Just as every living room once had video recorder then there was a time when every small business used tapes to back up precious data.

Well the days of backing up to tape in an autoloader or small library look increasingly numbered as technology advances and costs of disc storage drop.

A sign of the changing times is the deal between Imation and BDT, a white-box manufacturer of tape autoloaders and libraries, devices with up to four tape drives and 96 slots for cartridges.

Imation is well aware that tape media is on the decline because reading and writing is slow, compared to disk, and the costs of long-term storage on disk are going down due to increased hard drive capacity and deduplication.

However, tape is still the long term low-cost storage king for bulk data, petabytes of the stuff, but increasingly disk is the preferred choice for smaller amounts of data.

Back to my story. Now get this: Imation has a deal with ProStor, makers of RDX removable disk drive technology. They will produce a new 2.5-inch drive cartridges, offering 1TB of storage, and docks into which the drive cartridges are loaded.

What’s the difference between a tape automation device and an RDX one? Well with the latter you don’t need a robot mechanism to move cartridges to drives, as each RDX cartridge contains a drive. Still with me?

What does all this mean? Well in short, we expect to start seeing the fruits of this new regime arrive early next year. When it happens the world of tape will take another doddery step towards the Antiques Roadshow.

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There are many reasons to use online backup. The simple fact is that your computer could get invaded or destroyed in minutes and it can happen completely and suddenly as well. The fact is that more and more people are falling victim to this type of occurrence every day. What happens is that it leaves you without all that you know and need and leaves you without any way of fixing it. Online backup is the perfect solution though because it allows you the ability to save whatever it is that you need to without thought or worry about anything happening to it.

Online backup should be thought of as a file cabinet for all of your important information. By using online databases to store this information, you are safeguarding it from anything that may happen to your computer’s hard drive or memory. You can store just about any type of information that you need to and it is completely and utterly safe. Most information that is saved in this manner is safeguarded from other people as well. You can make sure of this by not providing your personal information nor your username and password to retrieve it.

Why do you need online backup? Well, there are many reasons. And, there are many things that you can store in there. For example, you may find that there are business clients as well as a number of corporations that store their information on their computers. In these cases, a crash can be awful. In the case of a personal ecommerce entrepreneur, import contact information for clients as well the product lists and availabilities are all necessary and yet too can fall victim to a crash if they are stored on the computer. Online backup systems can help avoid all of this information loss we well as much more.

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Patches are software add-ons designed to fix software bugs, including security, in operating systems or applications

Patching against new security vulnerabilities is critical to protect against malware. Many high-profile threats take advantage of security vulnerabilities, such as Conficker. If your patches are not applied or not up-to date, you risk leaving your computer open to hackers.

Many software suppliers routinely release new patches, with Microsoft issuing on the second Tuesday of every month (“Patch Tuesday”), and Adobe issuing quarterly updates to Adobe Reader and Acrobat on the second Tuesday after a quarter begins.

To stay abreast of the latest vulnerabilities and patches, subscribe to vulnerability mailing lists. Most reputable vendors offer such a service. For example Microsoft Security information is available at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/dd252948.aspx

Microsoft Windows home users can visit http://update.microsoft.com/ to check their computers for available updates. Apple OS X users can click the Apple logo in the upper=left corner of their desktop and select Software Updates.

Organisations should ensure that all computers connecting to their network abide by a defined security policy that includes having the latest security patches in place.

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Data Theft is the deliberate theft of information, rather than its accidental loss.

Data theft can take place both inside an organisation (e.g. by a disgruntled employee) or by criminals outside the organisation.

In one example, hackers broke into a Virginia government website, stealing the details of almost 3 million patients, and threatened to auction them to the highest bidder. In another, a former Goldman Sachs employee uploaded the companies’ secret source code to an FTP server in Germany.

Criminals often use malware to access a computer and steal data. A common approach is to use a Trojan to install key-logging software that tracks everything the user types, including usernames and passwords, before using this information to access the user’s bank account.

Data theft also occurs when devices containing data, such as laptops or USB drives are stolen.

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Data Loss is the result of the accidental misplacement of data rather than its deliberate theft.

Data Loss frequently occurs through the loss of a device containing data such as a laptop, CD-ROM, mobile phone or USB disk. When these are lost, the data is at risk of falling into the wrong hands unless an effective data security technique is used.

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Data Leakage is the unauthorised movement of information, usually outside an organization. It can be deliberate (data theft) or accidental (data loss).

Data leakage prevention is a top concern for organisations, with scandals frequently dominating the headlines. Many corporate and government organisations have failed to protect their confidential information, including identities of their workforce, their customers and the general public.

Users routinely use and share data without giving sufficient thought to confidentiality and regulatory requirements.

