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July 30, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Google Calendar Sync Alternatives for Smartphones and Devices

Those who sync calendars and contacts with their phone through Google Calendar Sync need to find an alternative solution as it sunsets on August 1, 2014. We split the alternatives into two options:

  • Sync Outlook calendar and contacts.
  • Sync Google calendar and contacts.

Sync Google Calendar and Contacts

Those using Windows Phone and Android devices can use AkrutoSync to automatically, directly and securely sync Outlook calendar, contacts, tasks and notes with their devices. Some sync solutions install a separate calendar and contacts app on the phone.

AkrutoSync uses your device’s native apps, so you won’t see two different apps doing the same thing. That means less clutter and confusion on which app to use.

AkrutoSync is Windows PC software that uses Wi-Fi or an SSL-encrypted Internet connection to sync Outlook with your devices. Your information is secure as Akruto does not go through the cloud at all. You also don’t need to use USB or any cables to sync.

While we plan to support iOS in the near future, users have reported they have AkrutoSync working with their iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. If you prefer an official solution now, you can sync your iOS device with Outlook through iTunes following Apple’s instructions.

Sync Google Calendar and Contacts

Android devices don’t require workarounds because it automatically syncs with Google calendar and contacts.

Windows Phone users will have the ability to sync with Google calendar and contacts when they update to Windows Phone 8.1. If you can’t wait that long, see Sync Google email, contacts, and calendar FAQ for more information.

For iOS, do the following steps on your device to sync with Google:

  1. Select Settings.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Select Add Account.
  4. Select Google.
  5. Follow the steps to enter your Gmail credentials.
  6. Enable the services you want to use. Choices: Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Notes.

Any new info you add in your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch will sync with your Google account.

July 28, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Google Calendar Sync Replacement for Outlook Offers More Options

Google has announced that its Google Calendar Sync will no longer work as of August 1, 2014. No doubt, it’s frustrating to be forced to find another solution to sync Outlook with your devices and change how you work. Fortunately, AkrutoSync makes it easy as it syncs Outlook calendar, contacts, tasks and notes with all your devices. It’s automatic, secure and cloudless.

Google Calendar Sync Replacement for Outlook

Just install the software on your Windows PC and it works.

This change is an opportunity to switch to a more secure solution that keeps your personal information out of the cloud. You also won’t need to USB or any other cables because the software syncs over Wi-Fi or through an SSL-encrypted Internet connection.

Your personal and confidential information directly syncs Outlook with Windows Phone and Android devices and vice versa. No information is shared with Akruto or any cloud services.

Here are more AkrutoSync benefits:

  • Pay one time and that’s it. No recurring or upgrade fees.
  • Use with Windows Phone and Android devices. Although it unofficially works with iOS devices, we’re working to add official support for iOS.
  • Track all additions, changes and deletions with sync history feature.
  • Ensure you have all your information as nothing disappears or gets cut off. Yes, AkrutoSync transfers 96,000 characters of the complete Sonnets by William Shakespeare. Want proof? Watch How to Sync Windows Phone with Outlook video. (Go to 1:30 in the video.)
  • Set it and forget it.

We could go on all day about how it’ll help you, but we’d rather let the software do the talking.

Want to see how it works before you invest? You can try a full blown version of AkrutoSync free for seven days.

If you like it, you won’t have to download anything again. Just pay a one-time fee of $29.95 $24.95 (special price good through August 15, 2014) and we’ll send you the license information to enter into the software. And it’s all yours. You won’t ever have to shell out more money or worry about losing another service like Google Calendar Sync.

The license covers installing AkrutoSync on one Windows PC and using it with all the compatible handsets, smartphones and devices you could want.

We extended the $5 discount for another two weeks. But this is it. No more extensions. Go get AkrutoSync to give yourself time to try it and see how it syncs Outlook calendar and contacts with your devices. We think you’ll like it. Check out the reviews and customer testimonials

July 23, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Google Calendar Sync End-of-Life Prompts Users to Find Another Solution to Sync Calendar with Devices

AkrutoSync automatically, cloudlessly and securely syncs Outlook on a Windows PC with Windows Phone and Android devices.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Akruto, Inc. Press Release

Newton, Mass. – July 22, 2014 – According to Google, Google Calendar Sync will no longer sync events on August 1, 2014. Users who switch to AkrutoSync™ will not only be able to sync Outlook calendar across all of their devices, but also contacts, tasks and notes.
Google Calendar Sync Replacement

This move removes personal data from Google’s cloud because they’ll be able to directly sync between Outlook and their Windows Phone or Android devices. Synchronization occurs through Wi-Fi or the Internet’s SSL-encrypted connection. All data synchronized through AkrutoSync is never shared with Akruto or any cloud services.

