Category Archives: Backup & Recovery Systems

Calbar Solo Summit – June 18-20, 2015

Solo Summit 2015It’s that time again, folks.  The State Bar of California Solo and Small Firm Summit will be held at the Newport Beach Marriott from June 18-20, 2015.  I’m presenting program ten this year on Thursday, June 18:

 

Earth(quake), Wind, Fire & Flood: Disaster Planning for the Law Practitioner

Four things are certain in life: death, taxes and disasters. The fourth? The disaster won’t manifest itself in the way you expect nor when you expect it. This program broadens your perception of what a disaster is and – should one occur – guides you through preparing and planning for continuity in your law practice.

I’ve been a fan of this conference for years because it provides a more intimate experience between attendees and presenters.  I hope you join us this year!

Perry Segal Discusses the Cloud, Privacy & Attorney Ethics on KUCI Irvine 88.9FM – Monday, Nov. 12th at 8:00 a.m. PST

MP900309623

I guess the headline says it all, except I'd like to add that the interview will also be available as a podcast via iTunes.  I will also post an MP3 here Monday.

Here's a few of the additional details:

Privacy Piracy (88.9FM and www.kuci.org), a half-hour public affairs show with no
commercials broadcasts from the University of California, Irvine campus on
Mondays from 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time.  To learn more
about the show and listen to archived interviews, please visit www.kuci.org/privacypiracy.

‘Outlook’ for Hotmail: Cooler with a Chance of Replacement

MP900385981Normally, the announcement that Microsoft is transitioning away from Hotmail to their new cloud-based Outlook interface wouldn’t register much space on this blog.  However, due to my posts about using Hotmail to emulate ActiveSync on your devices, there is a tie-in.

First, there’s the perception that having a Hotmail account is somewhat embarrassing.  Why?  Who knows.  I don’t care about how things look; I care about making use of the most efficient process to achieve the goal.  You can even replace an existing hotmail.com address with a new outlook.com address (although you were never required to use a hotmail.com address).  But, if these issues held you back from trying it, well, your problems are solved.

But here’s the better news.  Based on my assessment, Outlook is just a superior interface.  Also, if you implemented Hotmail, transitioning to Outlook takes about two mouse-clicks and doesn’t interrupt or affect ActiveSync.

So, maybe you want to revisit the process…

Leveraging ActiveSync to Emulate MS Exchange, Part II – Sync Devices

Ok…so you've spent the weekend dutifully configuring your primary database and cloud configuration a la Part I, eagerly (at least, that's what I tell myself…) anticipating Part II; my instructions on how to synchronize your email, calendar & contacts with virtually all of your secondary devices.

The cool thing is, virtually any default or add-on app that supports Microsoft ActiveSync will work with this process.  For example, if you have an Android smartphone or tablet, you can configure Corporate Sync to use the default modules that came stock with your device – at no cost.  Or, since this process sits on a Hotmail backbone, you can use Microsoft's own Hotmail App

But, for a lot of us, we want robust functionality on our mobile devices.  After all, many of us spend more time using those products than our traditional desktop devices (pretty soon, the term 'desktop' won't even be accurate, anymore).  If, like me, you're one of those people, you may want to invest in apps geared to the power-user, such as Touchdown.

However, keep in mind; this is a Microsoft backbone, but it's a free backbone.  Regardless of whether the apps support ActiveSync, their technical support will not be obligated to assist you with the configuration because their products are meant to support true Exchange ActiveSync.  If you experience difficulty, you'll have to throw yourself on the mercy of the particular provider, or hit the support forums.

Basic configuration is actually fairly easy.  Let's take a look at a portion of the default Android Corporate Sync configuration screen:

Droid Corp Sync_75

You have the option of selecting your three sync modules separately.  This is helpful because, for example, I didn't want to use the default settings except to maintain a default copy of my contacts (which is enabled, above).  Then, you simply input your display email address and point to the Hotmail server.  As mentioned in Part I, always make sure you have SSL enabled.  Last (not visible here), input your Hotmail Login ID and password.  That's it!

