The Jungle Disk Blog

Improving Jungle Disk administration through user-driven design

There’s a saying about icebergs, something to the effect of only 10% of the actual iceberg is visible and above water, and I think that statement is extremely fitting for the subject of this post. Today, we’re releasing significant changes to the central hub of every Jungle Disk account, the Admin Control Panel.

The primary focus and overarching goal for this release of the Control Panel was to improve the site’s overall usability and the user experience for Backup Reports. We’ve achieved this aim through use of data, analytics, and customer feedback to inform our design choices and feature requirements. The top 3 big improvements you’ll see:

  1. User Experience Focused Homepage — The top 8 user actions are now big, clear buttons
  2. Total Size — 60% size reduction saving you bandwidth and making things faster
  3. Backup Reporting — 50% improvement in page loading speed and better navigation

Before & After — a picture is worth a 1,000 words (Big Improvement #1):

Jungle Disk CP Nav

Before

NEW Jungle disk navigation

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

So how does an iceberg factor into this announcement? We find that the analogy works quite well in demonstrating the breadth of work we found ourselves undertaking, as well as a metaphor for what customers will actually see and use as a result of this release. To put it another way, asking developers to make some “simple design changes” turns out to not always be so simple.


As Jungle Disk’s Product Manager, I get the great excitement and honor of writing up feature and product release announcements; it’s one of my favorite things about this role. I sincerely see it as an honor because of the amount of passion, creativity, and effort that everyone at Jungle Disk pours into everything we release, and being able to share that with the world truly is an honor. Specifically, Ryan (Lead Admin Control Panel Developer), Trey (Director of DevOps), and the entire support staff we’re absolutely integral in the testing and delivery of this release and wanted to give credit where credit is due.

Before we dig into what’s changed, I’d like to shed a little light on the process of planning, developing, and testing this release to the Control Panel.

The Process

At any given time, our Development and Operations Teams are working on a number of projects and initiatives. From improving existing services, infrastructure, and features to experimenting with new platforms and technologies, our technical gurus are always working to make Jungle Disk a better product. The biggest factor in actually succeeding to make the product better is feedback from our customers!
Through crunching numbers, statistics, analytics from the Control Panel, and our support systems we found out we were confusing many of you when you tried to update account information or add new users. It often ended up with a chat, call, or ticket to get help. In other words, we were making it hard for customers to just use the site. Furthermore, we found that 2 out of 3 users of the Control Panel visited the backup reporting section. With the high usage we made it a key feature to significantly improve.

So, remember the iceberg analogy? Just the navigation elements of the Control Panel utilized a bulky amount of logic and code, and to make site-wide changes meant ripping out a lot of that code to start from scratch. A big undertaking, sure, but the result is reduced complexity with a more nimble framework increasing the efficiency of future development and it reduced the size of the entire site by nearly 60% (Big Improvement #2). All of this amounts to a faster, easier to use site, and a Control Panel that is better set to evolve and improve with the needs of our customers.

Previously, the Backup Reports section required complex data manipulation for each and every page load of backup jobs and backup job logs. Further, after crunching the data we were server-side rendering which took a significant amount of time to load and present a page. Through introducing a new framework (AngularJS), page reloads and database requests have been significantly optimized, which means faster page loads and easier navigation of backup reports. In fact, we tested the page load speed on an account with 813 backup jobs and a backup job log with 8,200 rows. Page load times have been reduced by 48% (2.82 sec. Vs. 5.39 sec.) and 50% (2.66 sec. Vs. 5.30 sec.), respectively (Big Improvement #3).

While this all sounds good, the most important thing is making sure everything works. Any improvements in speed or design don’t mean much if it doesn’t “just work.” To ensure that we deliver a Control Panel that’s ready for customer use, we leaned on our support team to test the site as part of their day-to-day duties. Once we had tested and tweaked enough to be confident in the site’s readiness, we reached out to nearly 100 customer to offer a “sneak peek” at the site and try it out for themselves. These customers provided excellent input and helped us fine-tune the site and have it ready for prime-time. So, if any of you “beta-testers” are reading this post, THANK YOU!

What’s New?

So, onto the good stuff, what we’ve actually changed.

Site Navigation

  • We’ve moved the site’s navigation from the left side of the page to the very top of the page. Based on site analytics and support system data, the homepage now features eight buttons linking to the most commonly used pages and features in the Control Panel.

Backup Reports

  • Search/Filters
    • For customers with hundreds of individual backup jobs they monitor, it was a task to navigate and find a specific backup or the backup jobs belonging to a specific computer/server. We’ve added a search bar that will return only the backup jobs that matches the search term.  Search also extends to a backup job’s history and individual backup logs. So, if you need to search a backup report to ensure a particular file/folder was backed up, now you can just search for it.
  • Sorted Columns
    • Along with search, we’ve added the ability to sort every column for every backup job and backup job log. If you need to find the backup that last had errors, you can sort  by just clicking on the errors column (one click for ascending order, two clicks for descending order).
  • Exports/Downloads
    • We’ve always made exports available for all backup jobs and backup job logs, but they’ve been in various formats and with less-than-helpful names. Every export is now in .csv format (to play nice with all spreadsheet programs) and renamed backup jobs log files with the backup job name and date of the log.

 

If you’ve read this far, high-five and thank you! We’re very excited about this release and how it will make each experience you have with the Jungle Disk Control Panel better. Please log into your account and check out the updates for yourself, we think you’ll like what you see.

US Department of Homeland Security Gets Serious About Ransomware — Issues Alert (TA16-091A)


ransomware_button_imgRecently, reports of
hackers infiltrating big companies becomes more prevalent in our news feeds, radio reports, and publications. These hacks and subsequent reports only serve to demonstrate how fragile our digital lives can be, especially when it comes to a business’s data and the data a business stores on behalf of and about its customers. As individuals, we want to be able to trust that our information is being kept safe by the organizations that we interact with;  businesses/offices like realtors, accountants, financial planners, tax professionals, doctors, and lawyers. So, how do these businesses protect themselves? If you happen to be in one of these professions, you might be asking yourself how you can better protect your customer’s sensitive information, and in turn, protect your business!

Over the past month or so, we’ve seen reports of hospitals having trouble with hackers and a type of malware called Ransomware. To put it simply, this malicious software makes its way into a computer or network and effectively locks out anyone on that computer or network from being able to open any files. Think about this in a hospital, what medications need to be administered for a patient? what surgery is scheduled for what patient? It’s a scary thought.

So scary, in fact, that the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has issued an alert about the topic of Malware and Ransomware, it’s sources, it’s effects, and recommended prevention strategies that businesses should implement in order to safeguard their proprietary information and/or their customers’ sensitive information. The very first recommended strategy in the US-CERT list just so happens to be something near and dear to us here at Jungle Disk; BACKUP! The recommendation reads as follows:

“Employ a data backup and recovery plan for all critical information. Perform and test regular backups to limit the impact of data or system loss and to expedite the recovery process. Ideally, this data should be kept on a separate device, and backups should be stored offline.”

 

We might be a bit partial to the solution that we offer to businesses, but we echo the sentiments of the US-CERT team and believe that all businesses need to take steps to keep their data safe and secure. Make the choice to build a data backup and recovery plan for your business, so that if you do happen to fall victim to Ransomware or some other malicious malware, you won’t have to ask yourself if it’s worth the risk to pay the ransom.


 

How does Jungle Disk fit into the US-CERT Recommendation?

Well, Jungle Disk is a pioneer of secure encrypted cloud backup. Back in 2007 when Amazon Web Services first introduces their Simple Storage Service (S3), Jungle Disk was one of the first products to make backing up to “the cloud” simple, cheap, and secure. We’ve continued on this mission and over 25,000 businesses believe in our efficacy to keep their important data safe, secure, and available for recovery when the time comes.

