Compliance raises its ugly head - solution two needed
Failure to comply with regulations is the spectre that seems to lurk everywhere these days. Laptops frequently get stolen (or just left somewhere). Even more serious than no hardware recovery being possible is that, in this case, all the laptop's sensitive information could quickly move into the public domain.
Apart from this perhaps revealing sensitive competitive information, there could be major legal penalties for information going AWOL. For instance, the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act says that backing-up data is not enough protection (as this demonstrates), while the Data Protection Act's penalties on an organisation can be steep if, for example, client records "escape" into the public domain - leading to potentially huge fines.
CMS has another solution, ABS-Secure, to address this issue. In this case the SATA drives come factory-preloaded with CMS CE-Secure 256-bit AES encryption. Importantly, the information on the laptop is pre-encrypted before data is copied to it or any backup is done, and the contents of ABS-Secure always remain encrypted from then on. So someone subsequently trying to access the laptop is confronted with a GUI requiring an entry of a pass-phrase of up to 64 characters; likewise, if accessing the encrypted backup unit. So whether the laptop or the portable drive is stolen, a thief will not be able to make sense of the information itself.
Central control concerns and the backup push
One other small feature is worth mentioning since it tackles a problem common to most of us; namely, that we tend to neglect taking regular system backups. The BounceBack software includes a user-defined parameter of elapsed time since last backup after which it will keep reminding the user that a backup is overdue. Say this is set to three days. The message automatically appears if the user has not carried out a backup for three days; then, all the user has to do to make the message go away - until the next time - is to connect the backup unit and let it do a backup. This simplicity means that companies who have a large number of ABS users have discovered almost all of them happily keeping to good backup schedules. (This parameter can, by option, be set and controlled centrally for the whole enterprise).
Finally, I will mention here an unpublished bonus. A restore with this approach is effectively a reinstall for the operating system and files. Users often experience Windows desktops getting steadily slower over time with things like the registry getting clogged up so, for instance, a Bloor colleague has told me he re-installs Windows on his own desktop every six months so as to bring the speed back up; others recommend even shorter periods. The idea of avoiding this fiddly process and instead triggering an automatic restore from the ABS device appeals to me. (I hasten to add that I have not compared the two methods of reinstalling to see how the speed improvement compares.)
Partly because the device is so simple to use, it is easy to think of this as a consumer product rather than built primarily for the enterprise. This is not the case. The biggest benefit comes through its automated approach assisting workforce productivity and reducing the risks from corporate data loss.
CMS's BounceBack Enterprise solution is a recent addition. This adds the ability to monitor and control client device backups centrally and can save critical data to a central storage device in addition to the ABS unit, and so, for instance, can be used as part of a coordinated enterprise backup and DR plan. The success of the product is because it fills a need, making it simple to use. However, do not underestimate the behind-the-scenes complexity of the BounceBack software - and it is that which makes ABS unique at present.
Note: CMS ABS unit capacity is up to 250GB for laptops or 1TB for desktops. BounceBack supports Mac, Windows 2000, XP and VISTA versions.
Copyright © 2007, IT-Analysis.com
What is this garbage? This is nothing but an unpaid advertisement dressed up as a bogus press release by a so-called "research" organisation that simply takes money from vendors to puff their products. Why the hell are you letting these assholes have completely free pages to print their PR material verbatim and pretending it's an El Reg story?
Oh, plus it reads like a really dull schoolboy essay. Vague wording, unclear concepts - what does the author think he's talking about in the first couple of paragraphs, where he seems to claim that a backup is no good if the machine it was taken from gets broken? You shove the pen drive in any old machine and restore your backed up files. He's stretching a point way beyond any kind of sense and making bogus comparisons. His backup isn't any more use on a computer with a dead drive than any other kind of backup, and the fact that you can plug his backup into a *new* machine and recover it there is exactly the same on his supposed counter-example of a pen drive. WTF? This is just nonsense, lies and misrepresentation. As other commenters have said, there is nothing the least bit new or unique in any of this, but because the author has been paid to reach a predestined conclusion, he has to twist and misrepresent the facts to support his so-called argument.
Did nobody read over this article before publishing it? This isn't the first time you've been caught out by your syndication. Please tell us you won't print any more of this crap from it-analysis.com or Bloor research except in the form of paid advertising.
The simple way to provide backups is...
to install the standard software environment on the system and make an image of it and burn it to bootable dvd's that could restore the base system and the standard software environment. All business data should go onto external backup media, that is system independent. A good example is an usb flash drive. Mixing business data with software results in need to fish out of this data in case the new hardware needs an os reinstall.
For protection against lost hardware, it's better to encrypt the whole disk. This way the disk partitions can be imaged and written to recovery dvds but without exposing any data. Also business data should go to protected usb drives or other portable media.
To have a completly failsafe backup method, there should be an identical backup computer ready for use in case the first one fails. If this is too expensive, the previously mentioned virtual machine based solution could work. (running a company standard virtual windows setup on a machine with preinstalled windows bought in the nearest computer shop can save the day, because it has an almost zero setup and configuration time)
I can see it now...
..your average salesperson would keep the backup drive in the same bag/car as the laptop so when it gets nicked your backup is lost aswell...
The article clearly underestimates the stupidity of end users!