Now, if you've decided to go the power-route, here's an example of the more robust configuration options available to you in Touchdown:

TD Account AS_75

As you can see, here you must specify ActiveSync, rather than Exchange.  Also, it assumes a domain – which you don't have – but it'll still work with your Login ID.  Sometimes, you need to input the backslash in front of the ID in order to correct for the lack of domain, so if it doesn't work the first time, play around with it a little bit.  You also have a choice of more than one 'reply-to' address.

Server configuration is virtually the same as under the default app above, except Touchdown combines all of the modules under a single icon.  Also, see how it confirms Microsoft IIS/6.0.2.5.

TD Connection AS_75

Now, the power user is ready to access the Advanced tab and configure the numerous options available.  Yes, it really is that easy!

So, what have we accomplished?

  • First, we've established a virtual database that can be archived on the fly and/or exported from the cloud at any time; extremely important if there's a server outage,
  • We're using SSL for better security, and of course, encryption options are available to us as well,
  • Any email, calendar entry or contact that is created, added or modified at one source is automatically propagated to all other resources,
  • Calendar invitations are seamlessly integrated,
  • No need to bcc: ourselves on every sent message,
  • Ability to work seamlessly in standalone mode with auto-sync once re-connected.

Dare I say…everything but the kitchen sync!  Yeah, I had to say it…I feel shame…

Leveraging ActiveSync to Emulate MS Exchange & Sync Multiple Devices – Part I

MP900448358In order to make great (information) soup, start with the right (data)base.

As promised, this is the first in a short series on how to leverage available software technology to sync Calendar, Contacts, Email and more on virtually all (or most) of your devices.  Now, we all know there are many different ways to accomplish this, however, this is aimed at the individual – or small business or law firm – who can't afford expensive hardware or software, is nervous about the cloud (for good reason) but would like a robust, alternative method to manage their data dependably, automatically and securely.  In other words, they don't want to be up at night worrying about it nor spending the day trying to figure out why it doesn't work!

What do most individuals and businesses in this 24-hour-a-day world want from their technology, anyway?

  • Access to my data 24-hours-a-day! (That was a gimme)
  • Rapid auto-sync (I enter/modify a contact on my smartphone and within five minutes, it propagates to all of my other devices)
  • I reply to an eMail message and it syncs everywhere without having to cc: myself at other locations/accounts (I hear complaints about this all of the time)
  • I receive a calendar appointment and can seamlessly add it to my device's calendar, then it propagates…
  • I generate calendar appointments that others may seamlessly process as well
  • If my server/cloud connectivity is severed, I have access to – and can process – all of my data up to that moment, modify it or generate more, then sync it when connectivity is restored (this is also important while traveling, isn't it?)
  • Ability to mirror/archive/backup the database (if this isn't on your list, it should be)
  • Ability to access the data securely

…and more, of course.  Many products provide some, or all of these features – the problem is, many of them do it in completely different ways, including for each separate function (e.g. calendar or contacts) and don't 'talk' to other devices very well.  The goal is to make the process as seamless as possible.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm hitting for averages here, folks.  There are a lot of Operating Systems and hardware out there.  On PC, we have Windows, MAC, Linux, etc.  With tablets we have MAC, Blackberry, Android, etc.  Smartphones?  Well, there are four primaries; iPhone, Android, Blackberry & Windows.

We know that most PCs are Windows-based (no knock against Macs, it's just the way it is) and the majority of businesses use them.  iPhones and Androids are duking it out, with Blackberries still in the hunt and the new version of Windows phone making a splash.  We also know that a majority use Microsoft Office-based products (even many Mac users).  So, there's no way I'll make everyone happy.

The example I'll use for our purposes is a Windows-based PC, hosting Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010.  You'll also need a Hotmail/Live Mail cloud component; however, this doesn't mean you'll be changing your existing email setup; you'll be supplementing it.  Last, you'll install the Outlook Hotmail Connector, which allows you to create a virtual database within Outlook.  This will serve as our primary device.  For security, I recommend that it be static, if possible.  Any mobile device, from laptop on down, runs the additional risk of being lost or stolen with your entire database living on it.  Not a pleasant thought.

Is there a method to my madness?  Yes.  The more one can accomplish under a single vendor, the better the results.  In this case, all database components are Microsoft, which makes the process seamless (remember, we're going to be communicating with a lot of devices).  Also, SSL capability was implemented in 2011, meaning your connection to the cloud will be much more secure, whether via Outlook, the Web or your secondary devices.

