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Lasso Logic plans to ship a gadget Monday it says will help small and midsize businesses free themselves from the snarl of cumbersome tape systems they use to back up data.

The gadget works in tandem with Lasso Logic’s storage facilities to give customers managed off-site storage and backup of all their data.

Out in a software-only beta version for a few months, the final shipping version of Lasso CDP (Continuous Data Protection) combines software and hardware in a box about the size of a small VCR.

When plugged into the network, the CDP searches the network to identify the computers attached to it.

A software agent that must be installed on each computer keeps track of new or changed data, then notifies the CDP, which can back up data even when files are opened or locked.

Any changes in data are automatically replicated via Internet connection to one of Lasso’s two security centers, located in San Francisco and New Jersey.

The system saves a whole file the first time it’s saved. Then, to save bandwidth, it saves only the changes from that point on.

Lasso CDP comes with an adaptive backup engine that out of the box begins to understand and recognize usage patterns of the network end of the Internet. It’s designed to only push data off-site when bandwidth is not being used.

The box uses a two-step backup process to protect against data catastrophes such as fire, theft or computer viruses. Data is replicated and maintained on-site for fast, easy recovery, but it’s also replicated off-site to a secure data center.

The product also includes file version cataloguing tools so that data can be recovered from any point in time.

Remote devices such as laptops can be backed up for travelers and telecommuters through any Internet-enabled device.

The product offers remote administration through a Web-based management interface so that it can be configured remotely. File sharing is also available so that employees can access data and share files with customers, partners and colleagues from any Internet-enabled device.

Lasso CDP supports Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, ACT, Goldmine, QuickBooks, Peachtree, Outlook and Outlook Express. Other databases supported include Microsoft Access, Dbase and MySQL.

The suggested retail price for Lasso CDP is $1,449, and the product is shipping immediately. The basic box, for 15 or fewer users, includes open file backup, instant recovery capability for network or PC crashes, and the ability to support off-site users. It also provides up to 80GB of storage.

Pricing goes up from there to about $10,000 for a terabyte of storage and for support of Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange.