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Small Business - A Special Advertising Supplement sponsored by Scotiabank - Monday, October 22, 2001

New software offers security, mobility for the hard drives behind SMEs

Monday, October 22, 2001

Security is a critical issue for any business, but installing the right technology can be daunting and the costs frightening for smaller organizations.

"When you lose information, it can be disastrous," says Colin Brown, a Toronto-based security consultant with Symantec Corp., one of the world's leading Internet-security software providers.

"But a lot of small businesses don't have a full-time IT person," he adds. "It's one designated user who has the most knowledge and has been 'crowned' the IT person."

Symantec's Norton Ghost 2002, unveiled only last month, lets small businesses "clone" their hard drives quickly and easily, allowing them to recover valuable data they don't want to lose.

"It takes a lot of the worry away," Brown explains. "If you have a CD burner, you can take an 'image' of your computer and copy it. So if your computer doesn't work properly, you can use that image to get you back up and running within 10 minutes."

Norton Ghost 2002 costs about $100 for individual users; it also is available for businesses in five- and 10-packs for estimated retail prices of $429.95 and $839.95, respectively.

What happens when you're away from the office, stuck without a laptop and facing the dilemma of satisfying a client's demands as fast as you can, despite a difference in distance and time zones, but you can't access some crucial files you've saved somewhere on your hard drive?

Vancouver-based Veratium Software Ltd. thinks it may have the right solution at the right price for small businesses.

With its new MOTIVUS Wireless Desktop and Wireless Inbox software, mobile workers armed with a personal digital assistant, or PDA, can act as if they're sitting in front of their desktop computers.

"A lot of road warriors lug notebook computers with them everywhere, but it can be a hassle," says Phil Calvin, Veratium's founder and chief executive officer. "But now they can access whatever's on their desktop through a wireless Palm or Pocket PC."

The software is easy to install and simple to use. Workers simply pull up a special Web site and punch in their usual user names and passwords.

They then are able to access Microsoft Word documents or Excel spreadsheets, read and send e-mail, and visit their bookmarked "favourite" Web sites.

"Anyone who has ever flipped on their computer knows exactly what lives on their C drive and where it lives," Calvin says. "You don't need a lot of training to figure that out."

MOTIVUS costs about $300 a user, though it is sold in packages for a minimum of five users.

The company plans to release a version for individual users early next year.

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