“Customers today carry their data everywhere they go, but they’re also concerned about privacy,” says George Tatar, founder and CEO of Akruto, Inc. “Using AkrutoSync, Google Calendar Sync and Outlook users can continue to automatically, cloudlessly and securely sync calendars, contacts and tasks with all their devices.”

A full version of AkrutoSync for Windows PC is available to try for seven days at no cost from http://www.akruto.com/get-akruto-sync/. The company is offering $5 off the regular price of $29.95 for AkrutoSync through August 15, 2014 to help ease the changeover.

To continue using the software, customers just pay a one-time cost of $24.95 and enter the license. A license includes installing AkrutoSync on one Windows PC and using it with unlimited compatible tablets, handsets and smartphones.

Akruto in social media
Twitter: @akruto
Facebook: AkrutoSync
Google+: AkrutoSync

About Akruto Based in Newton, Mass. and founded in 2010, Akruto, Inc. aims to provide customers with full control of their personal information. Its engineers have extensive experience in data management and share a strong commitment to protecting data privacy. Akruto provides a reliable two-way synchronization solution that does not use the cloud, keeping highly personal information away from storage and scrutiny by anyone other than yourself. The company offers support for Android and Windows Phone platforms with an iOS version planned. To learn more about the company and AkrutoSync, please visit http://www.akruto.com/. Please send press inquiries and review requests to media(at)akruto(dot)com.

July 18, 2014 4 Comments

Google Calendar Sync Sunset Forces Users to Seek Alternative Solution to Sync Outlook with Devices

Automatically sync Outlook Contacts, Calendar, and Tasks between PC and Android. Direct, reliable, cloud-free.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Akruto, Inc. Press Release

Newton, Mass. – July 16, 2014 – Google has announced that Google Calendar Sync, an application that syncs events between Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar, will no longer be supported as of August 1, 2014. AkrutoSync™ from Akruto, Inc. comes to the rescue by offering a cloudless, seamless and automatic way to synchronize Outlook Contacts, Calendars, Tasks, and Notes across all Android and Windows Phone devices.

Google Calendar Sync Alternative

Users won’t have to keep Outlook updated through Google’s cloud. Instead, they can use AkrutoSync to automatically sync Outlook directly to Android or Windows Phone devices through Wi-Fi or the Internet. Because of this, users don’t need USB cables and they won’t have to worry about personal and confidential information leaking in the cloud.

Even with the Internet option, users’ phones and tablets connect directly to their computer using an SSL-encrypted connection. The data does not pass through Akruto’s servers or any cloud service.

“Today’s connected users want and need their data everywhere they go,” says George Tatar, founder and CEO of Akruto, Inc. “With AkrutoSync, Google Calendar Sync users will be able to effortlessly sync their personal information across devices. They’ll also enjoy more privacy as the information won’t go through the cloud.”

Users can try a fully functional version of AkrutoSync for seven days at no cost from http://www.akruto.com/get-akruto-sync/. To ease the transition from Google Calendar Sync to AkrutoSync, users can get $5 off the regular price of $29.95. A license to continue using the software is available for a one-time cost of only $24.95. (Special price good through August 15, 2014.) This includes installing AkrutoSync on a single PC and using it with unlimited compatible handsets, smartphones and tablets.

Connect with Akruto on Twitter @akruto and Google+.

About Akruto
Based in Newton, Mass. and founded in 2010, Akruto, Inc. aims to provide customers with full control of their personal information. Its engineers have extensive experience in data management and share a strong commitment to protecting data privacy. Akruto provides a reliable two-way synchronization solution that does not use the cloud, keeping highly personal information away from storage and scrutiny by anyone other than yourself. The company offers support for Android and Windows Phone platforms with an iOS version planned. To learn more about the company and AkrutoSync, please visit http://www.akruto.com/. Please send press inquiries and review requests to media(at)akruto(dot)com.

July 15, 2014 3 Comments

A Secure Alternative for Google Calendar Sync

Google has announced that its Google Calendar Sync will no longer work as of August 1, 2014. No doubt, it’s frustrating to be forced to find another solution and change how you work. Fortunately, AkrutoSync makes it easy as it syncs Outlook calendar, contacts, tasks and notes with all your devices. It’s automatic, secure and cloudless.

A Secure Alternative for Google Calendar Sync  - AkrutoSync AkrutoSync is a secure alternative for Google Calendar Sync

Just install the software on your Windows PC and it works.

This change is an opportunity to switch to a more secure solution that keeps your personal information out of the cloud. You also won’t need to USB or any other cables because the software syncs over Wi-Fi or through an SSL-encrypted Internet connection.

Your personal and confidential information directly syncs Outlook with Windows Phone and Android devices and vice versa. No information is shared with Akruto or any cloud services.

