9 must-haves for endpoint backup solutions

In the last several years, business adoption of endpoint backup solutions has spiked upward. In its 2014 market overview of endpoint backup and recovery solutions, Forrester outlines the drivers of adoption:

This movement is driven by the business need to prevent data loss, control corporate data, empower a highly mobile workforce, and centralize data to control eDiscovery costs.

Organizations that fail to protect their data and devices have a lot to lose. In the health-care industry, violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), an act that protects the privacy of patient information, can range from $1,000 to $50,000 per incident. Publicly traded companies are subject to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance that promotes integrity in their accounting and auditing practices. And, of course, there’s the matter of protecting intellectual property, customer data, and sensitive communications, which are often created and stored on endpoint devices—and valuable to the organization.

Not all endpoint backup solutions are created equal. Companies that are primarily concerned about losing critical data on endpoints should focus on the endpoint backup leaders. Here are nine considerations when evaluating enterprise endpoint backup services:

1. In-flight and at-rest security: Consumer-grade, drag-and-drop backup solutions erroneously claim to be secure if data is encrypted somewhere along the line. When selecting an endpoint backup provider, ensure that data is encrypted everywhere: on the device where it originates, during transition and at rest on the server.

2. On-premises encryption key management: Many cloud services simply store the encryption keys right next to the data. If subpoenaed, you may not even know if your cloud backup vendor has released your data. In a preferred architecture, encryption keys are held on a master server in your own data center, ensuring only you have the keys to decrypt the data.

3. Access, restores and versioning: To accommodate today’s anywhere, anytime work style, choose backup software that allows data access on multiple devices—regardless of operating system—and gives users the option of self-service restores. Support for unlimited file versioning is critical so data can be restored from any point in time, in cases of user error or file corruption.

4. Usability: Being able to protect all endpoint data relies on adoption and ease of use. Look for an endpoint backup solution that’s lightweight and silent on the end-user’s device, and can handle near continuous data protection with no disruption or intervention required.

5. Automated data retention and management: Look for the ability to manage and automate data retention policies to meet legal, administrative and business data archive requirements—because you can’t always count on employees to properly retain data.

6. Scalability: Particularly where bandwidth is an issue, make sure the backup solution you choose can support a globally distributed network without taxing existing systems. One of the biggest barriers to end-user adoption is a backup product that slows them down.

7. Ease of administration: IT has enough on its plate. Look for a system with minimal, consistent administration across all platforms. One administrator should be able to manage thousands of users in a single management console. Roles and permissions should be easy to assign and change.

8. Authentication and management: An enterprise-grade backup solution should provide integration with corporate directory services such as Active Directory or OpenLDAP. As companies move toward cloud identity management tools, Single Sign-On support (SSO) should also be available.

9. Multiple deployment options: Many organizations have discrete data classifications (i.e., sensitive, not sensitive, low, medium, high security, etc.) as well as rules governing where data classes can be stored. In organizations that are globally dispersed, these requirements may change from region to region. Look for a solution that can be deployed to meet your needs; not one that requires you to fit data into the deployment the vendor is selling.

Download The Guide to Modern Endpoint Backup and Data Visibility to learn more about selecting a modern endpoint backup solution in a dangerous world.

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