BakBone Software (TSX: BKB; PK: BKBO), a global provider of data protection software, is addressing customer demand for robust, automated and easy-to-manage security solutions with the introduction of advanced backup encryption software.

BakBone's NetVault Encryption Application Plug-in Module (APM) enables customers to simply add easy-to-use encryption functionality to their existing backup and recovery operations as a first line of defence in securing mission-critical data. The encryption software plug-in does not require additional hardware and integrates seamlessly into different networked storage topologies, significantly reducing the costs and complexities associated with traditional data security appliances. In addition, BakBone's offering encrypts data at its source (e.g., database, file server or desktop), which reduces a significant vulnerability for networked storage. The product also adheres to the highest standard for encryption, using the CAST 128 encryption algorithm for extra protection.

Too often, security policies and procedures fail to take storage and backups into account, despite the fact that increasing amounts of corporate data now resides on networked storage, mostly in network-attached storage (NAS) and storage-area network (SAN) environments. According to International Data Corp. (IDC), 80 percent of enterprise storage will be networked by 2008. This continuing shift toward networked storage accentuates the need for robust, automated and easy-to-manage security solutions that can protect all types of storage-especially backups that are then transported and stored offsite.

"Data encryption is quickly becoming more important for companies seeking to conduct and maintain completely secure backups of their networked storage," said Bharat Kumar, vice president of marketing, BakBone Software. "Providing customers choice continues to be a central value proposition for BakBone. We're pleased to offer an encryption solution that enables security-conscious companies to embrace the notion of encrypting data backups for lowering risks and bolstering business continuity strategies."

According to Charlie Fulks, CEO of Credit Union Data Processing (CUDP), a company that provides core data processing systems and services to the credit-union industry, preserving personal financial data is a top corporate priority. "Security is a huge area of focus for us as a trusted data solution provider to credit unions," he said. "We wanted to guarantee that no personal data for any of our credit union members would be vulnerable in the event that a backup tape were lost or stolen. We've gone to great lengths to make our VPN bullet-proof and ensure that data is encrypted before it traverses the network. We've recently begun encrypting all of our backups to add yet another layer of security while reducing risks even further."

Traditionally, fears that CPU-intensive encryption would bring network performance to a crawl has caused some IT decision makers to hesitate before deploying an encryption solution. For that reason, some organisations forgo software-based solutions in favour of data security appliances that alleviate performance concerns by conducting the encryption in the middle of the data path with little to no discernible degradation to network or client/server performance. Still, these full-featured devices can be prohibitively expensive since typically they are deployed in pairs for redundancy, as well as too complex and administrator-intensive for IT-constrained shops to manage.

"While security is an all-encompassing initiative for us, price, ease of use and heterogeneous support were heavily considered when we evaluated encryption solutions," says Kevin Kasner, IS supervisor for Sweetwater Authority, a publicly owned water agency that provides water service to approximately 177,000 residents near San Diego. "We wanted to have the flexibility to encrypt content that resided on our Novell, Microsoft and AIX platforms. We were looking for a fairly sophisticated solution without losing our ability to restore vital data fast."

Encryption is not a common feature in most backup and recovery solutions, forcing many organisations to settle for a "world readable" tape backup. Some solutions also are restricted to file-level encryption. In contrast, BakBone's Encryption APM for NetVault is application agnostic and seamlessly encrypts files, databases and applications. Client-level encryption ensures that data is protected as it travels across the network to the backup server. With flexible configuration options, customers can also be selective in choosing to encrypt all data, or get more granular in determining which information should be encrypted.

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