Backing up endpoints is a crucial aspect of a comprehensive, modern data protection strategy. Laptops and mobile devices are the primary means through which employees read and modify corporate data. Despite the ongoing shift to software-as-a-service (SaaS), users commonly save data directly to their PC, for example if they are unable to connect to the cloud service because they are traveling. At the same time, these devices are very easily (and frequently) lost or stolen.
Though very necessary, endpoint backup historically has been a low priority. Backing up the exploding number and variety of devices is an expensive nightmare for IT. Furthermore, backups are notorious for causing system performance to crawl, thus slashing user productivity and frequently leading employees to deliberately disable the backup application so that it does not interfere with their work.
The advent of the cloud stands to alleviate backup management headaches and to facilitate global accessibility. It provides a centralized data repository and platform through which data can be managed, accessed and recovered. Meanwhile, it removes the need for storage capacities and volumes to be managed. Furthermore, its scalability and pay-as-you-go cost structure stands to enable organizations to get started more quickly, for zero (or for a vastly reduced) upfront capital investment.
In terms of the backup functionality itself, storage professionals should bear in mind the ability to control when and how backups occur to minimize any impact to the employee’s productivity. Incremental, fast snapshots that can be replicated or streamed to the cloud without impacting the user’s performance comes to mind. Backups should be granular, and they should occur multiple times per day, to further mitigate the impact to system performance while also minimizing the amount of data lost in the event of an outage.
The nature of today’s remote, decentralized employee base creates the need for users to be able to initiate recoveries independently of IT, so that they can be back up and running more quickly. Furthermore, remote access for IT and remote wipe and geo-location capabilities should be considered table stakes, because these devices are so easily lost and stolen. Remote wipe also plays a role with the remote worker and “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) trends; storage managers should look for the ability to identify and wipe corporate data specifically from a device, so that the user’s personal data is not impacted.
IT is critically important for storage managers not to assume that their endpoint protection solution encrypts data. Especially as we move into the multi-cloud era, where data is traversing across on-premises and external public or purpose-built cloud resources, data must be encrypted both in-flight and at rest.
Access Storage Switzerland’s on demand webinar in conjunction with Infrascale, Using the Cloud to Fix Backup’s Blind Spot – Endpoint Data Protection, for further discussion.