Key Man Online Backup : Evaluate your Data Backup Plan

Most businesses have some sort of remote users.  Whether they are travelling salesmen, users from satellite offices in another state, or just the small business owner working from home, these users generate the important documents and data that make businesses thrive.

How are these remote documents protected?

Traditionally, a user stores his or her documents in the ‘My Documents’ folder on a system.  This user-specific folder is located on the local hard drive, be it on a laptop or a desktop.  In traditional business networks, this folder is redirected or synchronized to a hard drive on the server when the machine logs into the network.  Files worked on at home are then stored on the network, to be backed up with the normal process.  If the laptop is lost or stolen, only the files that have successfully completed this synchronization process are protected and recoverable.

Unfortunately, some businesses are more tolerant of data loss than others.  Imagine the presentation the salesperson worked on at the hotel the night before the meeting disappearing along with the laptop.  Since the files weren’t synchronized, the presentation is lost.

Online Protection – All the Time

Though most of my customer use online backup to protect their servers only, lately I’ve been identifying a need that is piquing my customer’s interest.  Just like small business may purchase ‘key man’ insurance, I’ve been presenting the concept of ‘key man’ online backup.

While not every machine in a network needs to be backed up individually, there are certain key players that may need more protection.  These remote users are the most common.  By backing up these machines individually, a business can prevent the coverage gap that occurs during the normal synchronization and backup process.  By protecting these files during this critical juncture, businesses can be sure that important data will always be available.  Even with a stolen laptop, their presentation can be downloaded to another machine, allowing the show to go on.

So who in your organization are these key players?  Whether you are the CIO or Network Administrator, identifying these key players is critical.  I’ll list some of the key players I’ve identified over the years.

Key Players

  • Remote Sales Force – Tweaks to presentations and marketing material need to be made on the fly.  Make sure the changes are protected on the fly as well.
  • Network Administrators – These professionals are constantly monitoring your network, documenting and gathering important data about your network health.
  • Executives – Look, I’ve been a network admin.  The last thing you want to do is tell the boss that his document didn’t synchronize.
  • Accountants – Sometimes the best time to balance the books is at home.  Don’t let a full night’s work go to waste.

Identify the key players in your business when you evaluate your network backup plan.  Decide your tolerable level of loss and make sure those machines that need to be protected are protected.  As always, simply identify what material is going unprotected and for how long.  After that, the decisions are easy.

 — The Backup Master

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