Here are more AkrutoSync benefits:

  • Pay one time and that’s it. No recurring or upgrade fees.
  • Use with Windows Phone and Android devices. Although it unofficially works with iOS devices, we’re working to add official support for iOS.
  • Track all additions, changes and deletions with sync history feature.
  • Ensure you have all your information as nothing disappears or gets cut off. Yes, AkrutoSync transfers 96,000 characters of the complete Sonnets by William Shakespeare. Want proof? Watch How to Sync Windows Phone with Outlook video. (Go to 1:30 in the video.)
  • Set it and forget it.

We could go on all day about how it’ll help you, but we’d rather let the software do the talking.

Want to see how it works before you invest? You can try a full blown version of AkrutoSync free for seven days.

If you like it, you won’t have to download anything again. Just pay a one-time fee of $29.95 $24.95 (special price good through August 15, 2014) and we’ll send you the license information to enter into the software. And it’s all yours. You won’t ever shell out more money or worry about losing another service like Google Calendar Sync.

The license covers installing AkrutoSync on one Windows PC and using it with all the compatible handsets, smartphones and devices you could want.

We extended the $5 discount for another two weeks. But this is it. No more extensions. Go get AkrutoSync to give yourself time to try it. We think you’ll like it. Check out the reviews and customer testimonials.

July 15, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Sync History: Avoid or Restore Accidental Deletions

 

I was working with an app in which I could update notes on any computer or device and it’d sync across the board. When there’s a conflict, the app lets me know. Not this time. Long story short, I lost half of the information in one of the notes.

There was no getting it back. My brain — overwhelmed with remembering many things — couldn’t recall most of the missing items.

Thankfully, the list wasn’t critical to my personal or professional life. The same can’t be said for my Outlook contacts and calendar. I’ve seen events I *know* I put in Outlook calendar disappear. I’ve noticed cell phones and email addresses missing from contacts on my Android phone. I’m 100 percent sure I had the information at some point.

I’d enter events on my Android that would later disappear. This happened one too many times. I also noticed missing cell phone numbers and email addresses. I’m positive I entered the information.

Fed up with losing data, I looked for another solution to sync Android with Outlook. AkrutoSync did the trick. I especially like the history feature as it meant no more disappearing data.

No longer have I run into situations when I think: “I *know* I had a different email address for this person” or “I’m positive I had this person’s cell phone.”

AkrutoSync keeps a history of all changes across devices and PCs. It shows which device made changes and when. Sync history also lists what data was added, deleted or changed for each contact, appointment and task.

Akruto Sync: Added Contact Shown in Sync History

Figure 1: Added Contact Shown in Sync History

You can look at history by contact, calendar or task. Figure 1 shows the list of contacts that have been changed, added or deleted. Since Renee Allison has a plus sign by her name, she is a new contact. Select her name to see the added information. The minus sign indicates a deletion and the pencil represents a change.

Figure 2 shows that Colleen Wheeler’s information was changed. A mobile phone number and an email address were added to the contact. The business phone number was changed.

Akruto Sync: Added Contact Shown in Sync History

Figure 2: Modified Contact Shown in Sync History

AkrutoSync can save all versions of the data in history. I haven’t lost data again. Knock on wood. I also like AkrutoSync for the following:

  • Keep data secure by not synchronizing through the cloud.
  • Pay one time. Not a fan of recurring fees.
  • Retain all data. Nothing disappears or gets cut off.
  • Work with Android devices. I have an Android tablet. Unofficially, it works with iPad.
  • Sync automatically. Set it and forget it.

I also appreciated being able to try the full version of AkrutoSync free. This way I could make sure everything worked before I shelled out the bucks. When I decided to buy it, I didn’t have to download AkrutoSync again. After payment, Akruto sent me the code to enter and that was the last thing I had to do. It just works.

July 11, 2014 2 Comments

Sync Outlook with Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft has started rolling out the Windows Phone 8.1 OS upgrade in select countries. Even with the update, Windows Phone still doesn’t natively sync with Outlook. No worries! AkrutoSync will automatically sync Outlook with Windows Phone 8.1.


Sync Outlook with Windows Phone 8.1

Supposedly, the Windows Phone will receive two general distribution release updates in 2014: GDR 1 in July and GDR 2 in November. This, however, doesn’t mean you’ll see the update in July. These are the dates Microsoft expects to send it to carriers and OEMs.

Windows Phone Central is tracking the rollout by country and phone. The site is updating the page as soon as the news comes in, so watch it to find out when it’s coming to your country.

Currently, the phones that come with Windows Phone 8.1 are the new Nokia Lumia phones:

  • Lumia 630
  • Lumia 635
  • Lumia 930

Here are the new features in the Windows Phone 8.1:

  • Cortana: Microsoft’s answer to Siri.
  • Live Tiles will let you choose a photo for your Start Screen background.
  • Camera improvements: Burst mode for capturing multiple photos in quick succession and collections that automatically organize your photos by date, location and activity.
  • Word Flow Keyboard: Microsoft’s answer to Swype.
  • Action Center: See email, texts and social media updates within one swipe.
  • Wi-Fi Sense: Automatically connect to Wi-Fi hotspots.

