Preventing data disasters

MORE than 67 per cent of companies that lose data through a major disaster such as flood, fire, burglary or sabotage are out of business within two years, which poses the question: is your data worth $1 a day?

That’s the question that the WA based ACS Dataguard company confronts business with - especially following the recent reports on massive laptop theft.

“Most people don’t care about losing a laptop,” said ACS spokesman Richard Knight.

“The insurance pays out and you get the latest model. But they won’t pay out on lost data and that is usually worth many times more than the machine.”

His company set up 16 months ago using American software and two secure sites in the greater Perth area to provide off-site data storage for WA companies.

They have already signed 120 clients ranging from 100 meg lap top users to major companies with mainframes and are negotiating with a major insurance company.

He says that using the latest Fast Bit Patching Technology and 120 encryption, which reduces data by 75 per cent, puts them in the international league.

“The ACS software installed in clients computers automatically dials up the ACS Data mainframe on an agreed routine (from three times a day to once a day) and automatically backs up the latest data,” he said.

“Using the Fast Bit technology this takes only minutes even with huge files, because Fast Bit only changes what has been altered. It doesn’t recopy all of the files again which makes it very fast.”

“People in Australia still don’t understand how important back up is until they lose the information. Then they become our most enthusiastic customer.”

He points to the US where off site data storage is now a $100 billion a year industry and predicts Australia is heading the same way.

“The fact is that in business when you lose your files you’ll find all the creditors call and remind you what you owe them, but you never hear from the debtors.

“Losing data can destroy a company over night,” he said.

Working in the industry for many years made him aware that a set and forget off-site data storage was something the business world would increasingly turn to.

So they went to the US looking for a software answer.

With the contract to use the Fast Bit technology in their pocket the ACS group set up two secure fire and flood proof sites with three main frames in each, and a third site for storing back-up tapes for each of the main frames.

So clients have three levels of security.

Mr Knight said no business is too small to use off-site data storage.

Small customers pay $1 a day, mid size customers around $2.90 a day.

Rates for the majors are negotiated individually depending on their requirements.

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