Real SMB IT: Got Laptops?

June 25, 2009

Laptops - Backup!

Laptops - Backup!

Like phones and PDA’s. laptops are mobile devices.

They can move around daily, plus, as they aren’t nailed down they are at a much higher risk of theft and can breakage.

Yet even though laptops have this higher risk of losing some of your corporate data, too often they rarely (if ever) have all of that corporate data on them backed up!

With desktop PC’s, it is easy to have a policy that all critical data be stored on your servers. It is even fairly easy to simply schedule data backups of those workstations if you so choose.

But with laptops?

If they are not in your office – well, a backup gets harder to do.

You can try to get people to regularly move their data to your network servers – but people won’t. Too much effort or too much time, or too hard.

Mobile vs. Remote

When looking at ensuring that data on laptops is properly backed up, it can help to divide your laptop users into two camps. The first one, lets just call Mobile.

These folks work primarily in your office, may travel once in a while, and generally use the laptop because it adds flexibility to their work environment.

I personally would fall into this category, the laptop basically travels between my office and home as it allows me to get caught up with work that is behind, plus allows me to quickly respond to alerts and problems with our IT infrastructure.

Then we have the truly Remote.

These men and women are either true Road Warriors, gone for days or weeks at a time, or they work out of remote locations or offices, visiting your facility a few times per year.

The Backups

It can be easier for the ones I simply define as mobile. You have the choice of a policy that all corporate data resides on servers, and and that only copies be carried on the laptop, or you can possibly have a backup job that runs during the day, specifically for the laptops.

Personally, I don’t like doing backups during the day, but as a small business I compromise. Those of us lower on the corporate totem pole have the server storage policy, but an exception made for the senior executives.

For the truly remote workers, it gets more difficult. I can supply backup devices that plug into their laptops, I can even subscribe to online backup and storage services.

The Problem?

People are people – and unless you make it automatic – most simply won’t do it. Part of it is regularly communicating the risks, and if you are just reviewing backup services for remote workers, ensure that minimal user intervention is required. The more automatic it is for those remote workers, the better off you will be when it comes time to rescue that data.

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