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McAfee Takes Backup To The Cloud

McAfee, Inc. has announced the availability of McAfee Online Backup, a new secure online service for consumers that stores and encrypts digital assets such as photos, videos, music, e-mails and other files. U.S. consumers can try McAfee Online Backup today through a free 30-day unlimited upload trial, or purchase an annual subscription for $59.99 online. The service is expected to be available internationally in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The McAfee Online Backup service offers consumers a number of features designed to make it possible for customers to backup their complete data sets to the cloud. The features include unlimited file storage, easy retrieval of backed-up files, and minimal setup requirements. According to David Jackson, McAfee Online Backup product marketing manager, setup has few steps beyond downloading basic software. "The files are pre-selected for you for backing up. All your photos and files and any kind of document is backed up to the remote server." In addition to the pre-selected file types, users can select any files they'd like for backup.

After the initial full backup, all files are backed up on a incremental change basis, with version-control implemented as part of the backup routine. Jackson says that the incremental change strategy is intended to reduce both bandwidth requirements and the time required to perform on-going backups.

While the McAfee Online Backup service is being marketed as a consumer service, Dave Klenske, director of worldwide product marketing for McAfee, acknowledges that the company believes that small business will also make significant use of the service. "Many of our customers are very small businesses, and this product is very appropriate for their use, just as our security software can be used on a small business PC," he says. Discussing possible use scenarios, Klenske says, "It's really ideal for the traveling user. A notebook or laptop can easily be damaged, and now it can easily be backed up from an Internet kiosk, a hotel room, or a friend's house."

Though there are no explicit restrictions preventing larger companies from using the service, two factors make it more suited to smaller firms, consultants and sole proprietorships. The first is the speed of backups, limited as they are by the Internet connection available to the site. The second is that the service is licensed to a single computer rather than to an organization or network, so the cost can climb rapidly for organizations looking to backup many different systems.

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