Have you ever lost an important document you spent hours perfecting only to have it disappear because you didn’t have a backup plan? Bill Blum knows your pain and wants to help.
Blum will present “Learn How Easy It Is to Lose Your Data & Cripple Your Business” at the Somerset County Business Partnership on Thursday, June 30, at 8:30 a.m. at the Business Partnership, 360 Grove Street in Bridgewater. Cost: $30. Visit http://events.SCBP.org or call 908-218-4300.
The workshop is based around the facts that one in five backup systems fail on a regular basis, and 93 percent of companies that lost all their data end up in bankruptcy within a year.
Blum grew up in Piscataway and started his career in music. As a percussion major, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.
“I always wanted to be a musician,” he says. And he did so professionally for 25 years. During that time, he played with the likes of Gladys Knight, Vanessa Williams, Tommy James, Freda Payne, the Fifth Dimension, Stevie Wonder, Les Paul, and the Duprees.
He’s played with countless orchestras and other bands and has been on a dozen hit records — pop, R&B, disco — in the U.S. and in Europe. He’s also on a few soundtracks for movies and TV and radio commercials. He even played the Broadway show “Annie” a few times in the 1970s.
So why change careers? Since he was always interested in technology, he studied several computer languages and began a career in information systems in 1983. He switched over to IT full-time in 1985, when computers took the over music industry. He then started his own business in 1987.
You could say being a business owner is in his blood. His father was a serial entrepreneur, owning businesses in retail and the service industry. Blum and his mother also worked at the businesses.
“I started helping my dad when I was 8 years old,” he says. He helped maintain vehicles and, once he was a little older, managed his father’s rental store. “I had something to do with all of them.”
Blum started Alpine Business Systems in 1998, where he created and sold a specialized financial software application for auto dealers, leasing companies, and the insurance industry. He lives in Bridgewater with his wife and four children.
#b#Protection#/b#. Any business needs to protect its data. For example, if anyone deletes a file or a file becomes corrupted it is important to have a backup plan to get that data back. Times come when entire facilities are lost because of natural disasters, like fire or a hurricane.
The answer lies partly in the “cloud,” the mystical-sounding moniker for virtual data storage. The cloud makes it possible for you to upload files to a digital server. These files can then be accessed from any number of gadgets, including smartphones and tablet computers. The cloud gives more security by allowing the user another way to back up data.
“The cloud means different things to different people,” Blum says. One can have a private or public cloud, where data can live and be shared. Updates to cloud files can happen numerous times per day. Files can be transferred to third-party providers — like Dropbox or Google Docs — or space can be rented in a hosting center.
A sole proprietor would probably use a third-party service where data is backed up every single day. Blum says these are the most affordable, at about $20 a month. But because they’re inexpensive, these third party companies aren’t making any money and prices will start to increase to reflect that.
“It’s a good warm fuzzy feeling when you can download your info if it’s lost,” Blum says. But even these third-party providers are vulnerable to data breaches. Dropbox recently had a breach that made all data, public and private, accessible.
#b#Apps and hacking#/b#. Dropbox, the Sony Playstation Network, Amazon, and other major sites recently have suffered major data breaches. Hacking attempts have increased 300 percent is the past several months, Blum says, so backup and disaster recovery are more important than ever.
How bad are these breeches? Sony Playstation exposed 100 million credit card numbers and the site was down for several weeks.
“The Playstation hack was child’s play,” Blum says. “They store everything on databases and if they data is not fully secured it’s easy to find it.” He added that anyone can go on the Internet and learn how to do these kinds of attacks.
The same can be said for smartphone apps. “We are very suspect of any app,” Blum says. He says that a Wall Street Journal study found that more than 60 percent of all apps for smartphones have access to your personal information — name, address, phone number, location, the works. “You give that up to them when you agree to download and use the app,” he says.
What about those nifty banking apps? “I would think that a banking app would be more trustworthy, but I can’t be sure,” he says.