Why Workstation Backups are Essential

Why Workstation Backups are Essential

When you’re reviewing data backup plans, think beyond servers.  Individual workstation backups are important, too.  There’s essential data on every individual desktop and laptop that can take hours to re-create.  Without a workstation backup, some of that data could be lost for good after a compromise.

Ever wonder what it takes to run a Windows-based desktop or laptop?  Here are a few examples of services that live on your local computer:

  • Windows operating system (including patches, security updates, and fixes)
  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • Other applications (QuickBooks, your line of business applications)
  • PDF reader
  • Printer configuration and settings
  • Scanner configurations and settings
  • Browser favorites
  • Desktop shortcuts
  • Application integration settings
  • Saved passwords (though we recommend a cloud-based password manager instead)
  • VPN client
  • Video conferencing desktop app
  • Background screen, colors and lock screen personalized to you
  • Downloaded files not saved to the server (usually due to lack of awareness or time rather than negligence)
  • Files you didn’t intend to save to your workstation but did. (You may not even know exactly where they’re stored on your computer.)

Keep in mind that a surprising number of services are personalized to how you use your computer.  Without a workstation backup, those preferences can only be restored by trial and error.

Recovery Time is Key

While the process of backing up is important, your primary focus should be on recovery.  Recovery is the restoration process after a data destroying event – hardware failure, user error, power surges, or a compromise.  Consider what happens if an event impacts just one computer, many computers, or all of them.

How quickly and completely do you need to be back to work?  Without a workstation backup, the process of making your computer usable again, called reimaging, can take hours.  You’ll have brand-new, fresh installations of Windows, Office and key applications, but other services, settings, favorites, local files and personalizations will be gone.

For example, you may have several shortcuts to frequently used files or applications on your desktop.   Those would need to be set up again after reimaging.  Or maybe you rely on browser favorites to save time.  Those would need to be re-created as well.

Choosing the Right Workstation Backup

The right workstation backup will:

  • back up your entire computer, including all the services above. Files-only access is limiting if it takes hours to reimage the machine first.
  • run automatically, and in the background, with ongoing incremental updates throughout the day. This reduces the amount of lost work when you need to restore. It also increases the chances that laptops are connected and backed up during at least one backup cycle during the day.
  • be restored reliably and quickly at the file, folder, or machine level. This is the restore time objective.  Be mindful of where your data is stored when it’s time to restore.  If the backup is on a local appliance, the restoration runs at wire speed.  If the backup is across the internet, you’ll be limited by the connection speed, increasing the restore time.

A backup system that meets all three goals means each workstation can be quickly restored to its pre-compromised state.  This a tall order, and fortunately your IT provider can help.

Plan Ahead

Remember, it isn’t a question of if your workstation will be compromised, but when.  Cybercrime is only one way a desktop or laptop can be rendered unusable.  Natural disasters and even clumsiness happen, too.

Take the time now to create a data backup plan that includes the ability to fully restore desktops and laptops.  When misfortune strikes, you’ll be back to work quickly, saving your business time and money.

CRU Solutions can help with workstation backups and other ways to keep your business safer. Contact us!