Acronis has launched what it claims is a way for small businesses to use the cloud for disaster recovery. It has developed an on-demand backup service that will provide SMEs with the opportunity to benefit from the advantages of an offsite data centre without the need for an offsite data centre

The Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Online, which is being launched next week, has been designed for SMEs who are currently using tape or disk to backup their data. The new Acronis system will allow system administrators for these companies to recover files, folders and system images.

According to David Blackman, Acronis's general manager for Northern Europe, these type of companies do not have disaster recovery and, if so they do, find it taking a lot of time to recover data. "It's not something that's a high priority for them and it's not always something that's easy to do. If they could just push a button," they would do it," he said. "But until something disastrous occurs, they won't do anything about it."

Off-site backup has never been an option for the small business added Blackman. Unlike large businesses they don't have off-site multiple data centres. "Backup is normally tape at the end of the day, which is then taken home in a briefcase -this can be lost or damaged. It's cheap, but cheap is not always best," said Blackman.

The appeal of the Acronis product, said Blackman is the fact that it offers a variety of options. The same system can be used for online and local backups, and for physical and virtual machines and can be used for recovering whole files and system images.

There will be questions raised about the viability of cloud-based backup for small business but Blackman said that businesses were ready to embrace cloud technology. "It won't be for everyone but maybe new companies will backup to the cloud while existing companies will want the choice. I think that users now are relying on the Internet much more and are very tech-savvy," said Blackman.

The service is available on annual subscription and costs £33.59 for 250GB of backup per machine and £299 for 1TB server backup. Blackman pointed out that with a basic service costing under £3 a month, it was affordable by most small businesses. He also said that a 60-day trial was available.

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