Monday, April 5, 2010

Case study shows how HP Data Protector Notebook Extension provides constant backup for mobile workforces

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Gain more information on HP Data protection Notebook Extension. Follow on Twitter.
Access a Webcast with IDC's Laura DuBois on Avoiding Risk and Improving Productivity on PCs and Laptops.

Data protection has grown significantly more complex in recent years as workers have gravitated to notebook computers and the mobility they enable. The latest BriefingsDirect podcast discussion looks at protecting PC-based data in an increasingly mobile world.

We'll look at a use case -- at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY -- for HP Data Protector Notebook Extension (DPNE) software and examine how backup and recovery software has evolved to become more transparent, reliable, and fundamentally user-driven.

Using that continuous back-up principle, the latest notebook and PC backup software captures every saved version of a file, efficiently transfers it all in batches to a central storage location, and then makes it easily and safely accessible for recovery by user from anywhere. That's inside or outside of the corporate firewall.

We'll look at how DPNE slashes IT recovery chores, allows for managed policies and governance to reduce data risks systemically, while also downsizing backups, the use of bandwidth, and storage.

The economies are compelling. The cost of data lost can be more than $400,000 annually for an average-sized business with 5,000 users. Getting a handle on recovery cost, therefore, helps reduce the total cost of operating and supporting mobile PCs, both in terms of operations and in the cost of lost or poorly recovered assets.

To help us better understand the state of the art remote in mobile PC data protection, we're joined by an HP executive and a user of HP DPNE software, Shari Cravens, Product Marketing Manager for HP Data Protection, and a user of DPNE, John Ferguson, Network Systems Specialist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:
Cravens: We started hearing from our customers a couple of years ago that PC backup was becoming increasingly important in their lives. Part of that's because the workforce is increasingly mobile and flexibility for the workforce is at an all-time high. In fact, we found that 25 percent of staff in some industries operates remotely and that number is growing pretty rapidly.

In fact, in 2008, shipments of laptops overtook desktops for the very first time. What that really means for the end user or for IT staff is that vast amounts of data now live outside the corporate network. We found that the average PC holds about 55,000 files. Of those 55,000, about 4,000 are unique to that user on that PC. And, those files are largely unprotected.

The economics of PC backup are really changing. We're finding that the average data loss incident costs about $2,900, and that's for both IT staff time and lost end user productivity. Take that $2,900 figure and extrapolate that for an average company of about 5,000 PCs. Then, look at hard drive failures alone. There will be about 150 incidents of hard drive failure for that company every year.

If you look at the cost to IT staff to recover that data and the loss in employee productivity, the annual cost to that organization will be over $440,000 a year.

If you look at the cost to IT staff to recover that data and the loss in employee productivity, the annual cost to that organization will be over $440,000 a year. If that data can't be recovered, then the user has to reconstruct it, and that means additional productivity loss for that employee. We also have legal compliance issues to consider now. So if that data is lost, that's an increased risk to the organization.

We all have very sensitive files on our laptops, whether it's competitive information or your personal annual review. One of the things that's been a suggestion in the past was, "Well, we'll just save it to the corporate network." The challenge with that is that people are really concerned about saving these very sensitive files to the corporate network.

What we really need is a solution that's going to encrypt those files, both in transit and at rest, so that people can feel secure that their data is protected.

Historical evolution

The concept behind HP Data Protector Notebook Extension is that we're trying to minimize the risk of that PC data loss, but we're also trying to minimize the burden to IT staff. The solution is to extend some of the robust backup policies from the enterprise to the client environment.

We’re protecting data no matter where the user is -- the home, the coffee shop, the airport.

DPNE does three things. One, it's always protecting data, and it's transparent to the user. It's happening continuously, not on a fixed schedule, so there is no backup window that's popping up.

We’re protecting data no matter where the user is -- the home, the coffee shop, the airport. Whether they are online or offline, their data is being protected, and it's happening immediately. The instant that files are created or changed, data is being protected.

Continuous file protection is number one. Backup policies are centralized and automated by the IT staff. That means that data is always protected, and the IT staff can configure those policies to support their organization's particular data protection goals.

