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Backup So Easy Even Your Users Can Do It
On the other hand, removable storage, such as external hard drives, are always accessible to the user and can transfer data at a much greater rate than almost any network connection. The downside: Removable storage is almost entirely dependent on the user to manage, and travelers won't like the extra load. You also must make sure the backup device and/or media are carried separately from the user's computer.
Storage Requirements: What To Keep
A major consideration when evaluating remote backup schemes is whether you need to back up the full system or save only user data. A full backup of Windows XP and basic productivity tools consumes more than a full gigabyte, even when compressed. A My Documents folder usually holds a fraction of that once you remove unnecessary music and graphics files. There are exceptions, such as PowerPoint documents, video sales presentations or even database files that might be needed on the road. Fortunately, many of these large files do not need to be updated frequently and can be distributed easily on any type of writable media.
Another factor to consider is whether a full backup is of any value to an average user whose computer has been lost or stolen. Most won't be able to handle a system build and full restore without assistance, even if he or she could find exact replacements for the lost laptop. In the time it would take for a remote user to locate a suitable replacement computer, download a full backup and install and troubleshoot the software, an IT team could arrange to overnight a completely loaded system, including any recently backed-up documents resident on a corporate server. The main focus of a remote backup plan should be protecting data files that users commonly modify.
Usability contributes directly to the success of any backup strategy. Face it, if the process is complex, time-consuming or inconvenient, it won't be done consistently. The best hope for compliance lies in making the whole enchilada invisible to the user.
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