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Calico UK has launched a new low-cost backup service for home and small-business users. Known as CRITICali, the service allows subscribers to backup their critical PC data over the Internet to secure, mirrored, servers, separated by hundreds of miles. A free no-strings 14-day trial subscription is also available for users who want to try the service before buying.

"Surveys have shown that up to 80% of a company's critical information is stored on PCs," said Campbell McCracken, Technical Director of Scottish ISP, Calico UK. "This data can take the form of emails, documents, spreadsheets and presentations. However, most PCs are not normally backed up adequately and so critical information is in danger of being lost either through hardware failure, viruses, fire, theft or simply human error."

"Home users are also becoming increasingly reliant on their computers too," Campbell continued, "but they are often ignorant of the dangers of not taking adequate precautions to backup their data. They need to be educated and protected. Hardly a week goes by without us receiving a plea for help from a customer because their PC has crashed and they've lost important emails or documents. But of course they're always too late. They need to take precautions now, not wait for a disaster to happen."

Some analysts have also estimated that 90% of companies that suffer a major IT problem go out of business within two years. "Quite simply, their customers will go elsewhere," Campbell pointed out. "They won't do business with companies that let them down."

To help combat this problem, Calico UK launched the system to allow computer users to back up their data to mirrored servers over the Internet. "The use of mirrored servers provides an extra safeguard against hardware failure," explained Campbell. "Data sent to one server is automatically copied to the other hundreds of miles away so that it forms a duplicate of the original server. So you have double the protection. In the unlikely event that there is a problem with one server, the second will still hold a copy of the data."

Files are compressed before sending them to the servers to save transmission time, and to save space. "Documents compress particularly well," said Campbell, "so you can typically store twice your allowance on the servers." Data is also encrypted using 128-bit data encryption, for security, before being sent to the backup servers. "Only you know the encryption key, so no-one can look at your files except you."

Customers can choose the backup storage space that suits them best from a selection of allowances, ranging from 0.5GB to 100GB. Backups can be scheduled to take place at the same time each day or night, or can be triggered manually. The saved files can be accessed later if needed, by the same PC or by another PC, either by the backup client software or by an Internet browser.

Calico UK's free 14-day trial lets users try the service before subscribing. "We're so confident that users will like the service and the security that it gives them," said Campbell, "that we're willing to give them a 50MB trial allowance for two weeks. We're sure that at the end of the trial period they'll want to subscribe to the full service so that they can start backing up all their critical files."

For further details, contact Calico UK on 01381 600845, or visit the CRITICali website at www.criticali.co.uk

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