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Backup services to keep files safe

Three companies announced online backup services to meet growing demand

Growing demand for Internet-based solutions to common computer-related problems fueled the announcement of online backup services from three companies today.

McAfee, Surefind, and Connected all announced online data backup and recovery services, hoping to lead a market that Santa Barbara, California-based research firm Strategic Research predicts will grow from a $10 million market to a $200 million market over the next three years.

McAfee's offering, called Personal Vault, is an electronic vaulting service that allows desktop users to backup and restore personal data files over the Web using McAfee's WebStor software. The tapeless backup service is now available for $10 per month; WebStor, which supports Windows 95 and NT, costs about $50.

Surefind is extending its online data backup service, previously available only in the United Stats and Canada, to the international market. The Surefind system, which operates via CompuServe or Surefind's own network, allows users to set a schedule so that files are backed up automatically.

Data is encrypted and password-protected before transmission via the modem and is available for recovery at any time. The Surefind software can be purchased for $19.95, a charge that includes the first month's service; the monthly rate thereafter is $9.95.

Connected says its DataSafe service is unique because it backs up only the changes that have been made to the files since the last updating, a faster solution than backing up the entire system. The customer can choose to backup files either over Connected's private dial-up network or via the Internet.

Data encryption and passwords are also part of the DataSafe process. Currently in beta test, the subscription-based service is expected to be available to Windows users in June at a cost of $14.95 per month. A Macintosh version is expected to be available in August.

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