Connected Automates Backups for Remote Users
The growing number of remote and mobile workers provides IT with a management problem for which there are no easy answers. A new backup solution from Connected Corp. (www.connected.com) offers hope as it promises to take some of the burden away from IT by automating the backup and restoration process -- even among remote clients that connect from widely dispersed locations over a 28.8-Kbps modem.
Connected Online Backup is backup software that works in the background by automatically detecting an end user’s application software, as well as all of the personal files that he or she has created, and transparently uploading them to a centralized data store. Positioned as an ideal solution for remote or mobile end users, Connected Online Backup can just as easily be deployed on corporate LANs.
Diana Wimmer, IT manager at PeopleSoft Inc., (www.peoplesoft.com) is rolling out Connected Online Backup to her company’s 6,000 laptop-toting employees.
"Almost everybody at PeopleSoft has a laptop computer and we do everything online, so if you don’t have your computer, you can’t work," Wimmer explains. "Because we have a lot of people who are mobile, backup becomes an even more important issue."
The first time a user runs Connected Online Backup, all target application files are backed up to the centralized data store. In this regard, IT managers will want to implement the initial phase of the Connected Online Backup operation on the corporate LAN, as opposed to a much slower medium, such as a 28.8- or 56-Kbps dial-up connection.
Connected Online Backup can be configured to run automatically each day or according to a number of schedulable parameters, including time of day, on selected days or on demand.
Rather than transmitting redundant files over the wire -- or simply transmitting changed files over the already limited bandwidth of modem connections -- Connected Online Backup’s Delta Block Technology only replicates file changes down to the file block level, rather than the whole file itself.
Connected Online Backup further conserves bandwidth by compressing and encrypting the files or the parts of files that are to be backed up.
Connected Online Backup’s security is multilevel. User accounts are password protected, and files are encrypted using a 56-bit algorithm with an encryption key that remains private to them.
End users have the ability to retrieve their backup files using the Connected Online Backup software without invoking the services or intervention of IT.
"That’ll be huge [savings], everybody having the ability to restore their own files will certainly be a big help," Wimmer maintains. "Currently our backup teams spend a lot of time trying to restore files for other people, time that they probably should be spending on other things."
Tom Gee, a manager of the system administrators group with system-on-a-chip vendor Synopsys Inc. (www.synopsys.com), says that Connected Online Backup’s ability to allow end users to perform their own backups and recover their own files is one of the product’s biggest value-adds.
"We’re growing so fast that the administration group has to take a hands-off view of things," Gee comments. "The user has to be able to recover their own files without having system administration intervene to help them out, and Connected [Online Backup] is beautiful for that."
IT departments also have the option of transferring an end user’s operating environment to CD-ROM and overnighting it to them wherever they are. Users can then use Connected Online Backup to fully restore a Windows environment.
Gee says Connected Online Backup could make a lot of sense for many IT departments trying to come to grips with the growing number of mobile or remote users in their organizations.
"We’re embarking on an age where everything is going to be laptops, where the working force is so mobile that you can’t really schedule backups," Gee observes. "So you have to enable the users to be able to backup on their own, regardless of whether they’re at home, on a DSL line, on an ISDN line or at another company facility across the ocean using a company WAN. Connected Online Backup gives you that functionality."