Techgate Secure Backup System


Backup Professional is a secure, automated disk-to-disk data backup and recovery solution, which is uniquely designed for network efficiency, centralised management, policy-based control and simplicity of use. This solution is targeted at computer users and systems that operate both inside and outside the confines of corporate IT networks. It provides an effective and efficient platform for a totally automated and secure backup and recovery of critical information stored on various platforms (servers, database, desktop or laptop devices) and therefore leaves the often under resourced corporate IT departments to focus more time on supporting and developing other mission critical systems. It eliminates the risk of human error in the backup process, a factor which is generally underestimated, but which has historically been responsible for the majority of data loss.

The solution utilises client/server architecture to securely replicate data from the client device to a central backup server. File filtering, compression and a proprietary binary change extraction process minimises bandwidth utilization and facilitates secure version control.

Backup Professional minimises risk, maximises productivity and allows businesses to regain control of their most valuable asset – their data!

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The transfer and storage of critical information creates several problems for organisations, especially if a majority of this data reside on laptops or remote workstations, and data privacy is high on the list.

Backup Professional makes use of the SSL protocol standard (1024 bit RSA key exchange, 128 bit RC5 stream cipher and SHA-1 integrity checking) for secure data transmission and communication between the various Backup Professional components.

Data is stored using 448-bit Blowfish encryption in CBC mode which is considerably greater than the encryption used for Internet banking and online credit card transactions.

Encryption keys are not stored with the data and globally recognised techniques are applied to ensure the integrity and security of all data protected with Backup Professional.


During each backup your data is encrypted as it is transferred from your computer to the Storage Platform using the encryption key that you specified during the account creation process. This encryption key is seen as a passphrase by the Storage Platform. A random encryption key is automatically generated when an account is created and this random key (and not the passphrase specified by you) is used to encrypt your files.

The encryption key is protected by the passphrase (your encryption key) and without this passphrase you cannot decode the actual encryption key. When you change the encryption key in the Backup Client, the actual key is decrypted and re-encrypted with the new passphrase.

The data is never touched. All data since the initial backup is encrypted with the same random encryption key, even when the passphrase is changed. If you change your encryption key, you do not have to remember the previous encryption keys for future restores – the Backup Client will be able to retrieve the data from the Storage Platform.

Your encryption key is not stored anywhere on the Storage Platform, and is only known to you. If you forget this encryption key, it will render your data unrecoverable.

The Backup Professional Storage Platform components will only accept incoming connections once a valid activation key, with valid certificates, is present. These certificates are signed and administered by Attix5 from our head office in Reading, UK.

The Backup Clients use these certificates to authenticate the servers and to initiate SSL communications before transmitting any data.

Backup Client communications during a backup: An SSL connection is established to the NameServer which verifies the account and returns the IP address of the FileServer where that accounts’ data is stored to the Backup Client. The connection is dropped and a new SSL connection is established to the FileServer. Files are sent to the FileServer as soon as they are compressed or patched where they are stored in a dedicated account directory. File hashes are checked to ensure file integrity.

Communications during a restore: When a user wants to restore files, the Backup Client connects to the Storage Platform using an SSL connection and retrieves the list of all the stored backup dates. The user selects a date and then the required files. Using an SSL connection, the list of files to be restored is then sent to the server. The server goes through a process of finding the right files in previous backups, applying any applicable patches, and then compressing the files as they are securely transmitted to the Backup Client.

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Why is it important to review your data backup procedures?
According to research from BT and the Institute of Directors (IoD), fewer than 20 per cent of UK small businesses backup their data remotely, even though 82 per cent admit they could not function without it.

Yet, despite the vital importance of data, only 11 per cent of 394 companies polled by the IoD, include data backup as one of their biggest IT priorities.

Until recently using tape and CD have been the most traditional way to backup data, but this method has many disadvantages. Firstly, because backup is on site, companies are rendered vulnerable to disasters such as flood or fire - backup tapes kept on site are easily corrupted. Secondly they must rely on staff to initiate the process - a chore that many people overlook. Finally, BT’s study also found that although 40 per cent of small business owners have limited technological knowledge, they still carry the full weight of responsibility for their IT systems. In other words they don’t always employ the best solution for their particular needs.

Professor Jim Norton, Senior Policy Adviser at the IoD, said: “For smaller businesses in particular, the owner/manager is in charge of IT. As a result, things like backing up data are way down the list of priorities and are often seen as chores. This is because traditional backup methods, like tape or CD are often time consuming. But times have changed, and backup now requires little or no input from users.”