You may have heard about the folder creation ability. This won’t be available until Update 1.

Sync Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks with AkrutoSync. You can try the full-feature software for seven days before you buy to see how it works for you. Download AkrutoSync here. If you decide to continue using it, you won’t have to download it again. Just enter your license code and you’re set.

July 7, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Amazon Fire Phone Review

The long-rumored Amazon phone has at last hit the desks of reviewers nationwide. Known as the Amazon Fire, the $199 handset follows in the footsteps of the original Apple iPhone by being both pricey and only available (beginning in July 2014) from A T & T.


Amazon Fire Phone

With a heavily customized Android OS, the Fire phone offers two major features not available on other Android devices, Firefly and Mayday. Firefly makes it very easy to buy. Push the Firefly button on the handset and a number of things instantly take place. It takes a photo, performs image recognition pulling out any recognizable item, phone number, email, etc., and stores (for free) a copy of your photos in a unlimited, linked Amazon account. It’s a simple matter to then call, email, text, or buy using the extracted data. (It’s also possible that Amazon’s analysis bots will troll through these same photos to freshen its recommendations and ads)

CNN was not alone in noting that Firefly’s ability to identify songs, books, and other Amazon-available items was not an afterthought, but a focus of the phone.
“Amazon wants you to buy its first smartphone, the Fire, which it unveiled Wednesday,” the news channel reported. “But it also wants you to use that phone to buy more stuff … from Amazon.”

Mayday, a feature brought over from Amazon’s Kindle Tablet line, makes is easier for novice users to gain confidence with their phones. One press calls up an Amazon staffer you can hear and see and who can draw helpful arrows and notes directly on your screen. The tech rep cannot see you, but they can hear your questions. Since the Amazon OS differs from iOS or stock Android, new users could require some assistance, no matter how long they’ve been using a smart handset.

The big draw for the Fire in terms of hardware is the use of four, user-facing cameras. These serve to track the user’s head movement, combined with device accelerometers, which detect tilting, these activate a modest 3D-effect on screen that Amazon terms, “Dynamic Perspective.” This novelty allows the user to manipulate pop-out menus, flyouts and other additional data tabs, almost as a second thought, by simple head or handset movements without actually touching the screen.

Details on the screen and camera resolution are included in the official specs, but none of the Fire’s hardware exceeds the current flagship phone expectations as currently defined by Samsung and Apple.

Whether the 3D effect captivates or annoys remains to be seen. Previous 3D phones featuring stronger effects from HTC and LG did not garner noticeable market share. The real draw for those who are otherwise undecided about buying a new Fire may be the offer of free Amazon Prime for one year. That’s an $89 incentive which effectively lowers the $199 price for those who would enjoy Prime. (Current Prime members get a full-year extension with the Fire.)

Executive summary: The Amazon Fire phone offers a few new tricks, adequate hardware, but it comes at a premium price. Its success may depend more on Amazon’s packaged deals, branding and marketing than on the handset’s actual design. It does not rate as best-in-class in general terms (camera, processor, screen resolution, lack of expandable memory, etc.), but they may not matter since it is firmly aimed at the consumer, not the business or technical market segments.

July 2, 2014 4 Comments

Samsung Kies not working? We have a solution.

Samsung Kies, an app that syncs Outlook, music and photos with the Android phone and updates software, comes up often in discussion forums. But not in a good way. Most of the time, people are asking for help because Kies is not working. They’re either doing Kies troubleshooting or they want to find a Kies alternative that can sync Outlook contacts, calendars and tasks with an Android phone.

Its problems occur with all versions. Currently, there’s version 3 for devices running Android 4.3 and Android 4.4 and version 2.6 for devices running older versions of Android that launched before September 2013.

Here are some of the problems users have reported:

  • Doesn’t sync.
  • Kies not connecting. (Can’t connect the phone to the computer.)
  • Doesn’t recognize the Android device.
  • Won’t install.
  • Doesn’t sync at all or partially syncs data.
  • Displays error messages.
  • Says there’s no default email client.
  • Won’t launch.
  • Causes Wi-Fi to disconnect. (Fixing it has prevented Windows Updates from installing.)

Some users report that customer service isn’t helpful for Samsung Kies troubleshooting. Others post detailed and cumbersome workarounds, which sometimes only solve part of the problem. With AkrutoSync, you won’t have these problems.

AkrutoSync is a Samsung Kies alternative that works with Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, Google Nexus 5, Google Nexus 4, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Motorola Droid RAZR, HTC One and other Android devices.


