Q

File sync and share vs. laptop backups

Independent backup expert Brien Posey discusses the difference between file sync and share and laptop backups in this Expert Answer.

Is file sync and share the same thing as laptop backups? Can it be used as backup? Why or why not?

Although it is easy to think of file sync and share software and laptop backups as the same thing, there is really more to it than that. In fact, file sync and share software usually doesn't even act as a mechanism for laptop backups, but rather as a tool for enabling the backup process.

The widespread adoption of enterprise file sync and share software has been largely driven by two main factors. The first of these is that many users have abandoned laptops in favor of tablets and other mobile devices. In essence, the file sync and share software isn't "backing up laptops," but rather is providing mobile users with a way of accessing enterprise file data from a variety of devices.

The other main factor that seems to be driving the adoption of enterprise file sync and share software is the need for greater security. To put it simply, administrators need to be able to control the way data is accessed and used from outside of the organization. This requirement stems from several recent high-profile incidents involving accidental data exposure due to lost or stolen consumer devices.

Every file sync and share software vendor offers its own set of product capabilities. However, most enterprise-grade solutions allow the administrator to choose whether or not file data can be cached on the end user's device for offline access. If the administrator does choose to allow offline caching, the data is commonly stored in an encrypted "vault" where it can be protected against accidental exposure.

Of course, users are likely to create data while working offline. This data initially may be stored locally, but it's synchronized to a server the next time the user connects. Once the data has been synchronized, it can be backed up along with other file data.

Next Steps

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This was first published in July 2014

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