4 Approaches to Remote Office Backup Solutions
According to Telework 2011, a June 2011 report from nonprofit human resources organization WorldatWork, last year 26.2 million American employees worked from home or remotely at least one day per month. Almost half of those operated almost exclusively remotely or at home.
It is hard enough keeping a company’s main servers backed up. It is much harder to do remote office backup or branch office backup making sure all the crucial data stored on laptops, home computers and in each remote office is ready to restore when needed. That problem continues to grow as increasing numbers of employees hit the road or work from home.
While staff at headquarters enjoys the advantage of high-speed local network access to onsite servers — and IT staff on hand to support them — once the business extends its operations beyond the walls, IT must lengthen its reach accordingly.
Remote help desk software, for example, extends support out into the field and enterprise security software does a good job of enforcing firewall and antivirus policies. Traditional backup solutions, however, do not provide an easy or cost effective way to secure all the remote sites and mobile data.
Here are four possible remote office backup solutions for remote workers:
1. Not backing up the remote workers or branch offices
While this is all too common, it is risky. True, people may promise to back up their own systems locally, but such tasks are easily forgotten. Hoping nothing bad happens isn't an effective business strategy.
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2. Purchasing backup systems for the branch offices
This requires spending money for the backup hardware and software, as well as having someone onsite who can manage and maintain the backups. While that makes sense for certain operations with abundant IT resources, it is rarely cost effective for businesses with multiple small branch offices. This approach also establishes separate islands of backups at each location which are not synchronized.
3. Using a centralized backup system with WAN Optimization
Tying into a centralized backup system can solve the issue of managing multiple remote office backups, but often requires a WAN optimization device (like a Riverbed Steelhead appliance) at the remote office to deliver the needed performance. This works, but at a high cost. And it doesn't cover remote workers.
4. Go with an online backup service such as Zetta
With disaster recovery such as Zetta, ZettaMirror agent software can be loaded onto any number of servers or workstations (Windows, Linux, Solaris or Mac) as well as laptops. ZettaMirror automatically replicates and synchronizes the data from those devices to the Zetta Storage Service at one of Zetta's data centers. With Zetta Data Protection, remote workers and branch office personnel don't need to back up to local hardware. The entire process can be monitored and managed by IT at the central office.
Acupay System LLC, for example, is a company that manages the payments of dividends and interest in a way that reduces the payment of excess foreign taxes. It maintains data centers in New York and London, both of which had their own backup procedures in place. Since the London data center had a small IT staff, if someone was sick or on vacation, the backups might not be done in a timely manner. To solve this problem, Acupay installed ZettaMirror on Windows servers in New York and London and mirrors its SQL databases, documents and spreadsheets to the Zetta Data Center in New Jersey.
“For about the same money we were paying for tape media and our offsite tape service, we implemented Zetta and got better reliability,” says Acupay’s Director of Technology, Thorpe Thompson. “I spend less time and attention on backup, it takes less time for data restores, and we added the London office to the process.”
Zetta Data Protection provides an easy-to-manage, online solution for remote office backup, branch office backup, and other mobile endpoints.