AkrutoSync reliable alternative to Kies

You’ll be able to sync your contacts, calendar and tasks automatically, completely, wirelessly and securely without going through the cloud. You won’t need a USB cable to make it work.

Some of our customers switched to Akruto after becoming frustrated with Samsung Kies not working. In his AkrutoSync review, Paul S writes, “Up to my neck with Samsung Kies. So glad I found this easy to use product.”

One user who updated to Jellybean 4.3 on a Galaxy S4 ran into Samsung Kies problems and synchronizing Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks became impossible. In searching for a Kies alternative, he learned that most were buggy and some users recommended AkrutoSync after trying other options. “It works faultlessly, in near real time, and reliably in both directions,” he writes.

You can try AkrutoSync free for seven days. This way you can see if it’s a fit for you and how it works without making an investment. AkrutoSync costs only $24.95 — a one-time purchase. No annual fees. No upgrade fees. Even after you buy it, you won’t have to download it again. All you’ll need to do is enter a registration code and you’re set.

If you’d like to watch a video of how AkrutoSync works, please check out the How to Sync Android phones with Outlook video.

June 25, 2014 5 Comments

Sync Android with Outlook

You’d think you could sync Android with Outlook right out of the box considering the abundance of Microsoft Outlook users. Yes, it’d make customers happy, but that’s not how companies think. Google is behind Android.


Sync Android With Outlook

And what does Google have that competes with Microsoft Outlook? Yep, Gmail. And it wants you to use that along with Google Calendar and Google Contacts. That’s why Android phones offer seamless synchronization of Google products across all devices. After all, you must have a Gmail account to use an Android phone or tablet.

This is a bigger problem for people like small businesses and home users who aren’t on Microsoft Exchange servers. Plenty of people in these groups have their reasons for sticking with Outlook.

One option to sync Android with Outlook is to export your Outlook data as a CSV file and import it into your Android device. It’s as tedious as it sounds. Plus, you’d have to import and export on a regular basis to keep your Android contacts and calendar updated.

People who have a Motorola Android phone have the same problem with Motorola’s web-based Phone Portal. It lets you import and export CSV files, and you’d have to repeatedly do this to keep the phone data in sync with Outlook.

Those who have a Samsung phone may have looked into Samsung Kies to sync Outlook with Samsung. Just search the Internet and you’ll see it’s not a recommended solution because Kies access is inconsistent. Sometimes it’s blocked and sometimes access is changed when there’s a software update. “I tried Samsung Kies, didn’t like it at all, as it messed up my contact and appointment data,” an Android customer writes.

Besides, you may decide to buy a different Android phone next time. You’d have to start the process of finding another solution to sync Android with Outlook.

Another option is to use an app that works with all Android phones regardless of make and model like AkrutoSync. One AkuroSync user writes, “Pretty much bulletproof and automatic near real time, two way syncing of my Galaxy S4 to Outlook. Infinitely better than manual synching with Samsung Kies which is as terrible as ever.”

“I only found out about this wonderful program because an update to Jellybean 4.3 on my Galaxy S4 also required an update to Samsung Kies 3.2,” writes a customer. “Unfortunately Kies 3.2 is even more buggy and dreadful than ever, hence syncing Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks became an impossible task for me.”

Many of AkrutoSync users often say the same thing: “It just works.” They’re not just referring to the fact the app allows you to sync Android with Outlook, but that it’s seamless, automatic and doesn’t sync Outlook through the cloud. In other words, set it and forget it. After you install the app, you’re done. AkrutoSync does all the heavy lifting.

June 19, 2014 Leave your thoughts

9 Threats That Affect Synchronizing Outlook with the Cloud

Automatically synchronizing Outlook calendar and contacts with a smartphone keeps things simple as you no longer have to update your information in multiple places.


Cloud Sync Risks

However, many solutions go through the cloud to sync Outlook with phone contacts. Using the cloud to synchronize data is riskier than you might think.

The Cloud Security Alliance recently wrote about the “Notorious Nine” serious security threats in cloud computing. Here are the nine cloud threats to cloud computing that may affect the information you share in the cloud.