Jungle Disk’s Backup Vault fits this recommendation exceedingly well. Any computer, laptop, PC, or server can use Jungle Disk to:

  • Automatically backup your files, documents, images, and keep them secured from being exposed to threats like Ransomware.
  • Customizable retention settings enable businesses with data retention regulations to ensure that their backups are kept for the required amount of time.
  • Advanced Data Compression and Deduplication keeps data transfer as minimal and backup job duration to a minimum
  • Email Backup Reports and RSS feeds keep you in the loop and aware that your backup is running and keep your data safe
  • Military-Grade, AES-256 Encryption keeps your files safe and secure before they leave your computer, while it’s in transit, and at rest.

If All of Your Business Data Was Destroyed Today, Would Your Business Survive?

World Backup Day

This page is not officially supported or endorsed by World Backup Day.

That’s a bit of a scary question to ask, sure, but what’s your answer? Take a minute to think through the shock and surprise of being in “disaster recovery mode,” how would you respond? Would your business be able to recover? It is as easy as fifteen minutes and as affordable as $4 per month to protect your most valuable data.

We’re asking this tough question because today is World Backup Day. An annual event focused on raising the awareness about backups and threats to the digital data critical to your business. Being that we’re in the business of backup, it sounds like a great opportunity to participate in raising awareness of the subject. We are selling a product that solves this problem and we’re not ashamed to say you should be buying from us or one of our competitors.

Today, business data is increasingly digital. Think about all of the Microsoft Office® documents (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), PDFs, Images, and other data your customers trust and expect you to keep safe. Even data stored “in the cloud” or on various computers and servers can fail just like a personal laptop, desktop, or server in your office. Backup and disaster recovery is a necessity for all businesses big and small. With all of this in mind, here are three simple steps you can take today to protect your business from a data disaster.

1. Choose a service that provides backup to the cloud

“The Cloud” is a fancy way of saying “off-site.” One of the best steps a business can take to protect their data is to keep a current copy of everything off-site, so in the event of a disaster (flood, fire, theft), everything can be easily recovered.

2. Use encryption to protect your data

Natural disasters and theft aren’t the only threats out there today. Malware and hackers have a taste for attacking small businesses because they often don’t protect their data the same way the bigger guys do. One surefire way to protect your data from prying eyes and malicious threats is to utilize encryption to “scramble” your data and keep it from being read/accessed by anyone who doesn’t have the password to unlock it.

3. Perform an audit of all your business data and the devices that store it or have access to it

Online document collaboration tools can be very helpful, especially when working with remote teams, but that convenience comes at the price of access. The more you share, the more “access points” a hacker may have to get to your data. Storing your data in an online drive isn’t a backup — backup is a separate secured encrypted (see #2) copy of the data.

Take an hour today and document all of the services, computers, tablets, smartphones, and people who have access to your businesses data. Having a master list of this information can be a useful tool when faced with theft of a device or handling a disgruntled employee. If all of the data in your Dropbox, OneDrive, or other online storage system was deleted right now by a hacker how would you recover?


Why Jungle Disk?

Jungle Disk is a cloud backup solution designed for businesses. Jungle Disk is an all-in-one solution to securely backup and store your business data. Our software can be installed on all your company computers and will automatically backup your data to the cloud, keeping it safe and accessible whether you need to recover a single file or all of the data from one of your computers.

Do you have employees with laptops or desktop computers?

Jungle Disk Workgroup makes controlling access to data simple. Our “Online Disks” operate like any other drive on your computers and feature simple user access permissions to make sure you control who can access your data and have an easy method of disabling access in the event of theft or other time-sensitive situation.

Do you have an office file server you use to keep all your business documents in one place?

