An Internet back-up company is aiming to be the first in the UK to offer a legally admissible messaging service for proving electronic documents have been sent or received.
Netstore, based in Bracknell, specialises in secure back-up services over IP using the Internet, dial-up or via direct connection to the Lan.
Around April next year, a new protocol for electronic mail, the Fifth Generation Messaging Protocol, will be introduced into email products from vendors such as Microsoft, Lotus and Netscape.
Jeff Maynard, managing director of Netstore, describes it as a form of insurance for companies that may have to prove at some point whether they did or did not receive important electronic documents.
"The protocol enables anyone to have their messaging escrowed by us and then we can prove in the future whether messages have been sent or received," he said.
All mail would be duplicated in an encrypted form to a third party, such as Netstore, and would include details of its origination and destination.
Maynard says companies can also use the protocol to keep an audit trail internally of all messaging, if they need to prove what has been sent and received, although if it is not done by a trusted third party, it would not be legally admissible.
The Fifth Generation Messaging Forum is the unsurprising title of the group of vendors currently developing the protocol.
Netstore launched its fixed price Internet service last week, which enables users to schedule when back-ups are made and restore at any time either via the Internet or using a CD-Rom.
The company claims it is the first to offer back-up services at a fixed rate per machine or Lan, thereby enabling companies to budget their costs exactly.
Netstore uses a technique called Delta blocking, which after the first full back-up, only back up the parts of files that have been changed since the previous one. This cuts down on the amount of time and data traffic required.
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