Good and Bad Marketing (Technical) Blog Posts

The Dangers of What You Read on the Internet

We live in a time when more information than ever before is available for us to read, most of it on the internet. It’s fantastic that so much information is available but the downside is that a lot is simply rubbish. A good example is the number of blogs with outdated or misleading content.

Technology companies often post what seems to be technical content in an attempt to attract people to their sites. Search engines don’t include a bovine-emitted brown smelly material detector yet. They can’t tell the difference between useful content and bad material that should never have been published.

It’s good that technology companies seek to inform potential customers about how their products work, but there’s a big difference between a good marketing blog post and a bad marketing blog post. Good posts are information-rich and don’t seek to force their products down the throats of the reader. Bad posts position their product as the solution that you’ve been waiting for and explain why.

A Solid Security Post

Here’s an example to show what I mean. The Fox IT post explaining why people who want to resist phishing attacks shouldn’t depend on digitally signed email as evidence that the sender is who they say they are is an interesting read. I feel better about the competence of the company because I learned something from the post. As such, if I need to engage a cyber-security company, Fox IT might be a candidate.

A Bad Marketing Post

CloudAlly delivers an example of what I consider to be a bad marketing piece when it writes about Microsoft Cloud Backup and Data Recovery. Fair disclosure: I have written many times about why I don’t think most Office 365 tenants need to pay extra for a third-party backup solution, and I’ve had some good debate with vendors in the space, like Spanning.

Any article that runs words together like “Microsoft Office 365 Exchange” is suspect from the start because this looks as if the author is looking for a good SEO score by combining words that people might search for. And remember, the article is supposed to be about Microsoft Cloud Backup, not just Exchange Online (which it is). Office 365 is not covered as there’s no mention of how to backup and restore Office 365 Groups, Teams, Planner, Yammer, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business or anything else that might in the Microsoft Cloud. In short, the title and the content don’t match up.

Another problem is that the author doesn’t understand that Exchange Online takes no backups at all and uses Native Data Protection instead. The article says that Exchange Online “only backs up information to a certain point and after that point, it becomes unrecoverable.” This is total rubbish. But then again, Native Data Protection has only existed since Exchange 2010 so maybe CloudAlly haven’t heard about it yet.

Fear Tactics 101

Content in its ignorance, CloudAlly then trots out the same old fear tactics that all backup vendors use to justify their products. You need to take backups (preferably with our technology) because you can permanently lose data because of:

  • malicious activity by hackers
  • disgruntled employees
  • corruption through third party app synchronization gone awry
  • employee error

Unfortunately, because Microsoft Office 365 Exchange is not set up for daily cloud backups, that means these unexpected data losses may be irreversible.

I have often challenged backup vendors to provide evidence of how often any of these situations happen. Few respond. Hackers do attack and ransomware attacks can seek to harm data (but the recent point-in-time restore feature in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business helps). I haven’t experienced a hacker compromise of mailboxes though. Maybe some do penetrate mailboxes and happily go and delete stuff, but Exchange Online keeps deleted items for 30 days, so I assume that someone would restore the lost information before then?

Corruption through 3rd party app synchronization gone awry” is new to me. I’d like to know what CloudAlly is thinking about here. Has ActiveSync gone nuts for someone?

Evidence Please!

Editors (and our own pride as writers) make sure that those of us who write for sites like cite evidence for statements we make. Good posts do likewise (look at the detail in the Fox IT post). Bad ones like CloudAlly’s treatise on backup combine FUD, unsubstantiated factoids, and marketing assertions in a bid to look authoritative. Sadly there are too many of these kind of posts floating around, which is why people need to keep their BS radar turned up high.

Our views on managing Exchange Online mailboxes are in Chapter 6 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. Then again, we also cover SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Office 365 Groups, Teams, Planner, and Yammer. Maybe some companies should read the book before they write posts about Office 365?

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