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Working From Home: Data Protection Pitfalls

Author: Carrie Reber, senior product marketing manager, SolarWinds MSP

The past few months have been trying, to say the least. In the midst of dealing with so many changes and disruptions, many have also experienced the pitfalls of a local-only backup strategy. While managed services providers (MSPs) have focused on setting up employees to work from home, ensuring system access, and working to secure newly remote endpoints, they may have also come to realize the limitations of their backup strategy.

Many backup systems rely on the assumption that someone will be physically present in the office or data center every day. When this is no longer the case, problems can quickly crop up.

The Dangers of Working from Home (WFH) and Local-only Backup

For example, if the usual plan is to send backups to a local-only device, such as a USB drive, what happens if no one is in the office for several weeks to switch out the full drive? Your data protection software may show scheduled backup jobs running successfully and saving to that local device, but if the last good backup stored there is seven weeks old, there is a risk of considerable data loss.

Similarly, if your strategy relies on a local appliance that consolidates backups and sends them to the cloud, you could have a problem if the device malfunctions. It could become the single point of failure that brings your backups to a halt until someone discovers the problem and can get into the office to fix it.

Don’t Put all your Eggs in one Backup Basket

A better solution is a direct-to-cloud software solution. If agents on each protected device communicate directly with the cloud storage location, you don’t have all your backup eggs in one basket. If you’re not dependent upon local storage, things can keep running smoothly even if no one is physically present in the office for an extended period of time.

The requirement to work remotely also highlights the value of a web-based SaaS management console. Systems designed to be accessed and used from anywhere are easier to manage than those dependent upon VPN and connecting to a local application server from a remote location.

Don’t Forget Restore and Recovery

When working remotely, you also need flexibility in restoring data or recovering failed devices. Your solution should be able to restore data to its original location, new hardware, or a VM residing in a secondary location or in Azure.

As remote work begins to settle into a routine, give some thought to your backup strategy. Perhaps a direct-to-cloud solution with an easily accessible SaaS management interface is right not only for today, but for the months and years to come.


Author Carrie Reber is senior product marketing manager for SolarWinds MSP. Read more from SolarWinds MSP here.

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