With more than 90 years of experience operating as a family business, Interstate and Lakeland Lumber (ILL) has earned its reputation as a purveyor of quality contractor, architectural and building supplies.

  • Well- known in the industry, ILL is the go-to company for creating and restoring architecturally distinctive dwellings that endure for generations.

Customer Need

  • ILL grew tired of the trouble and technical difficulties of its tape systems. One incident caused them days rebuilding a server by hand; the loses associated with the subsequent downtime of not have a complete set of backup tapes caused them to explore how it could change its IT system.

  • At the time ILL’s IT environment included six physical and 21 virtual servers using VMware, IBM AIX, Citrix, POS, Windows and Linux. These managed over 1 terabyte of data. Among ILL’s IT challenges were:

    • Convoluted and clunky backup file servers;
    • Deteriorating tapes and failing hardware;
    • Pulling, cleaning and replacing tapes was tiresome;
    • Transporting and storing tapes was burdensome and risky;
    • Hours spent on backup duties was inefficient and costly.
  • Through the suggestion of CDW, Interstate and Lakeland Lumber investigated a solution from Seagate EVault, which would make its backups quick, easy, reliable, and secure.

Why Seagate?

  • “The setup was a breeze,” explained Tom Thogersen, IT Director at Interstate and Lakeland Lumber. “We pulled Seagate EVault Cloud Backup Service out of the box, put it in the rack, and had an implementation call. It was that easy.”

  • ILL now operates with Seagate EVault Cloud Backup Service protecting its data through an intuitive web interface and snapshot bare-metal restores that automatically and securely save to two backup sites—one on the East Coast, and one on the West Coast.

  • The Seagate EVault Express Recovery Appliance works in conjunction with Seagate EVault Cloud Backup Service and provides ILL a local onsite data cache for faster recovery times, and then replicates ILL’s data to the Seagate EVault cloud.

  • ILL is now experiencing the benefits of the Seagate solution, among the benefits are:
    • Fast, easy and automatic backups monitored through an intuitive web interface;
    • No more tapes to pull, clean, replace, transport or store;
    • Data is doubly secure: fast and reliable onsite and offsite protection;
    • Reduced backup time saves six hours of IT staff time per week, and Saturday mornings are free;
    • Comprehensive recovery solution, with the possibility for future disaster recovery service.

You can find the full case study here.

Creatures from a jurassic world frighten and entertain us

Before You Drive Down Fury Road — Take Your Movies With You!

Take your favorite movies with you with Seagate Wireless Plus

If there’s one thing summer is known for, it’s the blockbuster films released from May to August. It’s the perfect time to hang out with family or friends and gather at the local theater, share some popcorn and kick back to enjoy a good romp. Summer hasn’t even officially begun but we’ve already had incredible releases with Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Yet with so many remakes or sequels still to come, summer is also a great time to catch up on prequels and original releases. But how do you do that when you’re going to be mobile due to vacation plans or out-of-state graduations?

Easy – Seagate Wireless Plus

Terminate boredom with Seagate Wireless PlusWith up to 2TB of capacity, you can load all your favorite movies (as well as soundtracks and wallpapers) onto your external hard drive for a movie marathon anytime or anywhere – whether traveling by land, air or sea.

With a Seagate Wireless Plus, you can stream up to 3 different HD movies to 3 different devices simultaneously with up to 1o hours of battery life. It’s perfectly designed to get you through all of the Jurassic Park films before Jurassic World releases, the Terminator trilogy before Terminator Genisys or the original Poltergeist from the safety of under bedsheets from a hotel.

Seagate Wireless Plus is the ideal solution for movie buffs, photography fanatics, and music enthusiasts of any age who need something easily accessible, portable and durable. Pick up yours today!

Meanwhile, for now enjoy this month’s new Jurassic World trailer / featurette:

(Video) Hybrid Cloud Data Protection: See How It Can Work for You

There’s a lot of talk about the cloud, but what can it mean to your business?
If you are ready to move to a hybrid cloud backup solution, Seagate can streamline your data protection operations, protect your data, and help alleviate your biggest data management issues. The video below details the challenges many businesses face followed by an introduction to Seagate’s EVault Hybrid Cloud Data Protection Solutions.

