Symantec Creates SAAS Backup Service for SMBs

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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Partners will take the lead in the storage and security vendor's latest attempt to pick up SMB customers.

Security and storage vendor Symantec will deliver a selection of its portfolio as software as a service in an effort to reach more small and midsize businesses, and the channel will take the lead, said the company and its partners.

Channel partners will be able to resell the SAAS offering—called Symantec Protection Network—and add additional value to what Symantec provides, said Jeff Hausman, senior director of product management.

A public beta of the first component of the SPN, an online backup and recovery service, will be offered beginning April 17. Pricing and discounts have not yet been set for the service, but Symantec has structured the program so that channel partners will be able to resell the offering as a component of their own security offerings.

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"We've been told this will be a partner-driven solution set," said Jonathan Dambrot, one of the managing directors of Prevalent Networks, an information security consulting practice based in Warren, N.J. "We will be able to take their solution and configure it for customers. It doesn't just turn on and work."

Pricing will be important to the success of the offering in the SMB space, Dambrot added, and he said he believes that some customer companies will choose a hybrid model of both software and service rather than the full SAAS option.

But overall, Dambrot said, the strength of the Symantec brand together with the company's existing infrastructure will give Symantec a boost over competitors in marketing and running the service.

Symantec's Hausman said the company plans to offer the backup service, expected to be generally available this summer, for a monthly subscription fee that will cover maintenance and support.

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Through the services, customers will be able to get an initial backup of the systems they deem to be important. Such a backup can take place on either an encrypted online connection sent via SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or be physically transported on a disk. After that, the service records the data every time a relevant file is closed, providing an up-to-the-minute backup of customer-selected data.

"If you need to go back to a version from yesterday or from a week ago you can do that," Hausman said. Customers decide how much data to store and how far back they want it to go. The data is secured with an encryption passphrase known only to the customer.

The backup service offers customers access to the Symantec network of mirrored data centers, on a pay-as-you-consume model, and the most recent backup software updates. For Channel Insider stories:

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The SAAS backup and recovery offering could fill a hole that many SMBs have in their backup and recovery plans.

"While many companies have considered how to back up their systems, not as many have considered the disaster recovery components they should consider, such as, 'What if I can't get into my building?'" Dambrot said. "Recovery is one of the areas that people don't really think about."

Not all backups are created alike. If a customer has a week-old backup on the same site where the main systems are located, recovery could be tricky. Symantec brings to the table an existing backup infrastructure that competitors will find hard to match, Dambrot said.

Symantec said its Symantec Protection Network will offer additional components beyond backup, but declined to elaborate on future plans.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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