• United States

New back-up options for hurricane season

Sep 16, 20043 mins

* EVault and Phoenix Technologies target SMBs

Small businesses can enjoy one benefit from all the wooing by enterprise vendors: Some are actually doing a good job tailoring their mature (and fairly bug free) products to fit SMBs.

I know some of you would rather floss than back up, but your back-up options are improving. Good tools need to make files easy to back up, restore and move offsite, and between them, EVault and Phoenix Technologies provide complimentary systems. EVault offers easy offsite backup; Phoenix easy recovery from virus-ravaged personal systems.

EVault’s new desktop service, starting at $17 per month, suits users with 1-2G-bytes of desktop-stored data. Customers use EVault software to manage the process of storing their data online at EVault in an encrypted format. The first time takes a while to upload everything, but subsequent backups send only changed files so are much quicker.

It takes about 13 minutes to get the software installed, configured and started. The desktop product is streamlined for easy installation, including fewer choices than EVault’s other products (such as having only one encryption option), the company says. I’ll start testing the service soon and report back.

Handling open files, especially pesky ones like Microsoft’s e-mail client files, (which grow huge and always remain open), is a problem for all back-up systems. EVault bypasses Microsoft’s own Shadow Copy process, using its own method to temporarily copy open files, check each disk block compared to the one in storage, and copy only the changed blocks.

EVault serves customers directly and through affinity groups like associations of security dealers and credit union groups. President and CEO Phil Gilmour says he began focusing on SMBs because he once worked for a firm that was thwarted by back-up tapes so messed up they wouldn’t work. And if a hurricane blows away your PC, it will probably blow away the back-up tapes beside your PC, making offsite data storage critical for your disaster recovery plans.

A company mostly out of the public eye is Phoenix Technologies, the world’s leading maker of  Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) software for PCs. Its new Recover Pro 2004 ($40 per user) controls PCs before they boot to make a back-up program that saves an exact replica of your PC files and configuration so you can recover after a virus attack.

Rather than save data files offsite like EVault, Phoenix carves a separate partition for itself on your hard disk for storing them. Other products do this too, but Recover Pro 2004 adds virus protection of copied files, and the ability to reclaim your PC even after Windows is hosed so badly it refuses to boot up.

Those of you with the Dell Recover product have an early version of this. Phoenix’s Recover Pro 2004 takes the “hide your backup on your own hard disk” systems to the next level. You can recover your files and settings even if you don’t have a boot CD. Phoenix provides a hot key to bypass the normal disk boot section to start from your saved partition and recover cleanly.