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MCI offers backup systems on the Net

MCI has joined the ranks of companies offering low-cost, online backup systems.

MCI Telecommunications announced today that it has joined the burgeoning ranks of companies offering low-cost, online backup and recovery systems.

MCI's new networkMCI Backup service compresses and encrypts data, which it then stores on MCI servers. Company officials say the cost will depend on the amount of data the customer backs up, but $12.95 a month will allow the user to store 50MB of data.

McAfee, Surefind, and Connected made similar announcements last week, each hoping to lead a market that research firm Strategic Research predicts will grow from a $10 million market to $200 million over the next three years.

McAfee's offering, called Personal Vault, allows desktop users to back up 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 States 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 back up 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 testing, the subscription-based service is expected to be available to Windows users in June at $14.95 per month. A Macintosh version is expected to be available in August.