What is Endpoint Backup?
Endpoint backup is the secure storage of a copy of data from a device such as a tablet, phone, laptop, or desktop computer, commonly called an “endpoint.” This copy of endpoint data can be on a local drive (such as an external hard drive) or in the Cloud (stored externally to the endpoint, often accessible online). An endpoint is considered “backed up” when there is a copy of important files available to restore from should something happen to the device (Eg. accidental deletion, site disaster, or hardware failure).
Why is endpoint backup a good idea?
Endpoint backup ensures that the data from the endpoint is accessible in case of an emergency where the original data storage becomes unusable such as a natural disaster, hard drive failure, destruction, or even accidental deletion. When a disaster happens, there is no lost data or productivity if you have a strong endpoint backup solution in place.
What is the difference between endpoint detection and response and endpoint backup?
Endpoint backup saves copies of your important data, while endpoint detection and response (EDR) takes a complementary but opposite approach to protecting data by making sure the device remains secure prior to any potential data loss. Because an EDR tool can never prevent 100% of data loss, it’s imperative to also have endpoint backup in place to recover a copy of data from before a problem occurs. Having both EDR and endpoint backup keeps your data more secure while also making it accessible when needed. Endpoint backup also assists endpoint detection and response by having versioning settings so you can forensically compare differences between files to provide a full picture of when a change occurred alongside the endpoint detection and response information.
What should I backup from my laptop or desktop computer?
You should back up all important files and personal data that you use on a regular basis, even if only occasionally accessed. Examples of files you should back up personally include financial statements, family photos, and word documents. From a business perspective, you will want to backup financial records, employee/HR data, and all of your important intellectual property (your business’ secret sauce).
Backing up on a regular basis means that progress won’t be lost on projects, the files you would need in an emergency are accessible from a separate device, and all of your important files are protected so that you (and your business) can weather any device disaster.
How do I set up endpoint backup?
There are a variety of tools available to backup your endpoint. In most cases, this will come in the form of an application that you install on your device which will then regularly and securely take version snapshots of the data on your endpoint. It may take a little bit of time for the initial version of your backup to complete, however after that first time incremental versions should be a breeze.
While there are other tools on the market, we are partial to the one we make; CrashPlan. To get started with CrashPlan, just download the correct version for you based on your needs. Then, if you’re managing your own backup, you can use our defaults for backup or if you need to add some additional files it’s as easy as a couple clicks. For larger organizations, it’s possible for administrators to easily define and enforce backup policies directly from the CrashPlan console. Learn more about CrashPlan’s backup inclusions here.
How do I retrieve data from my endpoint backup?
Retrieving information from your endpoint backup will depend on the product you use to perform the backup and where the backup data is stored. If you’re doing a simple copy to an external hard drive, you can restore your data from that by connecting it to your device and copying needed files from it. If you’re using a cloud backup solution (something we’d suggest to help follow the 3-2-1 backup rule), you should be able to restore data through the same application that you started your backup and the data should show up in exactly the same place where it was originally.
Using CrashPlan, you can restore directly from the CrashPlan app by clicking the “restore” button in the top right corner. Alternatively, if you’re not able to use your device at present, you can login online to the web console to restore a subset of your data
What are some best practices for endpoint backup?
- Know what you need to back up.
Every business (and department) has different types of data that are important to their jobs. Every home computer has a different mix of data stored on it. Make sure you have a good idea (whether you’re an admin or individual) of what those important file types and locations are. Verify that your backup solution supports those locations and files. Most of the time, it’s a good idea to cast a wide net and backup as much data as your backup solution will let you. The exception to that rule comes when we start talking about compliance and regulations. But, if compliance is your primary concern, you’re likely already aware of those caveats.
If you use CrashPlan, we have a well documented list of files that we backup out of the box but you can add to them as you see fit.
- Backup early and backup often.
Make sure that your endpoint backup solution supports continuous, and automatic backup without a need for human intervention. There is nothing worse than leveraging a solution which requires people to save files in a particular location only to find that “that one team member” regularly didn’t do that. Always backup all your important data.
- A square peg should never meet a round hole.
There are numerous solutions on the market today which try to shoehorn backup capability in with other use-cases. These solutions often fall down in the key promise of backup because they were initially architected to solve very different problems. Not all “cloud” solutions will protect your data in the event of disaster.
Make sure you understand the needs of your endeavor (either business or personal) when selecting an endpoint backup solution. You can do this by ensuring that your provider adequately supports the types of system that you are wanting to backup, is committed to protecting your data as a core function of their business, and has the available documentation, support, and technical infrastructure to help you be successful. You will want to pick a provider that will be there for you when things hit the fan.
- Trust but verify:
This one falls into two categories:
1) Reporting: A safety net is only useful if it’s well maintained. Make sure that you have solid reporting for the status of your backup. Is it completed regularly, are there any anomalies or issues which you might need to address?
CrashPlan sends you and/or your administrator regular backup reports with notes of any problems and will send additional alerts if an endpoint is in an unhealthy state.
2) Testing: To continue the safety net metaphor, you don’t know that you can trust it unless you try falling into it a couple times on purpose. Test your backup regularly. You can do this by restoring a couple files once every 6 months to make sure that everything works smoothly to give you confidence in your protection. Additionally, testing allows you to discover any issues or gaps prior to finding yourself in a do-or-die situation following data loss.