Acomprehensive backup strategy is vital for any company because data loss can be catastrophic ? indeed, some firms whose essential data is seriously corrupted never quite recover. Many companies use tape libraries, but to be absolutely sure, tapes should be stored off-site in a secure, fireproof safe with restricted access. There are companies that provide such a service, but now Netstore is offering an alternative.
Using any Internet connection, Netstore will allow you to transfer files to its secure storage centre, where they are stored in encrypted format. The storage system is mirrored at a site hundreds of miles away to ensure against data loss. The encryption system is a 40-bit DES mechanism based on the user?s key. Data is encrypted and decrypted on the user?s PC by the host software, so even file transfer is protected from would-be hackers.
Host software is available for Windows 3.1x, Windows 95 and Windows NT, and can be downloaded on a 30-day trial basis from Netstore?s Web site, www.netstore.net. Installation consumes less than 2Mb of hard drive space. Once the online registration process has been completed, the application can be used to select the files to be backed up. Regular backups can be scheduled for any time and the software can generate automatic rules so that it backs up data files only, rather than entire applications.
After logging on to the system with your user name and password, the selected files are encrypted and transferred to the main storage site over any Windows-based Internet connection. Users with dial-up connections are limited to the speed of their modems, but even this allows essential data files to be backed up fairly quickly. A technique known as Delta Blocking is used so that only those parts of a file that have changed are transferred on subsequent backups.
All versions of all backed-up files are kept by Netstore, making it easy to return to an earlier draft of a document. Data can be retrieved at any time, using the same software to select which files are to be downloaded. Netstore can also produce a CD-ROM containing the relevant data, and post it to you for about #50.
The cost of the service depends on the level of use. Home users get an initial 60Mb of storage space and, for about #5 a month, 15Mb of incremental storage each month. The standard service for small offices costs #10 for 25Mb each month, with an initial allocation of 100Mb. For larger organisations, #25 a month buys an initial 200Mb plus 50Mb of incremental storage space a month. Netstore also provides bespoke pricing schemes. File retrieval via the Internet is free, except for phone and ISP charges.
Incremental monthly figures are measured after Delta Blocking has been applied, so the actual volume of changed data could be far larger. But it?s worth bearing in mind that all these prices could soon be replaced by a flat rate, to which existing users will be able to upgrade.
Contact: Netstore on 01344 365762 or www.netstore.net
R Price: Varies depending on usage; about #10 a month on average
R Applications: From single users to large companies, for storing essential data in a secure off-site location.
The business verdict
This is a simple, secure and elegant solution to the problem of data backup for almost anyone. The software supplied is compact and efficient, and the peace of mind it offers is well worth the cost.
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