Jungle Disk Server Edition can be installed on your server and will backup on your schedule and retain deleted files and previous versions of files for however long you need to store them.

Does your industry have regulations requiring encrypted off-site data backup such as HIPAA for healthcare or the SEC/FTC for financial service firms?

All versions of Jungle Disk come with powerful encryption abilities and allow you to encrypt your files and backups with a password/key that you choose. This feature secures data before it even leaves your computers. Even Jungle Disk techs do not have access to the data because we don’t store that encryption password! We think security should be simple, so we make it simple to setup this powerful level of encryption.

Jungle Disk Server Edition Version 3.18 for Linux Now Available

All of us at Jungle Disk are very excited to announce the release of Jungle Disk Server Edition 3.18 for our Linux customers. As a customer the key benefits you will see are increased stability and backup speed improvements! As we did with the release 3.18 Server for our Windows customers, we’ll follow this announcement with more technical details about the benefits of 3.18.

 

What’s New in 3.18?

We have updated the application’s core code libraries to help keep your data safer while it’s in transit and to offer customers a faster backup experience. Our development team is delivering these benefits by integrating new technology not available when we released version 3.16.

Further, behind the scenes our technical team is excited about a streamlined Linux build process through utilization of Docker containers. This allows the team to more efficiently incorporate and test new builds to improve the application’s performance.  We’re pretty excited about the various applications for Docker throughout our Development and Operations teams — for the geeks reading this look for a technical post in the future diving in to our usage in more detail.

 

How Can I Upgrade to 3.18?

If you’re already a Jungle Disk Server Edition customer, we’ve updated our download links and included some release notes. You’ll simply need to uninstall the existing software, download the new installer package in the Control Panel, and install the software on your servers/computers; no need to reconfigure your backups or re-verify servers! To make sure this is an easy transition, we’ve created a great support guide to walk you through the process of updating to Server Edition 3.18. Click here to be taken to the article at our Support help center. If you need any other assistance with the upgrade, you can reach out to our expert support team through Chat, Phone, or a Ticket at https://support.jungledisk.com.

Server Edition 3.18 Test Results – 54% Speed Increase for Backup Search

First off, Happy New Year, everyone! We at Jungle Disk had a great holiday season and hope it was the same for you and yours.

About a month ago, I wrote about the release of version 3.18 of the Jungle Disk Server Edition software. After a month of having it out in the wild, we’re very pleased with the rate of adoption for both new and upgrading installs. As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to follow up with some reports on performance of the new version of the client. With the help of Tom Welch, our Senior Systems Engineer, we’ve put together an analysis of our tests and crunched some numbers around the success rates of our customers’ backups.

Before I dig into the details of our analysis, let’s go over how we performed our testing. We performed the following tests:

  • We used each version of Jungle Disk Server Edition (3.16 & 3.18), and to best emulate the use of our customers, we performed three different runs of a backup:
    • a “first” run where all data gets uploaded
    • an incremental run where file/folder modifications upload changed portions of files
    • another incremental run where data is deleted or removed from the backup set
  • The data selected for backup was identical for all testing.
    • 30+ GB of MS SQL Backups
    • 30+ GB of basic office-type documents and files (.docx, .pdf, .xlsx, .pptx)
    • 20+ GB of compressed log files from our webservers
    • Further, we ran 3 restore/recovery jobs on each version.  For each restore, we selected a folder with 11 GB of files.
  • To perform these tests, we used a windows server in our infrastructure that is already provisioned for backups.

 

Here’s what we found from our tests:

  • “First run” backups completed 6.75% faster using 3.18 (2h 46min vs. 2h 58min). Most notable here is the point at which we saw the greatest gains in speed, the “search” phase of the backup. For this phase of the backup, we saw 3.18 have speed improvements of up to 54% (17sec vs 37sec)!! This phase of the backup ONLY takes place on the computer/server being backed up, so seeing improvement here means lower resource consumption by the Jungle Disk client!
  • Incremental backups completed 5.5% faster using 3.18 (29min 14sec vs. 30min 57sec).
  • Restoring from a backup completed up to 9% faster using 3.18 (54min 46sec vs. 1h 15 sec).