A variety of techniques can e used to prevent data leakage. These include ant-virus software, encryption, firewalls, access control, written policies and improved employee training.

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The UK’s National Health Service has been hit by a voracious, data-stealing worm that’s easily detected by off-the-shelf security software, according to researchers who directly observed the mass compromise.

Researchers from anti-virus provider Symantec have been monitoring the Qakbot worm since last May and have documented its behavior here and here. On Thursday, after infiltrating two of the six servers used to collect pilfered data from infected machines, they provided an update that didn’t exactly instill confidence in the healthcare system.

“The logs show that there is a significant Qakbot infection on the National Health Service (NHS) network in the UK,” the Symantec update states. “This threat has managed to infect over 1,100 separate computers that are spread across multiple subnets within the NHS. We have attempted to contact the affected parties and have no evidence to show that any customer or patient data has been stolen.”

Not that Qakbot doesn’t have the ability to clean out the NHS if it wanted to. Over a two week period, the researchers observed 4 GB of stolen data being funneled to the monitored servers. Because that represents a fraction of the servers used by Qakbot, the amount of pilfered information is likely much higher.

Qakbot spreads through webpages that install malware by exploiting patched vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s QuickTime software. It is able to self-propagate on local networks through file shares. It “moves slowly and with caution, trying not to bring attention to its presence,” according to the update.

The malware scours an infected machine’s hard drive for internet search histories, banking and payment card information and logon credentials for some dozen websites and then uploads them to one of the six servers. It also records the contents of data stored by a browser’s autocomplete feature.

“In a nutshell, if your computer is compromised, every bit of information you type into your browser will be stolen,” Symantec researchers wrote.

While Qakbot primarily targets home users, plenty of corporate and government machines are infected as well. In addition to the NHS, other government computers that are compromised are located in Brazil. The threat is easily detected by Symantec’s anti-virus product, and presumably software from plenty of other companies as well.

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All user accounts are protected by passwords. Besides, data will be compressed and 256-bit encrypted with an encryption key selected by the user on the client-side before being uploaded and stored on the backup server. The key will never be uploaded to the backup server during backup. Moreover, uploading of backup data can be done through secure SSL channel. This whole mechanism provides exceptional security to the backed up data

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Vanish Vista Support

Vanish Vista Support

Like the Betamax and the Sinclair C5 before it, Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system has finally bitten the dust today.

The company – as per its February announcement — has given Vista an early bath just 4 years after it was launched in a blaze of glory. (Well actually it turned out to be a hail of bullets, but that’s a whole other blog).

What’s happening today is that the Microsoft is no longer offering service pack-free version of Vista.

What that means is that the operating system is left entirely at the mercy of hackers who might wish to exploit the now unsupported code. You may want to discuss with your IT people what that could mean but basically if you’re a Vista user you should ignore this news at your peril.

On the company’s SMB community blog Microsoft’s Eric Ligman explained: “In the event that you encounter an issue/outage in your environment on an unsupported product, our engineers may not be able to help resolve this until you have upgraded to a supported level.”

So what are your options? Well at the very minimum you are being advised to install Vista Service Pack 2 but Microsoft would be very happy to help you upgrade to Windows 7.

Here at Replicate Data we are thinking of having a little retirement party for Vista. Any ideas what we should buy it?

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We all love the latest phone app, go gaga at the possibilities for social media marketing but have you ever tried getting people excited about IT security? It is always a tough task. It’s not sexy. It’s the equivalent of making sure the windows are shut before you lock up.

And maybe that’s why too many businesses still leave so much to chance. Well now there are 500,000 reasons to start taking security issues a little more seriously.

£500,000 fine for lost data

Companies can now by fined up to £500,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act under new powers granted to The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) by the Government.

The change has been made as more and more incidents come to light where organisations have been careless about properly securing the personal data of individuals — that can be information about your staff or your customers.

What this radical step indicates is that the Government has finally woken up to how damaging these security breeches could be for the individuals who have their data compromised.

For those businesses with lax procedures and scant regard for the information they carry about people this change in the law may the wake-up call they need to get things done more securely.

A hefty fine won’t simply hit them in the bank balance but will bring unwelcome publicity and make customers question whether they should stay loyal. I can even see some top executives ending up in the Job Centre if they foul up.

But, human nature being what it is, I don’t anticipate this change having a positive effect until we see some businesses actually being brought before the courts.

This whole situation is crazy. IT systems are in place to make businesses run smoother and, for a great many firms, their data is their business. So wouldn’t you think that making sure that data is not compromised or breeched would be a priority.

You wouldn’t dream of leaving the office door unlocked and the windows wide open when you leave at night but, if your IT security is ropey, you may as well do.

Small businesses and corporate giants alike need to make IT security a priority — there’s now 500,000 more reasons for them to do so.

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