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Editor’s Note: This article was written by Storagepipe.  Storagepipe provides online backup software solutions that help companies manage remote laptop data protection.

Laptops are data-loss time bombs.  Because they get banged around a lot, they’re more likely to suffer damage. And because they’re expensive and portable, they make ideal targets for thieves. This is further compounded by the fact that company laptops often store some of the most important strategic, management and sales information.

Any company that plans on allowing their IT hardware to travel off-site must adapt their data protection accordingly. Here are 3 of the most popular solutions that companies use to ensure that their laptop data is securely protected.

Portable Hard Drives and Pen Drives

This is the easiest and cheapest way to protect travelling data, but it’s also the most error-prone.  It consists of simply giving your employees USB storage devices, and requesting that they not save anything on their local hard drives. The advantage is that it’s easier to carry a USB drive everywhere you go than it would be with a laptop. Also, USB drives are less tempting to thieves and harder to steal.

But from a management point of view, these items are still easy to lose and prone to damage. And more importantly, you still have fragmented bits of information floating around outside of your control with no way of backing it up or protecting it from the office.

Network Attached Storage

Another approach would be to require all employees to save their data to a centralized storage server or NAS device. By making this storage device securely accessible online, you’ll ensure that employee data remains at head office even if the actual employee is far away.  Having all company data consolidated to a single storage device – instead of being saved on dozens of local hard drives – also simplifies the backup process, and ensures that all company information can be easily accessed by management.

The downside of a Network Attached Storage is that data can only be accessed if the employee has Internet access. If they want to work offline, they’ll have to save their data to the local hard drive.  When this happens, IT loses control over the information and users could start to pick up bad data management habits.  Another disadvantage of the NAS approach is that the network files are open to corruption. If the user gets a virus or saves blank documents over their important files, there would be no way to restore the originals without re-loading the master backups for the entire company.

Online Backup

The third option would be to set up each laptop with an online backup service that uploads their data immediately after saving. Most serious business backup services will also allow you to manage your internal users remotely from some sort of management portal.

This way, data is always protected.  Another key advantage of online backup is that users can recover their own files through a simple self-service interface. This is a HUGE convenience to IT staff, since the most common data recovery requests are for:

  • accidental file deletion
  • corrupted files
  • accidentally saving over an important file

But probably the best advantage of protecting laptops using online backup is that it’s completely automated. Employees can’t forget to back up, and they don’t have to change their computing habits in order to use it. It just works.  If your company has a lot of traveling laptop users, or if you just want to protect your own personal laptop, you may want to consider one of these 3 techniques.

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