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Symantec Adds Crypto to Backup

Symantec today unveiled backup encryption software that it claims will keep IT managers and CIOs out of the storage snafu hall of shame. (See Symantec Expands Data Encryption.)

The vendor is touting its clumsily titled Veritas NetBackup Media Server Encryption Option (MSEO) as a way for firms to encrypt backup data before they shift it off to tape. In doing so, Symantec joins the growing list of vendors looking to tap into users' growing tape paranoia. (See On the Brink of Storage Disaster, Security Smorgasbord on Show and CA Faces Backup Flaw.)

Lost tapes are now almost as much of an IT security clich as lost laptops thanks to a string of high-profile incidents involving the likes of Time Warner, Los Alamos National Lab and NASA. (See Tape Security Trips Up Users, Can't Quite Kick the Tape Habit, Los Alamos Fallout Continues, NASA Goes to the Dark Side, and Search Results Get Safer: AOL Edges Google.)

Although Symantec describes the software as running on a media server, the vendor is not referring to video and broadcast products from vendors like AVID and Ciprico. (See Storage Grabs Video Limelight, AVID Intros Open Storage, and Ciprico Unveils Enhancements.) Rather, Symantec means a traditional server which backs up data from client devices such as desktops, laptops, and other servers. This, in turn is connected to a tape library or tape drive where the data is stored.

The idea behind today's announcement is that users can encrypt data on the server rather than on the client device, which is the approach taken by IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager. Symantec told Byte and Switch that doing the encryption on the backup server is more efficient than on the client because the server typically has extra CPU cycles, which frees the client up for other operations.

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