How to backup your computer? Business perspective
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With every passing year, backup is becoming a more and more complex process. One of the most significant challenges has recently been protecting data on end devices. The pandemic and the necessity to work remotely has had an extremely negative effect on data security, which – unfortunately – has been rapidly exploited by hackers.
Perhaps the best confirmation of this is the invasion of ransomware attacks. Criminal gangs have caused chaos in both global corporations, SMBs and small family businesses. As if that were not enough, IT departments now have to deal with the organization of remote work and protection of data scattered in hundreds or even thousands of different locations.
Homeworkers have much more freedom than in a traditional office environment and thus commit (often unknowingly) many violations. The most common mistakes are:
- sending company documents to private email addresses,
- sharing passwords,
- installing suspicious applications,
- allowing children to use company computers.
How to protect remote workers’ business data
An ideal remedy for this – in many cases considerably more effective than antivirus software – is data backup. Backup should be done for at least several reasons. Organizations most often lose data due to human error. Almost daily, administrators have to deal with employees asking them to recover mistakenly deleted files. The second most common cause of data loss is cyber-attacks carried out using malicious software. The statistics also include, to a lesser degree, incidents related to the theft of equipment or accidental damage to devices – explains Paweł Mączka.
It should be noted that the two greatest risks relating to the loss of data have increased in recent months. This means that firms should redefine their digital resources security policies and invest in new tools in many cases. The ‘new normal’ has shown that simple backup solutions often aren’t up to the mark under challenging conditions. There is a good reason why Gartner analysts predict that by 2022, 40% of organizations will supplement or completely change the backup software that they bought two years before or earlier. In what direction are the changes heading? Experts point to four areas:
- the necessity to send only new data to end devices,
- centralisation of management,
- automation of processes.
ESG analysts also encourage backup system providers to remember data protection at the network edge. Here, it’s about computers working in local branches and IoT sensors that generate large amounts of data that are crucial to companies.
Although companies are moving toward data centralization, many files remain on end devices. The most common cause for this state of affairs are employees, who have a habit of saving data onto the C drive instead of relying on synchronized folders (such as Users, Desktop folders, etc.). The situation is further complicated by employees working remotely who often use their own devices, which are beyond the control of IT departments. Organizations are trying a variety of ways to deal with this chaotic situation.
One of the options is to create a backup from all endpoints. Some systems even conduct backup of programs and operating system files. Another method is to focus exclusively on key folders such as user profiles with varying degrees of detail. In the latest solutions, user profiles are usually synchronized with the central file repository.
Products that keep up with the times offer:
- comprehensive protection against deletion and ransomware attacks,
- protection for data and information stored on laptops and PCs with either Windows, Mac OS, or Linux systems.
This endpoint backup service allows both end-users and administrators to recover lost data in multiple scenarios. End-users can use the search and restore functions themselves to locate and recover their data without the intervention of the IT department. Meanwhile, administrators can discreetly protect and recover endpoint data from a remote centralized location – without affecting user productivity.
Data protection costs
The primary task of a backup system is to ensure maximum security for stored data. However, we mustn’t forget about the costs of creating a backup. Here, technologies such as deduplication and compression come to the rescue by limiting the amount of data requiring backup.
Of equal importance are issues relating to the location of stored resources. Will the data be stored locally in an object storage matrix compatible with S3? Will backup copies be stored in the cloud? Have we taken into account the costs of outgoing transfers? Selecting a suitable location for files and the size of files not only allow us to lower costs but also the RTO parameter defining the time required to recover data and restart the system as a whole. According to generally accepted assumptions, restoring data for a single user is less time-consuming than restoring a standard database. However, a variety of situations can occur. Even mailboxes can sometimes grow to an enormous size, which is why it is important to correctly assess the time required to restore them, especially as it might be the CEO’s mailbox.
Data in the cloud
Nowadays, more and more firms and institutions use SaaS-type applications, with Microsoft 365 being particularly popular. Here, service providers guarantee a level of data availability and software updates. Although such service providers are keen to talk about the highest security standards, they do not take complete responsibility for the accidental or deliberate removal of data by users or the encryption of data by ransomware. Users of such services must look after this themselves by choosing one of three options:
- use additional services from their provider,
- use software from external firms that specialize in developing backup tools,
- write their scripts responsible for carrying out data backup.
No matter what you choose, severe incidents and ransomware attacks have proved that safe storage of backups outside the production environment is a wise move.
Backup for endpoints and more
An exciting option for companies looking for the latest backup tools is Storware KODO for Endpoints. The platform protects data on PCs and laptops with either the Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS systems.
Our solution is based on the well-known IBM Spectrum Protect, thanks to which it has a range of possibilities regarding scalability. One instance can be used to support as many as 25,000 users. Additional features are global deduplication and compression, technologies that considerably reduce backup costs – explains Paweł Mączka.
Storware KODO for Endpoints provides high flexibility in working with backup copies. On the one hand, it features a single interface for the management of all end devices belonging to an organization, while on the other, it can be used by each user. This last option eases the burden on IT departments because employees can themselves restore deleted data or earlier versions of their files.