By JEROME WENDT
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on providing backup for individuals working remotely. Often an afterthought, responsible organizations can no longer trivialize the need to back up the data of these individuals. Rather, organizations must identify backup software designed to work in these environments which they can centrally manage. In response, more providers have juiced their backup software to deliver enterprise caliber features to meet remote worker backup needs.
The Work at Home Surveys Say …
Anyone questioning the rapid growth of individuals working from home in 2020 only need to examine this recent Gallup poll. From mid-March to the end of March in 2020, the number of individuals working remotely doubled from 31% to 62%. Further, the same poll found that 60% of them would prefer to continue working remotely once coronavirus restrictions get lifted.
A separate, more recent May 11, 2020, survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson had similar results. It found the number of full-time employees working remotely or from home climbed to 53%. Once the pandemic passes, it expects that number to drop to 22%. That lower 22 percent still triples its 2019’s stay-at-home survey findings of seven percent.
Source: Willis Towers Watson *forecast
Depending on the poll you believe, the number of individuals working remotely could double or triple permanently. In the near term, another survey reveals most workers will not return to the office until Q1 2021. This necessitates that organizations act to protect the data of these individuals to meet their needs short and long term.
A Fortuitous Time
I would never suggest there is a “good time” for a pandemic to occur. That said, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic did take place at a fortuitous time. Organizations have multiple viable backup solutions from which to choose that provide remote backup with centralized, cloud-based management consoles.
Using these solutions, organizations can subscribe to their respective backup services. They may then centrally configure these solutions to back up data at the remote worker’s location. All of them provide the option to store data off-premises in the cloud. In so doing, organizations retain control of the backup jobs, the backup data, and only pay for what they use.
Here are two solutions to consider:
Commvault represents one of the primary enterprise backup solutions that recently entered the cloud backup market with its Metallic offering. Organizations register and subscribe to Metallic at its website. Once subscribed, they may access and download the backup software to install on the remote desktops and laptops.
To ensure organizations only protect the data of their remote workers, Metallic provides the organization’s administrator with an authorization code. After the remote worker installs the software, he or she enters the authorization code supplied by the administrator.
Organizations may also install Metallic remotely using an Active Directory identity server or an identity provider that supports SAML. Once the user logs on, the software gets deployed in the background with no user interaction.
Metallic, by default, protects files with Office and Image file extensions in the Windows Desktop, Document, and Picture folders. It stores all protected data in the Microsoft Azure cloud charging $8.33 per user per month with volume discounts available. It also offers discounts when organizations subscribe to it annually.
StorageCraft OneXafe Solo
The StorageCraft OneXafe Solo differs from today’s market offerings in a few crucial ways
- First, it ships a physical OneXafe Solo to the remote office. This device hosts the StorageCraft’s ShadowXafe backup software. This protects both physical and virtual machines using agentless and agent-based approaches.
- Second, one can backup to local external storage. Using this storage, organizations can complete backups and recoveries quickly and efficiently on-site.
- Third, organizations have the option to store backup data locally, in the StorageCraft Cloud, or both. When backing up data to local storage, one can configure the OneXafe Solo to replicate data to the cloud. Organizations also have the option to replicate the data to another site.
- Fourth, organizations can perform instant restores of individual files, VMs, or the entire infrastructure. OneXafe Solo’s instant restore can back up and recover VMs in milliseconds. Alternatively, they may leverage its DRaaS feature to perform orchestrated one-click fail over to the cloud.
There is no upfront charge for the OneXafe Solo nor does it impose any limit on the number of machines it protects. One pays monthly based upon the amount of data it backs up. Organizations manage the OneXafe Solo through StorageCraft OneSystem, a central, cloud-based console. Using this interface, an organization may centrally create policies and manage backup across all their remote locations.
Remote Worker Backup Solutions Get Juiced
These two solutions only represent a sample of the available solutions. However, they illustrate how providers have juiced their software to introduce enterprise caliber, remote worker backup capabilities.
No longer must enterprises ask individuals working remotely to back up their data and hope they do it. These solutions make it practical for organizations to deploy and centrally manage remote worker backup software.
This software puts organizations in control of scheduling the backup jobs and managing the data once protected. They can immediately put in a solution that addresses the backup challenges brought on by the current pandemic. Further, it positions them to provide a backup solution for their remote workers for the foreseeable future.
Jerome Wendt is the President and Founder of DCIG, LLC., an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Wendt founded the company in November 2007.