Once you have your components up & running, you have a choice:

  1. Use Hotmail to "fetch" your emails from your existing database, or,
  2. Forward your emails from your existing database to Hotmail.

Both methods are fine, but I recommend forwarding your emails.  With fetch, Hotmail must make an inquiry and "pull" your messages over.  There will usually be a time delay, which won't be sufficient for those of us who need our messages in real-time.  Forwarding doesn't normally cause a delay; emails are forwarded as they arrive, so this is preferable.  The good news is, you'll have another backup of your messages with your service provider.

As for contacts and calendar, you'll want to import them into your Outlook database as well.  Once completed, you can customize your settings in the cloud.  I recommend disabling as many 'bloatware' features as possible.  After all, you're looking to create a slick, business-like database.  What you do want to enable is your SSL functionality.  One way to verify this is to make sure you may only access it online via https://.  If it works via http://, your security isn't properly configured.

I know this is a lot of detail, but if you're willing to take some time and make the effort, you'll have an excellent base.  In Part II, I'll examine how you'll exploit various flavors of ActiveSync (Corporate Sync on some devices) to sync your data over mutiple platforms.

That's when the fun begins…

I Never Promised You a (Dusty)Rose Garden…

Artificial-Sweeteners
…but I did promise to try to post more often.  Isn't it a shame when work gets in the way of a good blog post?  Having not posted anything this week, I wanted to let you know about two subjects I'm working on for you right now:

  1. Due to all of the controversy over Google's privacy policy, I'm writing an instructive article about alternate software products you may use to sync email, contacts and calendar on all of your devices; including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.  And here's the best part – you can do it free (for power users who want more robust features, I'll also include some pay options).  I don't know about you, but being able to create emails, calendar appointments and/or modify contacts – then having the device automatically propagate the data to all of my other devices simultaneously – is one of life's greatest time-savers!  Here's another bonus, that should appeal to many of you – you'll have a database that lives on your own device, not just via access in the cloud.  Yes, there will be pictures, in fact, I've been playing with an excellent app that creates terrific images from a non-rooted Android smartphone.  Stay tuned…
  2. I'm also working on a comparison of scientific analyses in California courts versus other jurisdictions.  I'd seen a few good articles floating around about using the Daubert analysis to support the implementation of predictive coding.  Well, that's not going to help in the Golden State, where we follow the Kelly-Frye standard (aka the 'Kelly' standard).  I'd had a lot of exposure to this during my days at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.  Ask me, sometime, about how my boss and I successfully used a "Sweet'N Low" packet to impeach the defense's scientific evidence in a criminal case, once.  I suppose today, we would have called it the Splenda Gambit…

I won't post until I have the time to do the quality job you expect, so look for them a little ways down the road.  In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

#CalBar Solo & Small Firm Summit Recap

MP900439382 Yeah, I know.  The summit ended Saturday at noon.  It's been a busy week for me, but better late than never.  I had to skip the Thursday sessions, but arrived early Friday morning.  I was backing up another one of my LPMT colleagues in the tech lab, so between his presentations and mine, I didn't get to attend anyone else's sessions, which was a shame, because there were some good ones.  I did catch the bulk of Stephen Fairley's morning keynote on marketing and SEO.  I can only say this; the man is right on about what he was saying.  It was similar to the advice I received from my web guru, Clint Brauer.  Bottom line; if you're going to make a serious attempt at creating an online presence, you need to understand how your information will propagate to the 'web before you develop web sites, create accounts, etc.

I didn't know what to expect for my labs on disaster planning, but for both sessions (I did the identical presentation back-to-back) I had full houses.  The attendees asked a lot of good questions – which is the first indication they're not bored – and although we had some technical difficulties, I was able to illustrate how, in some cases, a few minutes is all it takes to create a basic backup strategy.

Day three, Saturday, I took in the morning keynote on "Multitasking Gone Mad", or, how the more we multitask, the less we accomplish.  Now, this was Irwin Karp presenting – who also preceded me on the LPMT committee – but I'll tell you, the idea of doing one thing at a time is something to strive for, but awfully hard to accomplish.

