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Security

Symantec wants to secure your memories

Company chief technology officer says it's looking into a service that would automatically back up your photos, other important files.

SYDNEY, Australia--Symantec is looking to use technologies acquired from Veritas Software to provide an Internet-based service through which consumers can automatically back up and remotely access important files such as digital photographs.

At a conference here Monday, Symantec's chief technology officer, Mark Bregman, said the security giant is looking at how it would be able to combine the technologies gained from its merger with Veritas to provide new services for consumers, small businesses and large enterprises.

Bregman
Mark Bregman
CTO, Symantec

According to Bregman, much of the information stored on consumer PCs is unimportant or can be retrieved from other sources, but the driver behind online backup systems is ensuring that in case of disaster, consumers do not lose valued items such as digital photographs.

"People are suddenly realizing that they have their whole family history and family photo albums on their PC and nowhere else. If they lose them, they can never get them back--they can't go and take the pictures again because the kids have already grown up," Bregman said.

Bregman agreed that a large number of companies are already offering free online photo albums and backup services, but he said the nature of the free services means that the availability of the photos and other files is not guaranteed.

"They don't have any contractual obligations or even the technological capability to assure you that (the files) will continue to be there. So someday, they may not be there, and you will say, 'My god, what happened?', and they will say, 'We never said we would keep them forever'," Bregman said.

The other issue, according to Bregman, is that these sites require the user to "do something," such as manually upload the pictures to the Web site. The kind of service he said Symantec is looking at would automatically upload pictures from a PC and guarantee their future.

"We are talking about how to create a system where, by the nature of my having put (the files) on my machine, they are protected," Bregman said.

Munir Kotadia of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.