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Online Backup Moves Out of the Data Center

Traditionally, backup systems focused on making copies of information stored on central servers. With the growing acceptance of mobility (wireless connections, laptops, cellphones), information is no longer always stored centrally, and that change has made the challenge of properly securing information more difficult for IT managers.

"Addressing mobility issues will be the online backup industry's biggest challenge during the next few years," said Dan Phillips, vice president for channels at Asigra Inc.

Users represent a large part of that challenge. "If a company gives users the responsibility of backing up data, chances are they won't do it consistently or correctly," said Dave Robinson, vice president of marketing at Mozy, the online backup service that's part of Decho, a newly created unit of EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC).

Problems arise for a couple of reasons. Employees are busy; in fact, many feel overwhelmed before they even turn on their PCs. Consequently, they focus on those tasks that are most relevant to their daily chores, and backup finds itself well down their priority lists. Also, many lack the expertise necessary to understand what needs to be backed up and how to do it properly.

One's company's limitation often translates into another firm's opportunity. A number of service providers such as Asigra, Carbonite Inc. , Data Deposit Box , EMC (which bought Mozy), Intronis LLC , Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM), NovaStor Corp. , Pro Softnet Corp., Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), and SwapDrive Inc. have developed a wide variety of online backup services for end user devices.

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