Users are more mobile than ever and while devices like tablets and smartphones are commonplace, most road warriors get most of their work done on laptops. A lot of the data on these laptops is unique and is never stored on a storage system within the data center. Protection of this data is typically left up to the owner of the device. IT needs to step in and not only provide an organization-wide data protection strategy, but a broad-based end-user data management strategy.
Developing a End-User Data Strategy
The foundation of a end-user data management strategy is data protection. Data on an organization’s laptops needs protecting, especially considering they may have the only copy of a particular file on them. While a foundation of a data management strategy, IT often ignores this critical first step. These devices are on the move, used on airplanes, hotel rooms, and coffee shops. As a result they are very susceptible to theft, being forgotten or damaged more than any server in the data center. These devices are also the most common way for ransomware to work its way into the organization, starting with encrypting all the data on the laptop.
A corporate-wide protection strategy for laptops is critical. The protection solution has to be seamless, operating in the background and continuously backing up data when there is an internet connection – all without impacting performance. The software should also be able to “sense” which type of connection it is on so backups don’t occur over expensive broadband connections.
Another part of protection to consider is protecting cloud-based applications or services like Office 365. While the companies that offer these solutions do protect themselves, they do so for their benefit not their customers. Also their data protection does not protect from data loss due to a malicious hack. The end-user data strategy should include the ability to back data up out of one cloud and into another.
Part of protection is recovery. Mobile workers count on these devices and in many cases simply can’t do their job without them. IT needs to be able to easily recover laptops back to their last known good state as quickly as possible. In addition to full system recovery, the software should provide a self-service model for users to access their own files if they need to.
The next step is to organize the data these systems store. IT needs to build a complete index of the data each system stores so that it can be included in legal discovery requests and specific regulation requirements. The data on these systems also needs to be checked to make sure sensitive data like credit card information, personal health information and social security information is not stored on them.
A final area to consider is file sharing. Users want to be able to share files with colleagues and business partners. To accomplish file sharing users have reached out to the cloud and are leveraging file sync and share. The problem is IT has limited and, in most cases, no oversight into what data is being shared and with whom. Using a file sync and share solution also requires the user to copy data to another location which complicates file management and decreases data efficiency.
If carefully architected the end-user data management solution by doing backups and classifying data should have everything it needs to replace a separate file sync and share solution. It already has a copy of the data, and it understands the content of the data it stores. It can provide a mechanism for users to shared data directly from its data pool. IT then gets complete oversight into what is being shared and it can make sure sensitive information is not being shared.
Mobile users leveraging laptops, tablets and smartphones to do their job is an unstoppable force. As organizations move more applications to the cloud, the device that workers will use to access those applications becomes more crucial. Therefore protecting them, organizing the data on them and enabling users to share their data stored on the device should be a top priority for IT.
To learn more about developing a end-user data strategy watch our live on demand webinar “Endpoint Backup is not Enough – You Need an End-User Data Strategy”.