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Volume 27, Issue 3

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October 26, 2007

PC Backup Technology Arrives

Written by  Richard Newman
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In late 1988, the Disaster Recovery Journal featured an article by William Bedsole, who discussed some of the complications arising from today’s PCs as opposed to those of eight years ago. “In most cases,” he asserted, “corporate management and MIS don’t understand what today’s PCs are being used for or how dependant their organizations have become on their availability” (“Are Your PCs Protected?”, page 189).

Bedsole defined the main problem that arises from these complications—namely, protecting the vast amounts of vital corporate data. “Users of these systems often are not from the DP ranks and have not accumulated the hard-earned backup disciplines of their mainframe counterparts,” he stated.

These problems, however, can now be put to an end. Secure Data Network, Inc. has recently developed the first online data backup and retrieval service for IBM-compatible PCs and PC-based local area networks (LANs). The latest onslaught of natural disasters, besides the profusion of computer viruses, makes this sophisticated system of PC data backup well timed.

“With the SDN Backup System, PC users can have the kind of off-site, out of state, secure backup of data that might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for a mainframe computer—at a fraction of the cost,” said Frank Reed, Executive Vice President of Secure Data Network, Inc.

The SDN Backup System, through automatic dial-up connections, compresses and encrypts files, then relays the data to two SDN-maintained remote sites at some of the highest attainable transmission rates. Using SDN custom-designed communications software and hardware, this method of off-site, multiple location storage is not only secure, but unique.

Perhaps most importantly, at least in reference to Bedsole’s concerns, the SDN Backup Software involves a minimum of training. After the user and SDN select the data to be backed up and specify the user-defined time intervals, the rest of the backup process is entirely automatic.

At the designated time, the SDN backup system automatically scans hard discs for new or altered files. This data is then compressed roughly 65% and relayed through standard telephone lines or by satellite to the two remote sites. One of these sites is an SDN “Substation” site, usually within the user’s area code or at least accessible through a toll-free number. To ensure the utmost data security, however, the SDN Station itself is located out of state.

The SDN Backup System has several built-in security measures. The system compresses and encrypts files using Defense Department approved Data Encryption Standard (DES) level security so that only the owner, with a personal password, can retrieve and de-encrypt data.

Another security precaution is the automatic detection and isolation of computer viruses. In the event one is discovered during the 18-point check for known viruses, the user is notified and can remove it from his own system. During the backup process, however, the virus is compressed and encrypted with the files and rendered harmless. According to Reed, “It can’t do anything else to the system or to anyone else’s data.”

The SDN Subscriber System 1000 is now available at a very low cost. This fee includes the custom SDN backup software and 60 minutes of backup time, with additional backup time available.

Subscribers are provided with 24-hour, on-line access to stored files. Upon request, SDN will deliver backup files on various forms of duplicate media, such as floppy disc, tape, optical storage, or hard disc drive.

In the future, Secure Data Network, Inc. plans on adding higher-speed modem options, such as satellite and fiber optic modems, and the capability of backing up scanned images, such as documents and engineering drawings.

This backup system not only accepts responsibility for data protection, but even establishes the frequncy of data backup.

Bedsole’s concerns have finally been taken care of—and then some.


Richard Newman is a staff writer for the Disaster Recovery Journal.

This article adapted from Vol. 3 No. 1, p.53.

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