SBA using Web for backup, recovery

As part of an agencywide desktop client and network upgrade, the Small Business Administration has moved its data backup and recovery operations to the Web. SBA hired Iron Mountain Inc. of Boston for electronic data-vaulting services using software from LiveVault Corp. of Marlborough, Mass.

The one-year contract with Iron Mountain will cost SBA $30 to $50 per gigabyte of data stored. SBA stores about 200G, said Sherry Hill, the SBA project manager.

'The main force behind this was to reduce the risk of the staff not being able to do its job,' said Larry Barrett, the agency's CIO. 'We always had procedures in place to do backup and recovery, but it was manual and dependent usually on one person. We wanted to explore ways to automate to give us greater security and store the data offsite.'

SBA can instruct the LiveVault system via the Web to back up a network file automatically whenever a change occurs. All files reside in a secured environment at Iron Mountain's offices.

'The original document and every byte-level change are saved,' Hill said. 'We also can tailor our requirements to tell the system how often to back up certain files, such as at every change or every few hours or once a week.'

The agency had been relying on its 90 offices around the country to do nightly backups to digital audio tape, Barrett said.

Now information managers will not have to worry about the nightly backups and can spend more time on training and system maintenance, Hill said.

SBA tested the Web backup system for a few days before awarding the contract, she said, and in an early stage of the test, an SBA official lost a critical document. An SBA IT worker retrieved the backed-up version from Iron Mountain, she said.

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