How BYOD and Remote Working Affects The Backup Process


Companies are constantly looking for ways to improve productivity and employee satisfaction while also reducing costs associated with doing business. And with the commoditization of IT upon us, companies are eager to leverage new, flexible working styles to become more responsive and efficient.

  • It’s now common for organizations to provide employees with financial incentives to purchase their own computers for work purposes. Bring Your Own Device — or BYOD — saves companies money by eliminating the complexity of having to track, repair and maintain their end-user technology assets. With BYOD, the maintenance burden for the employee’s laptop becomes the sole responsibility of the employee.
  • Likewise, companies are also becoming more open to the idea of allowing their employees to work from home, or to work from geographically distant satellite offices. Working in this way allows the company to attract and retain the best talent, while also allowing them to provide more personalized service across a broader market. It’s now common for companies to have “travelling sales offices” consisting of individual employees… or to have many small satellite offices across several regions or countries.

Of course, as IT becomes decentralized in this manner, it does bring up some concerns about accountability, security, privacy and data ownership.

  • Larger organizations have dedicated, highly-trained on-site IT workers to provide essential maintenance services such as backup. But in a smaller satellite office, the task of backing up critical business data may be off-loaded onto the most junior untrained employee. This opens up the possibility for human error and improper data protection practices which could lead to backup failure.
  • Individual employees may forget to back up their own computers. And employees who back up their own machines might do so in a way that is beyond the control of the corporate IT department. If this employee were ever let go, all of their data would go with them. This intellectual property belongs to the organization, and measures must be taken to ensure that it remains properly preserved.
  • If an employee loses or intentionally deletes data from their backups, it could expose the organization to potential legal liability in the event of a lawsuit.
  • Out of sight is out of mind. BYOD and mobile working can make it difficult to track the company’s IT assets. It’s also very easy for holes to appear within the backup and disaster recovery process, as machines, locations or individuals are accidentally omitted.
  • Many employees will implement “cloud drive” or “sync” applications as a substitute for a proper backup methodology. These applications are primarily designed for sharing files across various users or systems, and are not intended to be used as a backup. These programs have complex linking and sharing rules which can cause accidental deletion or data loss across users.

Backups are the most important part of your IT security process. Now that we live in a completely data-driven business world, no other threat has as much potential for harm as a critical data loss incident. If your organization has been exploring the possibility of implementing more flexible working arrangements or allowing employees to supply their own hardware, your primary concern should be to ensure the safety of your corporate data.

Ideally, you should have a process that allows you to monitor and administer the backups for all of your users from a centralized location, and you should be able to manage and administer users in bulk.

Additionally, you should have some sort of reporting or monitoring capability which keeps you up-to-date on the laptop and desktop backups of all users in your company… regardless of where they may be located. In order to prevent human error, these should be automated applications that run in the background, without the need for direct user interaction.

Sometimes, it’s ok to give up a bit of control. But you should never sacrifice safety for the sake of convenience or flexibility.

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