Backup of a mobile workforce

Dec 2009

Backup of a mobile workforce

Posted by Adam Mattina in Cloud Backup

Backing up a Mobile WorkforceAsigra’s worldwide presence among service providers allows our team continuous exposure to some of the most complex business continuity and disaster recovery requirements. Building solutions to meet those dynamic customer requirements and compliance regulations is exciting and challenging work.

The loss of sensitive data is occurring almost daily throughout the world. There is even an organization dedicated to tracking data loss events world-wide: (you can subscribe to the RSS feed so you know as soon as the news is posted). When data is lost, a company’s image and brand suffer while the tangible per-record cost is paid out to all those placed in harms way. Users are creating data constantly, whether working at home, in the office or en route on a business trip.

Laptops, while highly portable, often contain the most valuable data and are the easiest to lose in transit. Securing data on a laptop is quickly becoming an industry standard. Hardware and software methods are available from several vendors to address this issue. However, ensuring that sensitive data is captured, transmitted and stored in a secure manner may not be as straight forward. If the latest deal, acquisition or presentation is created while on the road, how is it backed up and protected when a machine is left in a taxi or hotel? Several “workaround” solutions are available. Users can copy sensitive data to an encrypted USB drive, connect to a corporate VPN and send it to a share or email it to themselves. None of these options provide a reliable, consistent and secure solution.

How can an IT department or a small organization protect valuable data as it is created, regardless of where the user is? Disk-to-disk data vaulting is a great option. A few things are needed for this solution to be implemented: bandwidth, security, data reduction and automation. 

Available bandwidth may impact the efficiency and productivity of a user while on the road. Backup activities should complete in as little time as possible and have the smallest possible impact on the mobile workforce. This can be accomplished through scheduled or continuous backups with CPU and bandwidth throttling at the application level. Backups will occur but be invisible to the user and will not require any interaction to complete successfully. Data reduction can be performed with compression coupled with block-level deduplication. These steps will reduce the amount of data to be sent, further increasing efficiency. Finally, wrapping this process with encryption and including a method to authenticate, authorize and verify the authenticity of an endpoint covers the necessary security requirements.

Recovery is equally as fluid and secure as the backup. One application interface from which the user can recover the version of a file that they need or recovery of a whole machine in case it is lost or damaged. If the user cannot navigate the technology, the helpdesk is able to remotely recover data directly to the user’s machine. More on recovery next time!

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