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PC Backup for Road Warriors

At Chicago-based Synovate, a $600-million market research company with 5,000-plus employees at 109 offices in 51 countries, IT director Prabhakar Sonparote had two serious backup problems. One was that employees who traveled internationally couldn't back up their laptops while on the road; they had to return to the office and plug their machines into the network. The other was the backup process itself. One of the researchers had to load tapes manually into drives and would often forget either to load the tapes or to send them off site for secure storage. That drove Sonparote to hunt for hosted backup products that would allow road warriors to back up their work from afar (as well as local workers' files).

He narrowed his search to products from IBM Corp., Iron Mountain, and a collaboration between Sun Microsystems Inc. and Arsenal Digital Solutions Inc. Nine months ago, Sonparote went with ViaRemote, the Sun/Arsenal product, over IBM's Express Online for Distributed Servers (which he says was more expensive) and Iron Mountain's Mountain Data Protector, which didn't back up open files in real time (though the company says its current Connected Backup/PC solution does so).

Today, any of Synovate's laptop users need only an Internet connection to protect their files. "Users don't have to be connected to our office. If they have Internet connectivity, they are all set," Sonparote says. Problem solved.

Stefanie McCann was formerly editor at large at CIO Decisions magazine. Write to her at

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