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A Mobile Workforce: Data Backup Solutions for Laptops

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laptop back.pngTechnology has moved off the desks and into our hands and pockets. With this our employees are moving out of the office.… taking with them our organisational data.

Smartphones and compact high spec laptops are enabling a mobile workforce. With employees able to move fluidly off site and into client environments, while still able to fulfil their daily roles to a high standard organisations are evolving to become increasingly more dynamic and fast moving.

However, with the benefits of a mobile workforce also comes the increased risk to your data; particularly its loss or corruption through the connection to unknown networks, loss of physical systems or damage to data or storage devices. As your employees move through external sites their ability to access, create and modify files and systems means the data contained on their laptops and smartphones is just as important as those contained on on-site systems or stored in servers.

The Vulnerability

Despite the importance of the data contained on these devices its protection is not always incorporated into an organisation's backup strategy; and often falls under the responsibility of an employee to manually backup mobile devices to the company server. This relies on the assumption that all employees will remember or be able to fulfil this responsibility on a regular basis. Which in reality is unlikely to happen – at best the backup of mobile devices will happen on an inconsistent semi-regular basis. Thus leaving gaps in the protection of your data should a disaster arise.  

The Challenges

Laptop data backups can differ greatly from enterprise data backups; by nature, laptops are constantly on the move and so the IP Address can and will differ each time your systems look to back up the data contained as an automatic process. This means that opposed to the solution reaching out to the various laptops; they instead must initiate the connection.

Not only this but typically backups are only conducted when the device is on – and preferably not in use. An ideal time would be over night but unlike servers or other fixed systems this is not always the case for laptops as they are often switched off or in hibernation mode. Educating employees to combat an automatic shutdown of when the device is in use backups and the necessity of regular backups or installing software to overcome these challenges can be used to combat these challenges.

The Possible Solutions

Data backup solutions for laptops and other mobile devices fit into a number of categories:

Software

Continuous Data Protection (CDP), continuously replicates changes from the laptop and if in a situation without internet it will cache up the changes to send once the internet connection is restored.

Near- CDP also continuously sends changes however, it also has to take snapshots in order for the system to work. These are VSS snapshots in the case of Windows.

Traditional style

Delta-Differential is more like a traditional style backup product aside from the fact that the first full backup is the last. After this only the new blocks of data that are unique for that day and that laptop.

Source deduplication is similar except that it backs up only blocks that are unique to the environment; meaning that multiple downloads of the same file will not be backed up but rather only the block level changes to these files.


Making the choice  

Being aware of the vulnerabilities and the associated challenges are the first step. With these, and a developed understanding of the rest of your data environment, you can begin to evaluate backup strategies and solutions that best protect the entirety of your organisational data.

With the uniqueness of the IT landscape of each organisation the requirements and preferences of each can differ greatly. With the multitude of possible approaches and solutions available on the market it becomes essential to find the one that can integrate seamlessly into your specific environment.

Selecting a variety of different vendors and comparing experiences is an essential step. Proof of concepts are an invaluable method of gathering concrete information on how a solution works within your environment and your people. You should also consider scenario and control testing as well as user feedback.

Backup Systems

Our laptop backup service is built around you, your business and your needs. We ensure that the backup of one or any number of your business’s laptops are backed up consistently, minimising the risk of data loss due to out-of-date backups. This means that, regardless of the type of system failure or loss when working out of the office or simply ‘hot desking’ internally, any valuable files are always backed up. With the flexibility offered by web-based laptop agents, you’re able to define which files and systems are backed up, as well as the frequency. Not only this but the security of your data is always maintained: the transfer is encrypted in transit for maximum security, and can be controlled by the user to reduce interference with other applications. All back-ups are integrated with your other backed up data, and can be accessed in exactly the same way – making the restoring of lost data as easy as possible.

 

 

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Published:
09.12.2016