Tacit Adds Mobiliti to Shopping List

Tacit's thinking: WAFS plus laptop backup equals better security

January 20, 2006

3 Min Read
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WAFS specialist Tacit Networks Inc. is poised to buy laptop backup vendor Mobiliti Inc. for a price in the single-digit millions,” according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

The deal, set to be unveiled next week, comes at a time when IT managers are feeling the strain of securing data on laptops that can all too easily be lost or stolen. “It is a concern,” admits William Ip, CIO at Wardrop Engineering Inc., a Canadian consulting firm with 120 laptop users. “I am taking a strategic look at it.”

Wardrop already uses a WAFS product from Availl Inc., but Ip admits that there is only so much that the technology can do when it comes to security. “WAFS is intended to enhance and increase transfer of data from one place to another, it’s not backup software,” he explains.

An IT manager at an Indiana-based financial services firm, who asked not to be named, told Byte and Switch that he is also getting nervous about the data stored on his company’s laptops. “It is a pain,” he said. “As more and more users use laptops as their main platform, I think that we would need some method of synchronizing their laptop data back onto tape.”

The exec feels that, as laptop hard drives increase, users are becoming more complacent about security risks. This, he adds, makes a WAFS/backup combo increasingly attractive. “I don’t think you’re going to have a lot of instances where laptop users are going to go that extra mile" to protect their own data, he says.Analyst Tony Lock of Bloor Research Ltd. also feels that tying WAFS and backup technologies together makes sense. “It’s a logical progression,” he explains. “IT managers are looking to buy complete solutions rather than pieces of the jigsaw.

New Jersey-based Mobiliti’s flagship software is Network/Unplugged, which synchronizes files and performs backups for laptop users. The startup is also planning to launch a specialist mail synchronization software in the near future.

For its part, Tacit has been hard at work bolstering its product line over recent months, including partnerships with Softricity Inc., Packeteer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. (See Tacit, Softricity Extend Apps, Packeteer Gives Tacit Approval, Packeteer, Tacit Form Alliance, and Microsoft Gives Tacit Approval.)

Until now, Tacit’s story has revolved around sharing files between the data center and the remote office, although the vendor now appears to be adding vulnerable mobile devices to this equation.

This makes sense. According to Lock, “Laptop backup is an area that is generating more and more interest, seemingly because organizations have woken up to the fact that use of laptops is growing.”Lock also feels that users are under pressure from a slew of regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley. (See Users Splash Cash on SOX, Compliance Takes IT Bite, and NY Data Law Takes Effect.) “One of the main ways to ensure compliance on laptops is through backups,” he says.

But the analyst warns that, even after acquiring Mobiliti, Tacit could still have its work cut out. “It means that they will come into competition with some very large and established backup organizations,” he says, including the likes of Veritas Software Corp., EMC Legato, and IBM Tivoli. “That means that they are going to have to work at creating awareness in the new space.”

Tacit declined to provide comment for this story.

— James Rogers and Dave Raffo, Senior Editors, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Availl Inc.

  • Bloor Research Ltd.

  • IBM Tivoli

  • EMC Legato

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Mobiliti Inc.

  • Packeteer Inc. (Nasdaq: PKTR)

  • Softricity Inc.

  • Tacit Networks Inc.

  • Veritas Software Corp.0

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