In Case of Emergency: Backup and Remote Delete with DiskAgent

Protecting data against loss should be a top priority for every business. Hardware failures, disasters and theft are very real threats and being prepared ahead of time is really the only way to protect your digital assets. We often remind readers about the importance of continually backing up data, but it’s also important to know what to do if your data gets stolen along with a mobile device or computer.
DiskAgent.JPGDiskAgent from Spearstone provides a combination of features in one service – continuous backup like Mozy and Carbonite, plus remote data wiping and theft recovery assistance like Computrace or Iron Mountain. We asked Spearstone CEO Hayden Hartland to tell us more about how it works.
There are so many data recovery and backup solutions on the marketing, including from Symantec, long time leader in this space, what makes one product different from the other?

  • DiskAgent sees remote delete and backup as two sides of the same coin. Making reliance on digital information safe for small and medium businesses requires protecting against both data loss *and* cases of loss or theft, where your digital information ends up in unintended hands.
  • With people storing email and contacts on phones, DiskAgent regards protection of mobile phones as a crucial accompaniment to computer data protection.
  • Where other backups are scheduled, DiskAgent backs up files continuously (whenever a user saves a file), meaning a user could never lose more than a few minutes’ work.
  • DiskAgent is optimized for organizational deployments and supports centralized management of backup and retention policies.
  • DiskAgent is tailored for channel sales. Solution providers can deploy it under their own brand to win new business and secure customer loyalty.
  • DiskAgent backs all data up to two remote locations to ensure recoverability

From a macro market perspective the major differences between products in the market are: Distribution methods, features/technology, pricing, and ease of use.

What about mobile users who are often not connected to the network – how can they be protected?
Our next release [Q1 ’09] will provide offline support and file caching until the user reconnect. Later this year we plan to support backing up files to a user specified location – which could include a local hard drive, SAN, or NAS.
Why do studies show that many smaller business still do not back up their data, although the word is out and has been out for years that they should do it?
Small businesses have been slow to adopt because available solutions have failed to deliver the economies of scale large enterprises enjoy. Small businesses are overwhelmed with things they “should” do, but that are two difficult or time consuming to implement. Small businesses adopt DiskAgent because of its ease of use, economical pricing, and because the trusted solutions providers they already work with offer it.

Is there a difference in protecting 1 or 3 computers versus a network of 50 computers?

In many cases there is a big difference but we have worked hard to reduce the administrative overhead for larger organizations while empowering them to control costs. Other considerations when managing a larger number of nodes are:

  1. Ensuring bandwidth is not constrained by multiple backups running at once
  2. Constraining what is or is not backed up by each user through central policies
  3. Server support
  4. Volume pricing
  5. Flexible user privilege levels

How does the seek and destroy feature work?
Remote Delete has re two modes:
Signaled – User instructs the DiskAgent server to initiate a remote delete. Remote delete signal is delivered the next time the lost or stolen computer is online.
Fail Safe Mode – The user preconfigures DiskAgent to execute the remote delete sequence if DiskAgent cannot recognize the user, and the user cannot authenticate to either a local or remote DiskAgent service.
As for seeking a lost or stolen computer, users can remotely request that the DiskAgent post information on its internet address and other forensic data to DiskAgent support personnel, who work with ISPs and local law enforcement to recover a stolen machine.