The second session should really make the eDiscovery people excited.  It covered hearsay (civil, for the most part), but guess what the starring attraction of most of the examples was?  Electronic evidence!  For example, the presenter showed a slide from a traffic camera of a car colliding with a truck at an intersection.  Another was a photo of a simple bar code (not a QR code, like the one you see on my right sidebar).  In both instances, the question was, is this hearsay?  As usual, the answer was, it depends on your jurisdiction.

The third session was one that eDiscovery professionals most likely wouldn't be attending.  It covered the activity up to and including the arrest of a client.  As you know, I also handle criminal cases, so again, this was a good refresher for me.

So, basically a quick in-and-out, and barring any changes to the schedule, my next presentation will be at Calbar's annual meeting in September.

Tips & Tricks: A Password-Protected PDA May Save your Bacon One Day

MP900405586 Remember this post from precisely three months ago?  Well, I'm here to tell you; lightning does strike twice – and I mean exactly!

I'm out of town – in the same place I was three months ago – and once again, my Blackberry was working fine this morning…then it wasn't.  It was virtually the identical problem to last time (frozen solid), except for two glaring differences; 1) I haven't made any modifications to the device in a while, so there wasn't any clue as to why this happened and, 2) (this is critical) I could get to my password screen and unlock the device.  I would also like to note that I have virus software and upon reboot, was able to run a sweep before the device froze again – no sign of any contamination.

So, I went over to the same retail outlet, where some of the same people tried to do the same thing (a software repair push).  Fail!  I basically told the techs (same as last time) "I don't care if you have to wipe it out, I have no problem restoring from backup." (Yes, I have a recent backup, just like last time).  I also told them, "Whether this works or not, I have to walk out of here with a working device."

But – just like last time – no love.  They couldn't wipe the device, either.  Now, here's where it gets ugly.  Last time they had a spare Tour in stock – this time, they didn't.  So, they offered to have a new one shipped to me via overnight courier.  Normally this would be completely reasonable.  Unfortunately this happened today, and on this particular day, this device must work.  I can't forward my cell number elsewhere because I'm out of town, on the go and I need to be reachable (is that even a word?)

This is where the password-protection comes in.  With a Blackberry (not familiar with how other PDAs handle this), when password-protection is enabled, a companion security setting automatically enables a 'doomsday' scenario – and you can't turn it off (unless you disable password-protection altogether).  That's right; it doesn't just fail to unlock the device – it allows you to select the number of incorrect passwords you'll allow (from 3-10), then if that threshold is reached, the device wipes itself out.  Even the techs at the store didn't know this.  So, as a last resort, I suggested, since the only thing that did work was the password screen, try repeatedly entering an incorrect password to trigger doomsday.  Even though the device was frozen otherwise, I hoped that enough of the O/S was running in the background that it might work.

SUCCESS!!!

Most of you know I tend to be vague about my devices, but most of you also have long since figured out my PDA is a Blackberry.  The reason I mention it this time is, I'm afraid I'm worn out with them.  Just like my clients, I cannot afford to have a primary device crashing for no reason.  I lost more than half a day resolving this in the short-term, but for the long-term, I'm switching to a Droid.

e-Discovery California: Go See Cal!(PERS) about Retention Policy Pitfalls


 

Retention policies.

Can't live with 'em…can't live without 'em.

Damned if you do…damned if you don't.

Very few people like change, especially in corporate environments.  It's just another burden to bear.  If something's changing, you know what'll follow; a meeting, memo, or training.  Who wants that?

Rolling out a retention policy will usually result in a lot of complaining, but when coupled with all of the complex, new eDiscovery regulations, it gives you something else to worry about – even if you have no anticipated litigation at the time the policy is implemented (notice I didn't say 'pending', which isn't the proper standard).

Just ask CalPERS, aka the California Public Employees' Retirement System.  CalPERS implemented an internal 60-day retention policy – and apparently didn't bother to tell anyone.  Furthermore, they gave 2,300 of their employees discretion over what additional ESI should – and shouldn't – be kept.

Oh, did I mention they're currently under state and federal investigation?

It's prudent to be aware that, no matter when a retention policy is implented, your opponents will always have an interest in claiming you're committing misconduct by deleting evidence of…misconduct.  Therefore, I rountinely suggest that, prior to implementing – or modifying – a retention policy, a thorough review of current status should be performed – just in case you have to explain it to the judge.