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The state of mobile device and laptop backups

Backup expert Brien Posey discusses the state of enterprise backups for mobile devices and laptop computers in this Expert Answer.

How are organizations addressing mobile device and laptop backups today? And, what are the various tools and approaches available today for backing up laptops and mobile devices?

The ways in which organizations are addressing mobile device and laptop backups today are incredibly diverse. Some organizations continue to either provide no backups for laptops or ask users to perform their own backups of anything important. Other organizations attempt to back up laptops using a method similar to the way that they back up on-premises servers. This usually means installing a backup agent onto the laptop so that backups can run whenever the laptop has connectivity.

Cloud backups are also a popular option. Those organizations that are performing cloud backups typically either perform backups to private clouds or subscribe to a backup as a service provider.

The ways in which these backups are created can be quite diverse. Many organizations have begun licensing laptop-specific backup products that are designed to perform backups similar to continuous data protection. This type of software keeps track of which storage blocks are modified and when. Whenever the user establishes connectivity to the corporate network or cloud backup service, the backup software automatically begins uploading any changed blocks, as well as a record of when each block was modified (to facilitate point-in-time restoration). Typically, this approach uses deduplication to avoid having to retransmit any block that is already stored on the backup target.

There are also organizations that rely on the use of custom scripts to perform backups. Often, these scripts are referenced within the Active Directory and automatically execute when the user logs on to the corporate network.

As for mobile devices, the most popular option to date has been the use of apps that back the devices up to the cloud. However, these apps are often device-specific (Windows, iOS, Android, etc.), which means that organizations might have to use a different app for each class of mobile device.

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