Managing Storage on Your Devices

It doesn’t get more disappointing than to get a message that you can’t shoot a photo or video because your storage is full. Don’t let a storage shortage limit your ability to capture those memorable vacation moments. You can get the storage you need, and the sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be.

You can sometimes get two storage messages at the same time. One message is that your cloud storage is full, and the other is that your device is full. It’s easier to tackle the first message.

In our opinion, you can maintain enough storage and optimize your storage options by spending money wisely on storage space – both in the cloud and on your computers or devices. We’re sometimes amazed that people won’t spend anywhere from $11.88 (that’s 99 cents a month) to $100 for cloud storage for photos and videos. Whatever mobile platform you use, iOS or Android, there’s a way to buy cloud-based storage to back up any number of gigabytes you need for photos and videos on the fly. Just make sure you do it over a cellular network, which is preferable to a network that’s supposed to be secure, such as a hotel’s network. (See Safe Travels, Safe Wi-Fi.)

The extra cloud storage is the most effective and efficient way to make sure you have storage capacity, and it’s also the best way to make sure you don’t lose any photos or videos because you damage or lose your device. With many people taking vacations at places with water, including cruises, it’s all too easy to drop a phone into the water. You may lose the phone, but it’s replaceable. Your photos and videos are not.

Along that same line, newer cameras have the capability to send your photos automatically to your device or to back them up in the cloud. Although the files sent to your device may be smaller, getting them out of your camera keeps them safe in the event you lose your camera or damage its storage medium.

Getting back to a device, if its storage capacity is full, you’ll need to manually delete data, which could be photos, emails or files that are automatically downloaded by an app. Deletion steps will vary, but it’s an issue you can resolve before your trip.

If you are buying a new device, you can get one with more storage capacity. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that we use our phones for more than we think we will, including more photos and videos. You can use up 16 GB of storage very quickly, and it might be a better investment to spend, say, $100 more to get 64 GB of storage. If you spend the money on more storage now, it could increase the service life of your phone, which brings us to another point.

That other point is that many people tend to hang on to technology longer than they should – and fail to install all the software updates. The result is a slow system that leads to frustration and one that is wide open to a security breach (and that’s all we’ll say about that for now).

Here’s an example of one instance with a photo library with 100 GB of data. The system was too old to work with the pictures and email them – and there wasn’t enough hard disk space to work with the pictures. In addition, the photos on the computer hadn’t been backed up for two years. To make a long story short, it took an entire weekend to back up the photos so that the client could restore them to a new, faster system. Any money that might have been saved by hanging on to the old technology probably got eaten up by the time spent for an overdue upgrade.

Today’s technology is a much better value than yesterday’s latest-and-greatest equipment. Systems are faster, which enable them to handle more tasks in less time, and they can handle the latest software, which enables you to do more things. And the prices are the same, if not less.

The daunting part is trying to figure what will work best for you. Whether it’s a phone, a tablet or a computer, we can help you cut through all the hype to identify a system or cloud-based storage plan that meets your needs – nothing more and certainly nothing less. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to talk about your needs and budgets.

Homeland Security’s New Website for Trusted Travelers

If you’re a world traveler for business or pleasure – or plan to be – Homeland Security’s new Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) System website is your cyber destination for managing Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) programs. The four TTP programs are great time savers for frequent travelers who have been pre-approved and are considered low-risk. They also represent a process of security checks that make it extremely difficult for someone to steal personal identities.

Registering through the TTP site is your one-stop center for all of the programs, although it’s not likely most of you will use all of them. If you have used any of them before, you’ll need to re-register. If you’re not familiar with them, here are quick descriptions:

  • Global Entry is for travel back into the Unites States At selected airports, you go to a designated kiosk, present your machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place your fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. You get a transaction receipt and go to baggage claim and the exit. You must be pre-approved for the program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment.
  • NEXUS expedites processing when entering the United States and Canada. You use dedicated NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada by air and Global Entry kiosks when entering the United States via Canadian Preclearance airports. You also receive expedited processing at marine reporting locations.
  • SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) expedites clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Participants may enter the United States by using dedicated primary lanes into the United States at southern land border ports. It’s primarily for travel from Mexico.
  • FAST (Free and Secure Trade) is a commercial clearance program for known low-risk shipments entering the United States from Canada and Mexico by truck. It expedites processing for commercial carriers who have completed background checks and fulfill certain eligibility requirements. The majority of dedicated FAST lanes are located in northern border ports in Michigan, New York and Washington and at southern border ports from California to Texas. Participation in FAST requires that every link in the supply chain, from manufacturer to carrier to driver to importer, is certified under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.

If you already participate in one of the programs, you’ll have to go through a new registration process, which is an admitted ordeal, and you’ll need your PASSID number, which should be on any membership cards you have for the program or on any notification letters you might have received.

To start the re-registration process, go to, log in, go to Manage My Membership and then Consent and Continue. Eventually, you’ll be redirected to a page where you’ll need to create an account. You’ll need to enter your email address, and then you’ll receive a confirmation. If all goes well, you’ll need to enter a password – a strong one – and you’ll need to provide a phone number (mobile is better) as part of the new website’s two-factor authentication process.

Through the process, you’ll be given a “personal key” that you should write down and keep with you. It’s your backup in case something goes wrong in your two-factor authentication scheme. After that, you’ll be redirected to the new TTP registration site, where you’ll need to enter personal information and your PASSID.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s a process that comes as close as anything I’ve seen to having both convenience and protection – once you go through all the gyrations to set it up. It has two-factor authentication and a secure back-up process, and the end result is convenience and time-saving at a place where it’s important for travelers and shippers.

We hope this helps you see the value of two-factor authentication. While secure borders are a top priority for our country, securing your personal data should be a top priority for you. Spending a few minutes early on can pay big dividends later. If you have questions about your security and setting up a two-factor authentication system, call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for help.