Case Study – Why remote laptop backup is a problem for enterprises

Case Study – Why remote laptop backup is a problem for enterprises

Some vital statistics I can gather from google/IDG/Gartner around –

1. Almost 200 million employees work remotely (out of their desks)
2. Nearly 637,000 laptops are lost at US airports annually
3. 65% of users do not make a backup before starting the trip
4. 90% of users don’t backup while on the go

In the last 6 weeks, I (personally) heard the same statement from at least 8 VPs or CXOs – “I lost my data/notebook during the last trip to …” and none of them had a backup 🙂

If I had to summarize, the top three reasons I heard from these guys were –

1. My backup software does not work over the WAN
2. I had limited connection bandwidth
3. I hate backups – they slow down my computer and work

So the main issue seems to be bandwidth availability and the backup software not being able to work well over the WAN/Internet.

One very important aspect overlooked by administrators is the extent of data duplication between enterprise users. It’s not too surprising that over 80% of data is duplicated between corporate PC users in terms of emails/documents and it’s not the data, it’s the duplicates that actually choke bandwidth and storage.

One of the most disruptive technologies in storage today is “data deduplication” – the ability to keep a single copy of duplicate content. This feature in particular can be very useful for backing up corporate computers, as it can reduce duplicates and reduce backup size. This can potentially save up to 80% of backup time, bandwidth and storage!

Due to the tape backup legacy, most existing software has a server-triggered backup mechanism, creating a problem for the traveling user connected to the company’s infrastructure via the WAN. Since the computer does not have a fixed IP address, the server cannot reach it and therefore the backup fails. This particular problem is addressed by a new generation of computer backup software that uses a client-triggered (as opposed to server-triggered) backup mechanism.

Summarizing the above, the following features are what (in my opinion) you should look for before choosing any laptop backup product –

1. Intelligent bandwidth prioritization only sets a percentage of the bandwidth for backup
2. Super secure – inSync uses SSL encryption over the WAN and doesn’t need a VPN for backup.
3. WAN Optimization – Automatic network detection to select appropriate packet size and bandwidth.
4. Deduplication – keeping one copy of duplicate data.

So the next time you plan to purchase a PC backup solution for your company, keep these points in mind.

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