Hunts accountants invest in data vault

A HUNTINGDONSHIRE accountancy company has become one of the first in the country to store vital confidential data in an off-site digital vault , according to the Bourn-based firm that manages it. The advantage of storing data remotely is that they can be

A HUNTINGDONSHIRE accountancy company has become one of the first in the country to store vital confidential data in an off-site 'digital vault', according to the Bourn-based firm that manages it.

The advantage of storing data remotely is that they can be retrieved intact if catastrophe strikes in-house, such as a fire or server-crash.

Linda Jeffrey, of RJ McMorran, an accountancy company with offices in Godmanchester and St Neots and a local, national and international client base, explained: "We are often called upon to produce records at short notice. This solution enables any of the companies in our group to archive critical data and access it quickly."

The IT services company behind the IBM-based data vault being used by McMorran, is Fluid ICT, which says the service is particularly beneficial for small to medium-sized enterprises that need support for file retrieval.


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David Jaggard, co-founder of Fluid, said the IBM solution - IBM Information Protection Services - was cost-effective for knowledge-based companies regardless of their size, especially those that operate from many offices and have a mobile workforce.

"We are often called in to help companies that have had some type of data scare, and that is not just disaster recovery. Regulations are getting tighter, and auditors often request access to compliance data that is archived. Retrieving these data, particularly individual files, can be problematic.

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"Employees also have the right to view their personal records and this may include information stored in e-mails. So back-up of mail servers is crucial.

"We have been looking for a solution that is secure, allows support for multiple sites, doesn't tie up bandwidth when it is backing up, and provides rapid restore of complete data sets or retrieval of specific files. The IBM solution provides all of this."

He added: "A key feature of this solution is that it is international. High-growth companies often have Far East operations and not many data back-up services can adequately support them."

The initial back-up is achieved by copying data locally for transfer to the data centre. This kick-starts the process, after which data are backed-up incrementally. Data can include the exchange server for e-mails, applications and databases.

Retrieval can be done as a total restore to get an organisation back to business quickly after a disaster, or as a self-restore of particular files using a web interface.

"Many companies are still using tape back-ups," explained Mr Jaggard. "Although this is a good solution in experienced hands it needs considerable investment in hardware and a tightly controlled procedure. In the long term the data explosion is going to make this technology obsolete and a 'digital vault' provides a more secure and scalable solution."

INFORMATION: Fluid is at Bourn Hall, Bourn CB23 3TR; telephone 0800 230 0233; fax 0845 31 32 117; www.fluidict.co.uk

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