  1. Data breaches: According to research from University of North Carolina, it’s not hard for a virtual machine to access information from the cloud. An attacker could gain access to data if the application has just one flaw. It can also happen by accident, as one company was just reviewing Google Analytics when it came across confidential information in the cloud.
  2. Data loss: Malicious attackers could break into an account and delete everything. If a cloud service provider loses data, it may not have backup. “Forty-three percent of respondents have lost data in the cloud and have had to recover from back-ups,” said Dave Elliott, cloud marketing manager at Symantec. Even a strong password can’t protect you. With two minutes and $4, someone can find out your credit card, phone and security numbers despite a strong password.
  3. Account or service traffic hijacking: If a hacker accesses your login credentials, he or she could track your activities and transactions, and use them to provide falsified information or manipulate data.
  4. Insecure APIs: Third party companies use the application programming interface to integrate their products with the cloud service. Experts say there is no API is 100 percent secure including OAuth. “Although OAuth2 is optimized for client developer simplicity, it is a subtle protocol that can (unfortunately) easily be made insecure,” Coursera writes in OAuth2-based APIs. Unauthorized users can circumvent the API to change user restriction or access non-public areas of the application.
  5. Denial of service: The oldie but not so goodie still remains a threat as distributed denial of service attacks can send hundreds of thousand automated requests to consuming a cloud service’s resources that could cripple it or shut it down. Arbor Network’s eighth annual World Wide Infrastructure Security Report found that 76% of respondents report experiencing DDoS attacks affecting their customers in the cloud and data centers.
  6. Malicious insiders: Former employees and contractors could still have access after they’ve left the company. What’s more is that current employees may have access where they shouldn’t especially in an incorrectly designed cloud application. Forrester’s “Understand the State of Data Security and Privacy” reports that insiders are responsible for 36 percent of data breaches.
  7. Abuse of cloud services: Although this threat has a greater effect on cloud service providers than they do consumers, a hacker may use the service for a DDoS attack or to run malware. Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report says that one of the trends European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) spotted was an increase in malware from cloud services.
  8. Insufficient due diligence: Not all cloud service providers implement the required processes and security to provide a secure service that limits threats. And customers who want to sync Outlook contacts typically don’t spend a lot of time evaluating the cloud provider.
  9. Shared technology: If a single component is compromised, the cloud service could expose the customers’ information and open itself to a breach.

This is a lot of risk for customers who keep sensitive data in the cloud, which is what happens when you use the cloud to share and sync across platforms, devices, teams and locations. Most people’s Outlook contacts and calendar have information that they most likely don’t want to make public.

If you prefer to reduce risk by avoiding the cloud, one option is AkrutoSync, which allows you to sync your Outlook contacts and calendar with your smartphone without going through the cloud.

Either way, you’ll want to keep your information safe out there and do your due diligence on where you store your sensitive and confidential data.

June 19, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Should You Sync Outlook through the Cloud?

Synchronizing your Outlook calendar, contact and other data in the cloud can make it easier for you to manage it and access it from anywhere on any device. Unfortunately, file sync and share applications like Dropbox that use the cloud could put your sensitive information at risk.


Laptop phone and tablet picture

One company was doing an analysis of Google AdWords and Google Analytics data. It wasn’t looking for sensitive files, yet it inadvertently came across URLs that opened confidential files, such as tax returns, bank records and business plans. A goldmine for identity theft especially when more than half of the respondents in a Fiberlink survey say they upload sensitive data to cloud services.

This is alarming considering the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s survey on consumer fraud reports that more than 10 percent of adults become victims of fraud every year. Furthermore, home security firm Friedland conducted a survey that has found four out of five thieves use publicly posted social media status updates to find potential victims.

Using a cloud-based app has a whole host of security challenges that are out of users’ control. There’s physical security of the servers hosting the content. Is the data encrypted? How? Has the company done a background check on employees? Insider hacking has made news.

Cloud providers often work with third parties because of integration. Does the cloud provider have security processes for its third parties? All of this requires doing due diligence and ensuring their service level agreements are airtight. This is overkill for most people who just want to sync Outlook contacts with a phone.

In ‘Secure’ Cloud File Sync Is The Wrong Move, Jonathan Feldman explains that the simplicity of the process involved with using cloud apps is what draws people to them. But they’re still not secure. “There’s no doubt that cloud-based file sync has created a huge security issue. But expecting to solve it with inadequate products isn’t the way to go,” Feldman writes.

His recommendation is to educate the user. However, this doesn’t solve the problem for users who simply want to sync Outlook calendar with a phone.

So what can you do about it?

If you need to use a cloud app, start by keeping financial, business and personal sensitive information out of the cloud as much as possible. Also review your privacy settings in your file sync and share application because many of them have a “public” setting as the default. Avoid sharing sensitive files and delete files as soon as the recipient receives it.

For any folders and files you’ve already shared or have in “public” status, delete them. Yes, delete as opposed to just changing the setting from “public” to “private.” After deleting them, upload them again in “private” status.

Another option is to find alternative sync solutions with more security and privacy options that don’t post your data in the cloud. Rather, the data moves from device to device without making a stop on insecure cloud servers. These could be a private cloud, an external hard drive or non-cloud app that lets you sync Outlook calendar and contacts.

AkrutoSync is a program that that allows Windows Phone and Android users to sync Outlook contacts, calendars, tasks and notes in an automatic, cloud-free, seamless and secure way.

