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Secure Cloud Backup and Data Transfer: How It’s Done

For those interested in how an enterprise-grade secure cloud backup solution handles data encryption, here is some background

Author:  Nick Mueller, Zetta.net

The Internet is a dangerous place. There's a new story on Ars Technica about a corporate or government hack almost everyday. So for those interested in how an enterprise-grade secure cloud backup solution handles data encryption, here is some background on a few of the security protocols used to protect customer data here at Zetta:

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) / Transport Layer Security (TLS)
SSL is an Internet security protocol developed by Netscape in the late '90s that is incorporated in browsers and web servers. The protocol uses the RSA public-key/private-key encryption system and digital certificates to establish a secure connection between the client and server over which data can be transmitted.

SSL has recently evolved into the TLS protocol, but both protocols are still in use. When you see a website that starts with https instead of http, it requires an SSL/TLS connection. Both protocols are IETF standards. While the SSL Working Group is no longer active, the TLS Working Group is, and has issued a number of documents on the protocol since the start of the year. SSL/TSL differs from a complementary IETF protocol Secure HTTP (S-HTTP) in that S-HTTP is designed for sending single messages, while SSL/TSL creates a secure connection over which any amount of data can be sent.

WebDAV
Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning or WebDAVWebDAV is a protocol that was originally developed by University of California at Santa Cruz Computer Science professor, Jim Whitehead when he was working at the World Wide Web Consortium. It later became an IETF standard. WebDAV turns the Web into a readable and writeable asset. As the W3C defines it, "WebDAV is an HTTP-based protocol that allows accessing the contents of an HTTP server as a networked file system; to put it simply, it allows [you] to edit directly a Web site as if it were an additional disk on your computer." Linux, Mac and Windows clients all support WebDAV. Further data on the protocol is available on the IETC website, the W3C website and the WebDAV site maintained by Whitehead.

WebDAV is critical to online backup because:

  1. It allows a file to be locked so that others can't make changes when one person is working on the file
  2. When you back up files to our servers, you can directly mount those files on your own computer and work on them as if they were local files.

"WebDAV is latency independent and efficient over wide area networks, particularly when compared to file protocols like CIFS and NFS," said James E. Bagley, senior analyst, and Deni Connor, founding analyst of Storage Strategies NOW in a report released last summer. "By using WebDAV, the data is encrypted during transmission and stored quickly and efficiently. Connections are kept open continuously which reduces the amount of stress the customer network and the internet in general. This is coupled with the speed and efficiency of Zetta.net's compression and incremental-forever update technology, making it unique in terms of throughput and recovery availability."

Zetta's enterprise-grade secure cloud backup and disaster recovery solution uses WebDAV, 256-bit SSL, and Salsa20 encryption to keep your data secure. Learn more by trying Zetta free in your environment.

Nick is Zetta's Chief Content Officer, and has been working with writing and social media teams to create digital content since the days when the BBS reigned.

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Derek Kol is a technology specialist focused on SMB and enterprise IT innovations.

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