Backup Securely with Backup Professional

While attending the RSA Conference 2002, held this October in Paris, we had the opportunity to talk with Roy Davies, Director of Corporate Affairs at Attix5. Founded in South Africa and based in the United Kingdom, Attix5 is the market leader in the development of remote, managed and secure backup and retrieval software.

Backup Professional, company’s flagship product comes in two versions – Desktop and Laptop Edition and Server Edition.

Backup Professional Desktop and Laptop Edition is a secure, automated backup system that intelligently backs up critical files to a remote or local storage server, making business data safely and securely available from any connected computer. The Server Edition provides a file based backup for corporate data stored on servers and databases. Backup Professional Server Edition also includes support for open file manager, and uses SnapShot technology to handle large data volumes transfers on initial backup and full retrieval of data.

Screenshot from Attix5’s demonstration at the RSA Conference 2002 Paris

In order to enhance the functionality of their products, Attix5 developed the WebAccess plug-in. This is a remote online tool that, in conjunction with Backup Professional, allows a user to access backed up files throlugh any web enabled device from anywhere in the world, at any time. WebAccess allows files to be downloaded, viewed, e-mailed, faxed or uploaded to an online briefcase for later retrieval.

At the conference, I saw this function from a practical point of view. Roy wanted to share some product screenshots with me, but there were some problems in making them in the demonstration room. He quickly connected to the Backup Professional powered server and used the WebAccess interface to get the screenshots from his personal backup. “As you can see, WebAccess is quite useful” – he added in a witty manner.

“Backup Professional has an agent that is downloaded or sent through an e-mail to the user’s PC by a network administrator. Network administrator has the ability to personalize the copy he or she is sending to the user. Products’s powerful configuration makes easy file extension and directory filtering, making the backup process more efficient”. – Mr. Davies said. He added – “In many cases, companies don’t want to backup files like mp3s and images – those can be directly excluded.”

Filtering capabilities of Backup Professional

As on a personalization basis, the product can be configured for every user, making the user choose the time and set the additional parameters for the automatic backup process. Attix5’s Backup Professional offers users to setup their usernames and passwords making them secure that no-one mangles with their data backup utility. Another nice feature is that the software is RSA Keon ready, offering an extra return on investment for organizations deploying RSA Security’s products.

While doing a first backup, data will be collected, compressed, encrypted and then transferred to the server. The server can be hosted on your Internet Server Provider’s computers, as well as on your own premises.

Backup Professional makes use of the SSL protocol standard for secure data transmission (1024 bit RSA key exchange, 128 bit RC5 stream cipher and SHA-1 integrity checking). Data is stored using 448-bit Blowfish encryption in CBC mode. Encryption keys are not stored with the data and globally recognized techniques are applied to ensure the integrity and security of all data protected with Backup Professional.

While asked on the process of further backups, Mr. Davies said: “Because of the automation, the next backup will compare the last backup to the current data set and extract on the binary level the changes that have occured. These changes are then compressed and encrypted and shipped to the server.”

The Backup Professional client is written in Java, and the server software for runs just on Microsoft Windows NT and 2000 operating system. The good news is Attix5 is in process of porting the server software to Linux. For testing the demonstration version of the product, visit Attix5 web site and check Product Demo section.

Roy Davies, Director of Corporate Affairs at Attix5, at the RSA Conference 2002

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