To learn more visit the Hybrid Cloud Solutions page on the Seagate website.
The venerable Open Office plan

Can Data Fix Cubicle Fever and the Open Office Plan?

The venerable Open Office plan

On NPR’s Morning Edition this week, Steve Inskeep introduced a story by reporter Yuki Noguchi, describing an effort by software maker Atlassian to collect data to understand and respond to employees’ work habits and needs.

Inskeep said “Some workers are concerned not just with wages, but with work spaces. Many companies have switched to open floor plans — very few offices, lots of open spaces.

Inskeep noted NPR itself has adopted this style of workspace. He said this kind of floor plan does allow collaboration, but prompts complaints that it’s hard to avoid distractions. So Noguchi went on a search: how are companies trying to figure out how to build the ideal workspace?

Open space or offices? What does the data say?

A 2013 survey of US workers by design firm Gensler found that even though office workers are spending more time now on focused work (54% of their time versus 48% five years earlier), 53% of employees say other people disturb them when they try to focus, and more than two-thirds of employees are unhappy with noise levels at work.

Recent research from IPSOS (conducted for venerable office design firm Steelcase) suggests companies that have embraced the open floor plan models — hoping to create spaces that encourage collaboration and efficiency — may need to consider privacy more carefully in their use of space.

Steelcase advises creating an “ecosystem” of varied spaces so that employees can choose different degrees of privacy that fit their work style and the work they need to accomplish. Steelcase said results show “that being able to concentrate, work in teams without being interrupted or choose where to work based on the task are frequently unmet needs.”

Some like it hot, some like it cool

“Many offices have limited options such as individual workstations, private offices, conference rooms and a cafe”, says Bostjan Ljubic of Steelcase, in an article in Workplace Insight. “Some people find it inspiring and creative to work in a crowded, noisy environment whereas others prefer quieter spaces and quite often they want a mix of both. The workplace needs to offer a variety of public and private spaces – for We and I work.”

Writer Drake Bennett in a Bloomberg article last Fall noted Steelcase’s own innovations over decades helped feed a long-term historical trend toward more open offices: “In the century since Steelcase invented a desk for the open plan, the American office has only grown more open. Today, with ‘flat management structure’ and ‘radical transparency,’ even CEOs have put their desks in the bullpen.”

How to measure it — Workplace Data Is Alive

But how can an organization really know what the correct balance looks like?

NPR’s Noguchi visited software maker Atlassian in San Francisco because the company had started with a very open workspace design in a big two-story warehouse — an enormous, old book-printing factory — and has recently realized it’s running out of flexible space and its employees are griping about a lack of private conference rooms.

And the company is aiming to figure out if and how to reconfigure its space — using data.

As we well know, collecting and analyzing data is a good idea, when seeking solutions to complex problems. But how can we collect data about how people feel while working, how focused they are, how productive, how content or how inspired? This is truly a case in which Data is Alive!

Jay Simons, Atlassian’s president, says the company grew quickly to 300 employees, and to solve the puzzle Altassian must go straight to the living embodiment of the company to figure this out — by tracking how employees are using the workspace in the real world, in real time, how often, for how long.

What the heat sensors tell us

“Atlassian installed heat and motion sensors to track when and how often every desk, room and table was used,” said Noguchi. “The result? Desks were used only 20 percent of the workday; conference rooms an average of 40 percent, with peak utilization at mid-morning.”

Employees movements are tracked anonymously; the goal is not to see what each individual is up to, but how the space is used by individuals in general — how often employees gravitate to communal space, how often and for how long they sit independently, how meeting times are spaced. The company will use the data to inform its next planning phase — how many shared tables or individual desks are needed, whether open areas should be converted to private hideaways, how to stagger meeting times.

“If we’re using data to make an environment that people can be more productive in, ultimately that saves us money or helps us make more,” Simon points out.

Data-driven design

This data-driven approach to understanding employees’ work needs is gaining steam and is being deployed in a variety of ways.

