Symantec launches cloud-based storage service for the masses

Norton Online Backup can manage up to five PCs through the same dashboard

Symantec Corp. Thursday formally unveiled its cloud-based storage service, Norton Online Backup, marketing it as a consumer product for managing up to five PCs on a home network through a single dashboard. Norton Online Backup also offers the protection of Norton 360 antivirus software.

According to Jeff Kyle, group manager for Symantec consumer products, Norton Online Backup offers continuous data protection through block-based incremental backups. Users can log in and access backed-up data from any Internet connection and manage all five PCs through a single dashboard, which will enable them to do things like tweak backup settings and perform data restores. The service automatically conducts backups during periods of inactivity or on a user-defined schedule.

"Because there are block-level, incremental backups, it's much more secure in transit. It's only taking what's changed or new, and because of that, the backups are also fast," Kyle said.

Symantec is using the 128-bit AES encryption algorithm to protect data while it's being transmitted to its data centers, and 256-bit AES encryption on its servers. The company also makes multiple copies of the data that it stores off-site for disaster recovery purposes, Kyle said.

Symantec let the news of its upcoming cloud storage launch leak out last month, saying the product would be based on technology the company acquired with SwapDrive Inc., which it bought in June for $124 million. Symantec already offers 2GB of online storage for free with its Norton 360 security suite; additional allotments of 5GB, 10GB and 25GB a year can be purchased for $29.99, $49.99 and $69.99, respectively. The Norton Online Backup service will have the same user interface as the Norton 360 product.

With its new consumer cloud service, Symantec joins a growing storage-as-a-service community, including EMC Corp.'s Mozy unit and Carbonite Inc., which charges $49.95 for a 12-month subscription.

Norton Online Backup will also work on an annual subscription basis, costing $49 for 25GB of capacity. Additional storage space can be purchased in increments of 10GB, 25GB, 50GB and 100GB. Kyle said the company is also offering a one-time $29 trial subscription that will provide users with 5GB capacity for a year.

The service supports Windows Vista, XP (SP2 and higher) and Mac OS X as well as Internet Explorer 6.0 and higher, Firefox 2 and Safari v3 and higher.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
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