May 7, 2014 1 Comment

Reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S5, part 4: Processor

 

When Apollo 11 ventured to the moon, none of its various computers had as much memory or processing power as today’s smart watches do. When the space shuttle flew, it carried five computers arrayed in a complex, redundant voting system to translate its pilot’s flight commands, but none of those five cpu’s approached the power of your current PC or even that of a decent, touch-screen tablet.


Samsung Exynos Processor

Sometimes increasing power doesn’t result in a major perceived user experience. The Galaxy S5 has both quad- and octo- variant processor options in different parts of the world, but whether it can best the current flagship phones from Apple or HTC in benchmark testing is probably not the right question for a prospective phone buyer to ask.
That’s because all the top of the line handsets have video chip sets that will please even hard-core gamers, plus processors and OS updates that make their interfaces virtually lag-free and buttery-smooth. Their ability to switch quickly between applications is generally seamless.

In most published reviews, the S5 tests somewhere between the iPhone 5S and the HTC One (M8), but the differences amount to eye blinks—variations in machine scores which don’t impact your hands-on, day to day experience. All get the job done, so the buyer is free to choose the overlays, ecosystem, and extras (replaceable battery, memory expansion, water resistance, open OS, etc.) which really do provide value to them without worrying about which model gets the highest processor score using a particular, and possibly ephemeral, metric.

One notable feature that the S5 will offer some users is the ability to download on cellular LTE (4G) and WiFi simultaneous, as well as trying to access WiFi on two separate, internal antennas. Both are intended to improve video streaming and other data-intensive operations, but most U.S. carriers, including Sprint, AT&T and Verizon have switched off the simultaneous LTE/WiFi access in their branded versions, and smaller carriers often have data caps or throttling which will limit its usefulness even if it is not locked out altogether. Elsewhere in the world, it may be a useful and unique add-on, if your carrier’s billing plan is data-generous.
This wraps up our overview of Samsung’s new Galaxy S5. What other handsets would you like to see in the next Akruto Insight column?

April 18, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S5, part 3: Sensors

 
Differentiation is key in any competitive selling environment and no market is more demanding than wireless phones. Small add-ons can steer sales worldwide, if they work well and especially if they are hard to find on models put out by other brands.


Samsung Galaxy S5 Heart Rate Monitor and Pedometer

The S5 offers a new health package that includes a pedometer and heart rate sensor. Both are based on proven technologies, but both have inherent limitations that come with the phone’s form factor. That is, the S5 is so large that it is less likely to be always on your person which the pedometer requires for accuracy. The more active you are, the more likely you’ll be better served by a FitBit, Gear Fit or other more wearable device than the gigantic S5 which tends to reside in purses or on desks.

The limitation with the heart rate sensor is also related to the S5’s size. It can be hard to position your finger in the sweet spot of the pulse-reading window while holding the phone safely with your other hand. It’s the downside of the Galaxy’s giant, gorgeous screen. You have to float that mini-HDTV over your finger precisely.

The crossed-accelerometer tech used in the pedometer is the same one used in other fitness devices, but because of the way the phone may be carried, its mileage counts may be less accurate, yet still good enough to egg on the sedentary. Athletes will favor a lightweight, more robust and dedicated device.

The optical pulse reading is also valid science, but it is more subject to interference than electrical sensors such as those used in Polar brand fitness watches. It’s also hard to imagine a training tri-athlete, covered with perspiration, pulling out the S5 during a run, so there will remain a place for always-on, wearable pulse readers.

Still, like a Swiss Army knife, it can’t hurt to have options and these two fitness-related ones will fit well into a world that is tending more and more toward overweight. And they won’t have a noticeable impact on the handset’s battery life.

The other novelty will likely prove more popular. The home button below the screen on the S5 now serves as a fingerprint reader. It works well and provides an added measure of security to the platform. The only caveat is that it can be hard to use unless the phone is on a desk or other horizontal surface. Sideways finger slides are valid, but the sheer size can make the swiping your digits without unbalancing the phone a bit of a challenge, but the scanner can be turned off in favor of other, more standard Android log-on options.
Next: A look at the S5’s benchmarks in standard tests. How does its quad-core actually perform?

April 17, 2014 1 Comment

Blogging the S5, Part 2: Its best feature

The handset market is crowded with new phones coming out almost every week. Flagship phones, though are rarer, with major models from Samsung, HTC and Apple coming closer to annually. At the rarefied end where these three compete over every millimeter, pixel and novelty, the new Samsung Galaxy S5’s HD screen stands out.


samsung-galaxy-s5-display

Not to gush, but the just-launched S5 feels like a palm-filling HDTV. Holding it up in a store at arm’s length against a wall filled with 50-inch televisions, it fits right in with colors as saturated, bright and clear as the TVs with the same level of contrast and true blacks.

