New research underscores potential IT misery ahead
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With an increasing number of people relying on remote computing devices as their primary communication tool, the future for IT support staff could be bleak.

And with the market for wireless data systems predicted to grow to 19 million units in 2002*, even greater pressure will be placed on IT departments.

Lost data already costs European businesses in excess of $4.5 billion per year*. The UK’s data loss alone accounts for 25 per cent of this total.

According to a report produced by eSupport provider Previo, hardware failure currently accounts for 42 per cent of lost data; human error 31 per cent; software corruption 13 per cent, viruses seven per cent and theft five per cent.

However, Previo has developed a solution – eSupport Essentials. This takes snapshots of a system’s hard disk content and stores the information in compressed form on a network repository (Windows NT server). Users can then automatically ‘roll back’ their entire system to a pre-problem condition at any time.

A common scenario might involve a user whose laptop was working normally three months ago, or last month, or last week, or even yesterday – but not today – due to some possibly unidentifiable software problem.

The traditional approach is to attempt to solve the problem by trial and error: installing application patches, changing preferences and settings, and involving further investigation.

Previo’s approach is simply to return the system to yesterday’s working condition - while preserving today’s data. Where applicable, further investigation to identify or resolve recurring problems can then be carried out off-line. In the meantime, the end-user is back in business.

According to IDC, the new eSupport market is expected to grow from $3.1 billion in 1999 to $14.2 billion in 2003. IDC also predicts that this category will expand to represent 43% of the total IT support market in the near future.

Previo, formerly known as Stac, has received approximately $30 million in funding from Stac Software and acquired its technology assets.

* The market for wireless data systems will grow strongly over the next five years driven by technological ‘push’ and organisational ‘pull’. Strategy Analytics predicts that in Europe wireless data device shipments will grow from 4.0 million in 1997 to 19.0 million in 2002 a CAAGR (compound annual average growth rate) of 36.6%.



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