Microsoft OneDrive Alone Is Insufficient for Endpoint Backup

The ability to save documents to the cloud from anywhere with an Internet connection, makes it tempting to think of OneDrive as a replacement for enterprise endpoint backup, but doing so is a risky proposition. File sharing isn’t the same as endpoint backup. OneDrive, and other sync and share services like Google Drive and Box, are cloud storage services where users can sync and save files, and access them later from any device with a web browser. While files are easily saved in cloud stores with sync and share services, it’s not equivalent to enterprise endpoint backup.

What’s the difference?
Sync and share services enable a user to place and access files in a cloud and provide access to others from any device. Concurrent copies of a document can exist in different locations (in the cloud, on a mobile phone, on a laptop or desktop) without requiring users to email files back and forth.

Endpoint backup allows users to recover from any adverse event—device failure, malware attack, theft, file loss—by providing access to previous versions of documents. Good endpoint backup can also serve as an historic log of files, tracking the changes that were made to the files, who had the files, and what they did with them. In the end, no one expects to need to restore lost files—and no one wants to think about the day that they will have to—but the need for true endpoint backup is real.

That’s not to say that you couldn’t use the documents saved on OneDrive to restore files in the case of an adverse event. You could—but OneDrive has limitations that make it incompatible with a robust enterprise backup strategy.

  1. OneDrive requires a human to sync and share documents. With a tendency to forget or ignore IT’s instructions, human users are unreliable when it comes to backup. As a result, if you use sync and share software as a backup strategy, there will always be data sets that are not backed up from the endpoint device. The amount of data omitted will depend on the user in question—for some users this could be minimal data and for others it could be all of their data. In the event that a user’s machine fails, any materials that have not been synced to the cloud are lost.
  2. What happens in one sync-and-share location happens in all locations. What makes sync and share software so powerful is also what makes it dangerous. Edits made to sync and share documents are made in real-time. If you accidentally delete a document on your smart phone, you will no longer be able to access it from your laptop or tablet. Your assistant accidentally overwrites the budget forecast for next year on OneDrive? It’s gone for good. Only the most current document is saved, unless you actively save a secondary copy to account for version control. This makes it impossible to revert to a previous version should the need arise.

Better together
Peanut butter is better with jelly and cookies are better with milk. Likewise, sync and share applications are better with endpoint backup. Each application serves a distinct need within the enterprise organization—why force yourself to choose just one? Utilizing OneDrive as your enterprise sync and share application and Code42 CrashPlan to cover your endpoint backup needs makes sense. While OneDrive allows your users to collaborate and share files, CrashPlan will back up every version of every file on a desktop or laptop without requiring the user to manually save the data. In fact, CrashPlan is so unobtrusive that the user will probably forget that backups are taking place.

Conclusion
If you’re a system administrator, you know how often users forget to backup their data. Are you willing to base your backup strategy on your human users always doing the right thing? If not, sync and share software is not enough to backup your enterprise data. Couple OneDrive with Code42 CrashPlan to make sure your data is covered.

Watch Code42’s Dave Payne explain why OneDrive and CrashPlan are better together.

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