Corporations panic over their data

War brings surge in business for backup providers.

With the conflict in the North intensifying and concerns that Hizbullah attacks may edge closer to the center of the country, corporations are increasingly concerned for the safety of their data and are stepping up their backup activities. "Situations like these wake people up because suddenly they realize how critical their data are to them," said Evan Lever, founder and general manager of DataBank, which provides off-site storage of data for its corporate clients. DataBank signed up 15 new clients in the first week of the conflict and Lever said that figure doubled by the end of the second week as companies from Netanya and Herzliya have started to panic to get their data off-site. "Overall we've had about an increase of 10 percent to 15% in our business," he said. "This comes not only from our 30 new customers, but also from current clients who have upgraded their services from a weekly pick-up of data to daily." The service DataBank offers involves taking companies' backup data tapes to an undisclosed location in Ohr Yehuda as an added security from disaster occurrences. While companies generally backup their data onto tape so they can recover information that may be deleted, there is also a need to protect that backup from disasters, such as fire or earthquake "or in the current situation if a missile should hit a building," Lever explained. DataBank counts some of Israel's largest corporations among its clients including Netvision, SanDisk, Zoram Corporation, Sun Microsystems, AudioCodes, Nortel Israel and the Africa Israel Group of companies, while also servicing the financial sector and various TV stations. Lever added that as a result of companies' increased security concerns, DataBank is now also running a daily service to Yokneam, because of the increased pressure from northern customers, and is doing pickups on Fridays in the north, which it hadn't done before. While DataBank's growth in business shows a trend among major corporations, there has been a similar response from small-to- medium sized concerns. Catering to this market, Len Aizen, owner of Quality Remote Backup Services, said his business has had a clear upward swing of people signing up for its 14-day trial period online in the last week. "There is no question about it, people are panicking about their data," Aizen said. "This extends countrywide as about 60% of people contacting me are Jerusalem- and Tel Aviv-based businesses. Awareness is developing that they can take cover, but their machines cannot." Meanwhile, one of DataBank's clients, Airport City-based AudioCodes, which already had a daily delivery to DataBank's facilities, understands the need to protect ones data in a war scenario. The company has been deploying a daily off-site backup since the days of the Gulf War when the country faced a barrage of attacks from Iraq's scud missiles. "We realized at the time that if something happened we would only have backup data in storage for a week and it would be too expensive to lose a week," said Gadi Holdengreber, director of Infrastructure and IT at Audiocodes. "So I fully understand companies' concern this time." One of those companies, cosmetics and hair color producer Henkel Soad upgraded its services with DataBank to a daily delivery after Katyusha rockets fell about 100 meters from its offices in Haifa. "We decided to upgrade our services because we want to reduce risk, especially in these critical days. We want to make sure that our data are safe and in a safe place," said Alon Schwartz, network and communications manager at Henkel Soad. Data are the critical thing you need for the company. You can restore everything else, hardware and software, but you cannot recover data if you lose it."