The S5’s display will feel large in anyone’s hands. It measures 5.1-inch (diagonally, of course) with 1920×1080 pixels and 432 pixels per inch. It’s stunning and Samsung knows it is. They have models in most stores set to a self-demo that even newbies can tap through. It includes some Blu-Ray quality movie footage that will impress even fans of the famous “Retina Display,” which, of course, comes only on smaller screens with a substantially lower pixel per inch count on handsets made by another company.

The cost, of course, will be borne in battery life, so Samsung beefed up its power supply with a 2,800 mAH removable. The company claims double-digit run times when web-surfing and movie watching (officially, Samsung says 10 hours of web browsing or up to 12 hours of HD movie watching, but other testers are finding 8 hours to be a more realistic real-life estimate).

So if you’re not looking to upgrade, you might not want to play with the S5 demo models at Radio Shack, Target or Best Buy. That’s because holding your current phone’s beside their demo unit will almost certainly create a brief and unnecessary bit of screen-envy.

 

April 14, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Samsung Galaxy S5 – An Akruto Insight Column

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has recently arrived at most U.S. carriers and the web buzz is that its expanded feature set will draw more users than the ho-hum response the S4 received last year. It’s large, bright display represents a definite improvement that is expected to attract a number of S3 owners and others to upgrade, especially given the surprisingly generous trade-in allowances several carriers are offering.


samsung-galaxy-s5-photo

As one pundit noted, “The S5 has the S4 feature set with the hardware that the S4 sadly lacked.” Representatives at both Sprint and Best Buy said that demand was building for the S5 and the new Gear and Gear Fit lines which it supports.

The S5 fulfills the basic requirements for a world-class flagship phone, to wit:

1) Best of breed front and rear-facing cameras with HD video, conferencing and retouching.

2) Color, 3D perspective, GPS with turn by turn mapping and places of interest, traffic, and other linked data.

3) Social media integration in all relevant apps, plus sharing links in an app that generates or uncovers content.

4) A complete spectrum of sensors: compass, barometer, cross accelerometers, auto screen orienting, gesture and voice control, and more.

So the best and brightest of the current Android line, the Samsung Galaxy S5 begins with these basics and adds KitKat, Android’s latest. The full specs for a representative U.S. model can be found here.

In the following posts, we’ll look at the history of the Galaxy line and review the S5’s feature set including:

1) Screen

2) New heart rate sensor

3) New fingerprint unlocking

4) Processor performance benchmarks

5) New option to combining WiFi with LTE for faster downloads

6) Camera features and functions

 

April 13, 2014 Leave your thoughts

A look at Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 a top of the line Android phone needs to have – large brilliant screen, a quad-core 2.5gHz Snapdragon 801 processor to run apps without lag, a 16 Megapixel camera with lightning-fast auto-focus.


Model holding Galaxy S5

The S5 is an incremental upgrade from the S4, not a redesign, and Samsung had good reasons for this. The Galaxy line is already the most popular line of smartphones in the world, so there is no need to rock the boat. The S5 is slightly bigger than the S4 and has somewhat more square-off edges than S4. The new phone feels sturdier in the hand then its predecessor and the finish on the back panel provides a better grip than on the S4.

Galaxy S5 is fast. Very fast. The CPU specs are boring and do not tell the story. Instead, try scrolling through your camera roll to see how fast this phone is.

With the S5, we feel no need to carry a separate point and shoot camera. It is super fast, which often matters much more than the megapixels. The video can be shot in the 4K resolution. 4K is a new standard expected to replace the 180p high-definition standard. Although there are not many devices for 4K video playback, once they become common, you will have plenty of home video footage to play.

Galaxy S5 does come with some new features, which we will be looking at in the coming days.

April 11, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Samsung Galaxy S5 avilable in the US

Galaxy S5 goes on sale in the US on April 11. The S5 is available through the wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular.


Samsung Galaxy S5 front view

AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5 sells for $199 with a two year contract ($649 without a contract)

The Verizon Wireless Galaxy S5 matches AT&T’s $199 price after a $50 rebate, also with a two-year agreement. Without a contract, the Verizon version costs $599.

Sprint Galaxy S5 is $199 with a contract, like AT&T and Verizon, but if you go with the no-contract option, Sprint throws in a free Galaxy Tab 3.

Electronics and retail stores like Best But, Target, Costco, Radio Shack are also offering the new flagship phone from Samsung.

April 11, 2014 Leave your thoughts

Samsung Galaxy S5 the waterproof phone

The most popular line of smartphones on the planet has a new flagship – the Samsung Galaxy S5. There are not many radical changes (why mess with something that is already popular). But we think the new waterproff ability is quite interesting.


Samsung Galaxy S5 under a stream of water from a faucet

Why waterproof smartphones? While you may not put your smartphone under a faucet, you would naturally want to keep your new expensive device safe. Here is where dust and water resistance play their role. The feature will also come very handy when we take our phones to the beach this summer.