A young services company called Humanyze uses technology developed at the MIT Media Lab. With consent from employees, they combine wearable sensors, microphones, accelerometers and wireless tags that track where employees go to provide digital data, analytics and insights about how people work to its business customers.

The company’s Sociometric Badge can measure workers’ locations in relation to each other, and can even analyze speech patterns and body movements.

“We tie all these data sources together, and we pair them up with things like performance information, information on turnover,” Humanyze CEO Ben Waber told Noguchi. “And we use that to give feedback both to individuals and to companies so they can actually understand what is making our people more effective.”

“Where do you spend time, who talks to who and those patterns are so critical when it comes to how effective we are and how happy we are at work,” he said.

Steelcase itself also has a track record of using video monitoring to analyze employee work patterns. Noguchi interviewed Christine Congdon, director of research communications at Steelcase, who said it is well worth the time and energy to collect and analyze this data carefully, because it can lead to cost savings through a more efficient use of space, and perhaps most importantly, it can lead to happier, more productive and more committed team members.

Who is John PaulsenA creator, family man and former small-business leader myself, I feel your pain (and joy) and hope you’ll enjoy the blog. I launched and ran a well-regarded production company in San Francisco with a team of 9 brilliant, hard working people. I learned to manage a wide array of tasks a small business must handle — business strategy, facilities design, HR, payroll, taxes, marketing, all the way down to choosing telecom equipment and spec’ing a server system to help my team collaborate in real-time on dense media projects from multiple production rooms. I’ve partnered with and learned from dozens of small business owners.

Codebreaker student team with their trophy

Seagate Shows Kids How to Create, Crack Codes

Codebreaker student team with their trophy

Hot on the heels of the Academy Award-nominated film The Imitation Game—which brought British cryptanalyst Alan Turing’s legacy to a wide audience—Seagate has developed a competition designed to teach young students how to create and use their own secret codes.

Working with CultureTECH (the organization responsible for Northern Ireland’s biggest digital media festival and with whom Seagate has partnered for the last three years), Seagate’s objective with the “Codebreaker Challenge” was to create an educational activity that focused on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects in new ways.

Codebreaker student participants having a laugh at the screeningThe challenge included a movie-making element to ensure that students had the opportunity to develop their creative and digital-media skills.

The Seagate Codebreaker Challenge was subsequently launched last September as the theme for CultureTECH’s Big Video Challenge—a creative competition that requires young people to make short videos related to their curriculum. For the last six months, CultureTECH personnel have delivered Codebreaker and movie-making workshops to 54 schools in Northern Ireland, reaching nearly 2,000 young people.

Innovative teaching materials, developed specifically for the challenge, included a series of four tutorial videos, three starring Jon Chase, a popular science communicator and rapper who’s produced educational videos for NASA and other organizations. The fourth video featured Seagate’s Erik Anderson, a principal R&D firmware engineer based in Longmont, Colorado.

Cryptography at Seagate

Anderson, who uses code every day in his work as Seagate’s lead cryptographer, was the ideal person to explain code-breaking within the context of Seagate.

“It was really cool to be asked to get involved in this project,” said Anderson. “I’m no movie star, but I love what I do and I thoroughly enjoyed getting the opportunity to talk about it, especially since the video was going to be used to inspire young people to find out more about cryptography.”

Anderson applies these skills in his daily work of researching and developing new security technologies for Seagate products—from designing a new cipher code to developing new ways to provide secure computing and cloud storage. He also explained how cipher codes are used in our everyday lives—from checking email, making online purchases or opening a car with a remote.

How are codes made? And broken?

Codebreaker student team on stage with trophyFollowing the workshops, the students—ages 7 to 18—investigated how codes are made and broken, and created their own codes. Based on their research, they then scripted, filmed and edited a short video that put their codes and learnings to the test. Rachel McDermott, operations manager at CultureTECH, said the students showed “great originality” in the ways they demonstrated codes in action. Click here to view the videos.

“The students obviously had a lot of fun with the challenge and came up with all sorts of creative ways in which to demonstrate how codes are created and cracked,” McClure said. “We were especially impressed with the winning submission from Fleming Fulton Special School for which their students—many of whom have profound physical disabilities—wrote cooking-class recipes in code, then scripted and starred in a fun video based on the popular Masterchef TV show.”