Inherent risks of using tape for day-to-day backup and recovery
  • Poor reliability
    Tape drive and tape media are delicate – Tapes fail to fully restore as much as 50% of the time and begin to wear out after 7 read/writes.
  • Time consuming
    Backup operations may also require a verification process as well. This doubles the required backup window, as the verification cycle sequentially re-reads the tape
  • Difficult to access
    Recovering an entire system, or even single files, can involve loading more than one tape High maintenance
    For file recoveries, an administrator is often required to queue up the appropriate tape(s) and monitor recovery progress
  • System failure
    Tape backup and restore is prone to mechanical failure and usually must be attended to ensure proper operation
  • Management problems
    IT administrators rely on non IT people to backup data physically located at remote sites sometimes resulting in no backup taking place for months
Advantages of disk over tape for day-to-day backup and recovery
  • Faster backup/restore Disk supports concurrent backups and restores to and from separate volumes – meaning there’s no waiting for tapes to be mounted and spun, thereby shortening backup and restore times
  • Reliability Disks are not exposed to environments that cause tapes to become damaged
  • Easier to manage Visible and immediate online access to backups

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Advantages of a managed backup service
Performing daily backups is a necessary evil. Every business knows it needs to do it but the person who is nominated to do it generally sees it as time consuming and a chore. Basically it’s the last thing that has to be done before going home. An alternative solution to a self managed tape-based backup process and one that takes advantages of a disk-based system is to look at a third party managed service. With a managed service a company still controls the data backup policy i.e., what can be backed up and when, but doesn’t need to have a member of staff standing around waiting.

The latest backup services run over broadband and allow users to automate their processes and store copies of their data easily and remotely. This means that the backup is never forgotten and that data can be retrieved from any location should a problem occur.

In order to appreciate its advantages, ease of application and use, we’ve outlined the main features of remote online backup below:

  • Automated Backups can be scheduled to run unattended at a particular time or frequency
  • Secure Data is encrypted before leaving the device and remains so until recovered. SSL is used for network encryption and 448 bit Blowfish for storage
  • Networked Data is transferred via any TCP-IP-enabled network connection. This removes the cost and effort of daily physical data shipment
  • Online A full copy of the most recent data and up to 60 days of historical changes is kept available for immediate recovery, eliminating the response times associated tape systems
  • Disk-to-disk Backups are held on disk for designated periods, enabling faster recovery, before being archived to tape for long-term storage (optional extra). Writing to disk also improves backup speed and data integrity verification
  • Incremental Only files that have been modified or added since the last backup will be identified for backup by the system
  • Sub-file Changes to a file can be extracted at the binary level. If a Word document is edited only the changed bytes of that document will be extracted and sent through to the backup server
  • Progressive The backup server is able to update files using the daily incrementals. This means every recovery is a full, updated file
The two primary advantages of a managed data backup service are:

    1. Set and Forget Backup – daily backups of your data are sent off-site automatically
    2. Anytime Data Recovery – you can recover your data at the click of a button

Advantages of a service-based approach
Few companies are in the market to buy more software. The emphasis is rather on resolving problems or cutting costs. However, growth in data complexity and storage requirements, along with the recent focus on corporate governance requirements, has forced many organisations to re-evaluate their data protection strategies. For many, the answer has been to outsource data protection altogether.

For these companies the top reasons for such an approach are:
    • Cost reduction
    • Maintaining focus on running the business
    • Gaining access to special expertise
    • Relieving resource constraints
    • Diminishing risk
    • Improving stability
What is clear is that a company’s decision to outsource data protection to a specialist service provider is not based on their current ability to provide the service themselves but on the benefits (as listed above) of focusing internal IT on core business functions and harnessing external expertise for the rest. It provides you the peace of mind to know that:
    • Your data is being backed up successfully every day
    • You have two copies of your data stored off-site for extra security
    • You can show your auditors/insurers that your data is backed up and can be recovered
    • You can recover a single file in seconds, even if the network is down
    • You can recover all of your data in hours not days
What makes a good service?
    Attix5 Backup Professional has been developed from the ground up to be provided as a managed service. This separates it from competing offerings based on data protection products. The distinguishing elements of a true service are:
  • Trust
  • Security
  • Scalability
  • Centralised Management
  • Ease of use

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Telephone 020 8869 8484
E-mail sales@fwcs.co.uk
Fax 020 8423 0299
Telephone 0870 443 4001
E-mail support@fwcs.co.uk
Fax 020 8423 0299
90 High Street,
Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, HA1 3LP, England
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