Further, after examining some of the data that the client records and sends to our database, I was able to run some calculations on the rate of success for our customers’ backup jobs. Being a bit a nerd about data and statistics, I dug into the data I was able to collect and found some very interesting numbers.

  • In 2015, backups succeeded 96.99% of the time.
  • In 2015, customers ran over 10 billion backups on over 140 billion files

We also looked at the success of Server Edition backups over the previous 14 days and we were able to improve the quality again..

  • Customers using 3.16 Server Edition had a success rate of 96%
  • Customers using 3.18 Server Edition had as success rate of just under 97%

I’ve got to say, I’m extremely pleased and excited with these statistics! Being in the business of protecting people’s data, reliability and speed are two of the most important things for a customer, and we’ve absolutely improved every aspect of your experience with version 3.18 of Jungle Disk Server Edition.

Introducing Jungle Disk Server Edition version 3.18 for Windows

As this is my first post on the Jungle Disk blog, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Wes Dunn (some may know me as JungleWes), and I’m Jungle Disk’s Product Manager. I’ve been on the Jungle Disk team for about 2 years and have spent much of that time on the support floor, so I’ve likely interacted with many of you before! I moved into Product Management for Jungle Disk earlier this year and have been loving the role.

Now onto the announcement as I’m extremely excited to introduce Jungle Disk Server Edition version 3.18 for Windows. If you’re not familiar with Jungle Disk Server Edition, it offers simple, secure server backups with advanced compression and de-duplication to speed backups and minimize storage use.

If you follow the blog (or just skip back a few posts), you’ll see that late last year we released version 3.17 as a beta test for our Windows software clients. Through our beta we tested it ourselves, we engaged with beta testing customers, and we engaged a third party testing service for additional validation.

What’s new in Server 3.18?

3.18 is an incremental update. We’ve modernized back end libraries that the Jungle Disk client software depends upon, and we’ve increased both stability and performance over 3.16 (our current version).

How does this make the app better, you ask? Well, just in our own internal testing, our server backups now complete in less time and encounter fewer errors and failures when compared to performance in version 3.16. We’ll follow this blog post with another that offers greater detail on what we’ve observed. Beyond the nuts and bolts, there’s not been any changes to the look and feel of the application besides updating the logos/branding to match the “cloud & lock” logo we introduced back in April 2014. We look forward to our Server Edition users to see a bump in performance and reliability with their Jungle Disk backups.

How can I update to Server 3.18?

If you’re already a Jungle Disk Server Edition customer, we’ve updated our download links in the Control Panel and included some release notes. You’ll simply need to uninstall the existing software, download the new installer package in the Control Panel, and install the software on your servers/computers; no need to reconfigure your backups or re-verify servers!  Remember, Server Edition has two pieces, a “Management Client” for managing the backup, and the Server Edition “agent” that runs on the server you’re backing up. So, be sure to download both pieces of the app. To make sure this is an easy transition, we’ve created a great support guide to walk you through the process of updating to Server Edition 3.18. Click here to be taken to the article at our Support help center. If you need any other assistance with the upgrade, you can reach out to our expert support team through Chat, Phone, or a Ticket at https://support.jungledisk.com.

What about the other Jungle Disk clients?

We’re still hard at work getting Jungle Disk Desktop and Workgroup ready for prime-time. In our quality assurance and internal testing, we encountered a few issues we want to resolve before delivering the new version. Our goal is to be absolutely confident in the quality of software we deliver to our customers, and we still have some work to do to meet these quality standards. Please keep checking the blog, as this will be the best place for more information about the software.

UPDATE (12/3/15 8:40 PM CST): as one comment has highlighted, this release is only available for 64-bit systems.