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With many employees working from home on a full or partial basis, companies are looking for efficient methods to backup a home office—dozens or hundreds of them at a time. The new WFH paradigm decentralizes the way many companies manage backups which presents a challenge for organizations large and small.

When it comes to backing up a small office or home office, there are several methods that might provide the right fit. It doesn’t make logistical sense for remote workers to make additional physical backups to keep at their home office, so we’ll look at storage solutions where remote users backup data to the cloud or the company data center .

One challenge is that most backups now occur over a wide area network (WAN). Workers may run into bandwidth issues on their home networks that are beyond control of IT administrators. A workaround for those types of issues might be to limit the size and scope of the type of data that is backed up, backing up only essential files, or using backup tools and utilities that identify files that have changed, and backing those up only.

Remember, by way of the 3-2-1 rule for data backups, best practice dictates to keep three copies of data stored on two different forms of media—disk, tape, optical, or cloud backup—with one copy stored in a remote location. Schedule backups, and test backup systems on a regular basis.

Save and sync using shared folders

Perhaps the most rudimentary method of sharing files when working remotely is by using cloud-based file sharing solution. If you are a very small business with 10 seats of fewer, you have a plethora of options appropriate for your needs.  Here are two very popular options.

If you’re a small business looking for an immediate and low-cost solution to accommodate a newly remote workforce, something like Google Suite’s Team Drive provides a simple way for a few users to save and organize folders and files in the cloud. Users can install the Backup and Sync application so that any change made to their files will sync in the cloud.

If you’re already working in a Microsoft 365 environment, OneDrive is likely your preferred place to store important work files. You can back up and protect your files and guard your work against accidental deletes or ransomware attacks. Additionally, administrators can manage security policies to help keep your information safe.

 Synology Active Backup Suite

A small business that wants to get started with a converged solution for collaboration and data redundancy will find a lot of value with Synology network attached storage (NAS) devices. Synology NAS supports Windows AD, Azure AD, and LDAP to seamlessly work with existing directory services. The browser-based Synology Drive software gives users file access with just a web browser or mobile app, while also providing advanced file streaming functionality for computers.

Carbonite Pro Backup Solutions

Small businesses 25 seats and under without dedicated IT staff will benefit from an option like Carbonite Safe. Install the application on computers used for remote work and any servers you want to back up, and then set the software to perform backups on any schedule you choose.

Larger companies, or companies that provide backup services to other organizations, might consider Carbonite Endpoint, which offers all-around protection designed for a mobile workforce. Endpoint offers more advanced controls and automated features, such global deduplication which lessens the network load when conducting backups; incremental restore which is ideal for ransomware recovery and device migration, and additional security measures.

Acronis Cyber Protect for Office 365 data

Many companies responded to their workforce moving offsite by shifting to cloud-based productivity applications like Office 365.  While Office 365 and Microsoft Teams are great for collaboration, it is not a data backup solution. In fact, in their software agreement, Microsoft spells out that data backups are your own responsibility. They are not responsible for data older than 30 days, meaning if users accidentally delete something that they should not, or if you get hacked and locked out of your account, your company is facing major data loss unless regular backups are performed.  

Cloud backup vendors offer solutions specifically for Office 365 environments. Acronis Cyber Backup is one option for backing up Microsoft 365 Exchange, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft 365 SharePoint Online.  It is a single data protection solution for workloads that are premises-based, hosted in private or public clouds, and/or hosted by Microsoft.

Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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