Remote Laptop Backup a Problem for Enterprises: Case Study

Some vitals stats I could gather from Google/IDG/Gartner around-

  1. Almost 200M employees work remotely (off their desk)
  2. Close to 637K laptops are lost on US airports annually
  3. 65% of users do not do a backup before they start the travel
  4. 90% of users do not backup while on the move

In the last 6 weeks I (personally) have heard same statement from at least 8 VPs or CXOs – “I lost my data/notebook during last travel at …” and none of them had a backup 🙂 If I have to summarize, the top three reasons I heard from these guys are –

  1. My backup software dose not work over WAN
  2. I had limited bandwidth connectivity
  3. I hate backups – they slow down my PC and work

So, the main problem looks like availability of bandwidth and inability of the backup softwares to work well over WAN/Internet. The Bandwidth Problem One very vital aspect missed by administrators is the extent of data duplicate between corporate users. Not very surprisingly, over 80% of data across corporate PCs (emails/docs etc.) is duplicate. And its not the data, but these duplicates which actually choke the bandwidth and the storage. One of the most disruptive technology in storage today is “data deduplication” – ability to save single copy of duplicate content. This feature in particular can be very very useful for corporate PC backups as it can cut down on duplicates and shrink the backup size. This can potentially save up to 80% of backup time, bandwidth and storage !! Server Accessibility Thanks to the tape-backup legacy, most existing softwares have server triggered backup mechanism which creates a problem for the travelling user connected to company’s infrastructure using WAN. Since the PC does not have a fixed IP address the server can’t reach it and hence the backup fails. This particular problem has been addressed by new generation PC backup softwares which use client triggered backup mechanism as opposed to server triggered. Summary Summarizing the above, the following features is what (IMO) you should look for before choosing any laptop backup product –

  1. Smart bandwidth prioritization – Sets only a percentage of bandwidth for backup
  2. Super Secure – SSL encryption over WAN/VPN for backup
  3. WAN Optimization – Automatic Network sensing for choosing appropriate packet size and bandwidth.
  4. Data Deduplication – Saving single copy of duplicate data.

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