Back up data or perish

PEOPLE don’t realise how dependent they are on computers and it often takes a major data failure for them to recognise the need for efficient data backup, says Express Backup co-founder Leah Stacpoole.

Express Backup co-founder Malcolm Edgar said a stolen or lost laptop effectively equated to losing years worth of work and contacts.

“Accidentally deleting your own work is another issue, as is malicious actions by disgruntled employees,” Mr Edgar said.

Ms Stacpoole was inspired to create Express Backup’s core product of the same name late last year when the IT development company she was working for experienced a severe backup system failure. A virus had been downloaded from the Internet and backup tapes provided little joy.

She said the end result was downtime, with staff being sent home while the system was being restructured.

“It was then that I realised how serious data failure could be and began devising a solution that was easy for all staff of a business to use,” Ms Stacpoole said.

“Back up tapes are too complicated for use by most staff and require someone to go around and change all the tapes.

“Businesses need automated back up systems that run all the time.”

Ms Stacpoole said that ISPs rebranded ExpressBackup as their own and provided it to their subscribers.

“This is not the traditional online backup model, where the ISP simply advertises someone else’s backup service, but is a business system that the ISP runs and owns,” she said.

“ISPs, which are already doing business with an established customer base and technology infrastructure, are uniquely positioned to offer an online backup service to their subscribers.

“We believe that ISPs will become the backup service providers of the future.”

Ms Stacpoole said to appeal to a wide user market, the product had been designed to be very easy to access and download.

“User’s data is totally symmetrically encrypted on their personal computer before being transferred directly to their ISP’s backup server,” she said.

“There are two important components of this design: The first is that it’s just junk travelling and only the user has the key to de-encrypt it.

“The second is that user’s data never passes over the Internet.

“All transfers are performed over the closed loop between the users PC and their ISP’s Point of Presence.”

Mr Edgar said this meant if a salesman out in the field lost his laptop he could simply hire another and download all their work information from their ISPs backup server.

“It also allows users to share work between their office and home and is more efficient than using floppy discs,” he said.

To install, the product is downloaded from the Internet and the user is stepped through a wizard environment.

Mr Edgar said the product required three steps to backup and two to download.

“Any more than five dialogue boxes and people don’t bother,” he said.

Ms Stacpoole said the system could be set to back up at the end of the day or at many times during the day.

“You can get it to back up certain directories, or just word processing documents and image files,” she said.

“You don’t have to think about backing up – the system is doing it automatically in the background.”

The company is currently rolling out the product in New Zealand, the US, the UK and on the east coast.

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