The challenge awards event—called the “STEMies”—gave students the opportunity to see their creations on the big screen at Belfast’s Odyssey Cineplex, with nominated movies announced and shown on screen, Academy Awards-style. The winning submission from Fleming Fulton, in addition to scooping the Post Primary (high school) category prize, was also awarded the Seagate prize—a “Secret Movie Night” for the whole class.

Codebreaker Primary category winner

 

 

 

Data in the Mad Men Era

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ll be aware that the Mad Men television series, chronicling a decade of contemporary US history between March 1960 and November 1970, has just concluded.

Rather than to speculate on the story lines of its respective characters we thought it would be interesting to contemplate the technology in an era when the annual price to attend MIT, including room and board, was $1,500.00 – today, it costs over $45,000.

As the series opened in 1960 the price per megabyte (MB) of storage was $3,600.00. In capturing an aspect of the intelligent infrastructure from that time Computerhistory.org, writes that:

“The precursor to the minicomputer, DEC´s PDP-1 sold for $120,000. One of 50 built, the average PDP-1 included with a cathode ray tube graphic display, needed no air conditioning and required only one operator. It´s large scope intrigued early hackers at MIT, who wrote the first computerized video game, SpaceWar!, for it. The SpaceWar! creators then used the game as a standard demonstration on all 50 computers.”

By the time Don Draper was meditating atop Big Sur, in 1970, advances in data storage cooled down considerably to $259.70/MB – a 92+% decrease in ten years. In what was a precursor to today’s supercomputers, ComputerHistory.org explained the advancement of intelligent infrastructure by 1970.

“Computer-to-computer communication expanded when the Department of Defense established four nodes on the ARPANET: the University of California Santa Barbara and UCLA, SRI International, and the University of Utah. Viewed as a comprehensive resource-sharing network, ARPANET´s designers set out with several goals: direct use of distributed hardware services; direct retrieval from remote, one-of-a-kind databases; and the sharing of software subroutines and packages not available on the users´ primary computer due to incompatibility of hardware or languages.”

Calculating the percentage decrease in cost for data storage between 1970 and today is -99.9999…etc., etc. While the consumer price index for most goods and services is up and to the right, the price for storage, remains one of the great values of our time. The true significance of what’s been gained over the last 50 years shouldn’t be left solely to mathematicians and economists any more than a Don Draper-inspired ad campaign should dictate where brand loyalties should lie.

As the series concluded, the closing scene left some contemplating the future so we felt this blog could do the same. Consider then this rough calculation…the entire series (92, 45 minute High Definition episodes) of Mad men is equal to approximately 1.38 TB. All that can be stored on one Wireless Plus Mobile Storage device – small enough for those who, like Don, prefer to travel lite!

Intel’s Director of Thunderbolt Marketing & Planning Jason Ziller

Intel and Adobe Reps Applaud LaCie 8big Rack at NAB Show

LaCie and Seagate confab with creators at NAB

Each year, the National Association of Broadcasters’ NAB Show brings together the people and technology driving the future of media and entertainment. More than 100,000 attended last month’s show in Las Vegas, including representatives from Seagate’s premium storage brand LaCie, known for its sleek design and unmatched technical performance.

LaCie showcased its wide range of high-performance storage products for creative professionals at NAB; those solutions included the new 48TB enterprise-class version of the creative pro favorite, the LaCie 8big Rack Thunderbolt 2.

LaCie 8big Rack

For bandwidth-intensive 4K video and 3D rendering

LaCie 8big Rack features eight Seagate Enterprise Class drives in RAID configurationWith eight Seagate Enterprise Class drives and a five-year warranty, the LaCie 8big Rack gives pros 24/7 accessibility and rock-solid reliability for bandwidth-intensive 4K video or 3D rendering projects. Seagate’s Enterprise Class drives feature 1.2 million hours MTBF (mean time between failure). Storage this reliable lets creative pros handle massive files and turn projects around faster.

David Helmly, Adobe’s worldwide technical field manager for professional video, dropped by LaCie’s booth to talk about how his team uses the LaCie 8big Rack to consolidate their storage needs and increase their video-workflow efficiency.

What it means to streamline creativity

“I was able to add (the LaCie 8big Rack) to my system, and the best part was, I could take a lot of different devices and remove them once I backed them up,” Helmly said. “I was able to streamline everything, and it’s been fantastic.”

Also stopping by LaCie’s booth was Jason Ziller, Intel’s director of Thunderbolt marketing and planning, who spoke about the lightning-fast performance of the LaCie 8big Rack, which offers speeds of up to 1440 MB/s.

“This is a great implementation of Thunderbolt 2,” Ziller said. “It’s got eight drives, which, RAIDed together, nearly maxes out the speed of Thunderbolt 2.”

IT Help for Non-Profit Heroes

Direct Relief’s mission is to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources needed for their care. With Seagate protecting over 90% of its IT infrastructure Direct Relief has significantly improved its process:

      • Backups used to take 6-12 hours; now it takes between 1-6 hours;
      • Recovery used to take 1-6 hours; now it takes just minutes.;
      • Direct Relief has lowered capital expenditure of its IT infrastructure by as much as 49%;
      • It has further increased IT staff productivity by more than 75%.
      • Customer Proof verified by TechValidate.


Exactly how do I reformat this hard drive?

Which Hard Drive Format? (or) NTFS, HFS+, FAT? What’s That?

Exactly how do I reformat this hard drive?

When you work for a storage solutions company you get a lot of questions from people about hard drive formats — especially about which formats are compatible across the most common operating system platforms, Windows and Mac. I get this question about once a year from my father-in-law.

So I thought I’d present a short primer on the formats hard drives use with and between these two primary operating systems.

NTFS, HFS+, FAT — These are the primary formats that are in use today by PC users. One is for Windows, one is for Mac, and one crosses the two (but with its own limitations).

Format TableWindows — With the advent of Windows NT, Microsoft moved their optimized drive format to something called NTFS (New Technology File System). This is the format that is used with all current versions of Windows. If you have a Windows PC (NT on, including Windows 7), then your system drive is most likely formatted in the NTFS format.

Mac — Since Mac OS 8.1, the Mac has been using a format called HFS+ — also known as Mac OS Extended format. This format was optimized to minimize the amount of drive storage space used for a single file (the previous version used sectors loosely, leading to rapidly lost drive space). This is the required format for a bootable Mac hard drive. For a hard drive to be used with Time Machine (Mac OS X 10.5 and later), the drive must be formatted in HFS+ Journaled (Journaled adds an extra element to the standard HFS+ format).

Interoperability — Now for the confusing part: what drive formats work with what OSs.  While Windows can read and write to NTFS formatted drives, it can neither write nor read to a drive that has been formatted HFS+. (I should note here that there are several third party software drivers on the market that will allow either OS to read and write the other’s formats — but not all functionality is supported, and they both reduce performance when going through such an application)

The Mac, on the other hand, can read an NTFS formatted drive — it just can’t write to it (again, unless you use a third party software driver).

There is yet a third drive format that CAN be used across these two operating systems without the need for special third party drivers. It is called FAT. FAT has several forms and variations, the most recent of which is FAT32. (For more information on FAT formats check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table)

Most forms of removable media (memory cards for digital cameras, flash drives, etc) use the FAT format, as the capacity of most of these devices is significantly smaller than hard drives, and the more robust formats of the two predominant operating systems is not required.

The one simple benefit of the FAT format today is that it can be read from and written to by either of the operating systems discussed here. So on a Windows PC, you can read and write to a FAT formatted drive. And you can do the same on a Mac. This format gives you the ability to very easily move a drive between the two compute platforms.

There’s one significant limitation to this though — a FAT32 formatted drive cannot take a file larger than 4GB. The error message that gets reported if you try to copy a file larger than 4GB onto the drive is misleading — it says that there is not enough room for the file. That would lead you to believe that the drive is full. The drive can be completely empty and still not have room for the file — it simply cannot handle a file of that size.

For a bit more info on how to format a hard drive check out our knowledge center.