Number two, no matter where they are, users can easily recover their own data. This is a really important point. Getting back to the concept of minimizing the burden to IT staff, DPNE has a simple, single-click menu. Users can recover multiple versions of a file without ever involving IT. They don't ever have to pick up the phone and call the Help Desk. That helps keep IT costs low.

Then, also by optimizing performance, we're eliminating that desire to opt out of your scheduled backup. The process is transparent to the user. It doesn’t impact their day, because DPNE saves and transmits only the changed data. So, the impact to performance is really minimized.

DPNE has a local repository on each client and we established that to store active files. Whether you're connected to the network or not, data is captured and backed up locally to this local repository. This is important for accidental deletions or changes or even managing multiple versions of a file. You're able to go to the menu, click, and restore a file from a previous version at any point in time, without ever having to call IT.

Each client is then assigned to a network repository or data vault inside the network. That holds the backup files that are transferred from the client, and that data vault uses essentially any Windows file share.

The third element is a policy server that allows IT staff to administer the overall system management from just a single web interface, and the centralized administration allows them to do file protection policies and set encryption policies, data vault policies, to their particular specifications.

Finding the cure

Ferguson: Roswell Park Cancer Institute is the oldest cancer research center in the United States. We're focused on understanding, preventing, and eventually finding the cure for cancer. We're located in downtown Buffalo, NY. We have research, scientific, and educational facilities, and we also have a 125-bed hospital here.

Our researchers and scientists are frequently published in major studies, reported globally, for various types of cancers, and with related research studies. A number of breakthroughs in cancer prevention and treatment have been developed here. For example, the PSA test, which is used for detecting prostate cancer, was invented here.

The real challenge is that data is moving around. When you are dealing with researchers and scientists, they work at different schedules than the rest of us. When they are working, they are focused and that might be here, off campus, at home, whatever.

They've got their notebook PCs, their data is with them and they're running around and doing their work and finding their answers. With that data moving around and not always being on the network, the potential for the data loss of something that could be the cure for cancer is something that we take very seriously and very important to deal with

One of the big things was transparency to the user and being simple to use if they do need to use it. We were already in the process of making a decision to replace our existing overall backup solution with HP's Data Protector. So, it was just a natural thing to look at DPNE and it really fits the need terrifically.

There's total transparency to the user. Users don't even have to do anything. They're just going along, doing their work, and everything is going on in the background. And, if they need to use it, it's very intuitive and simple to use.

When people are working on something, they don't think to “save it,” until they're actually done with it. And, DPNE provides us that versioning saving. You can get old versions of documents. You can keep track of them. That's the type of thing that's not really done, but it's really important, and they don't want to lose it.

In terms of the overall Data Protector implementation, we're probably about 40 percent complete. The DPNE implementation will immediately follow that.

A good test run

We anticipate initially just getting our IT staff using the application and giving it a good test run. Then we'll focus on key individuals throughout the organization, researchers, the scientists, the CEO, CIO, the people with all the nice initials after their name, and get them taken care of. We'll get a full roll-out after that.

When it comes to federal regulations, it always is a rising tide, but we've got a good solution that we are now implementing and I think it puts us ahead of the curve.

Cravens: Information is continuing to explode and that's not going to stop. In addition to that, the workforce is only going to get more mobile. This problem definitely isn’t going to go away, and we need solutions that can address the flexibility and mobility of the workforce and be able to manage, as John mentioned, the increase in regulations.

HP Data Protector is very simple to implement. It snaps into your existing infrastructure. You don’t need any specialized hardware. All you need is a Windows machine for the policy server and some disk space for the data vault. You can download a 60-day trial version from It's a full-featured version, and you can work with that.

If you have a highly complex multi-site organization, then you might want to employ the services of HP’s Backup and Recovery Fast Track Services for Data Protector. They can help get a more complex solution up and running quickly and reduce the impact on your IT staff just that much sooner.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Gain more information on HP Data protection Notebook Extension. Follow on Twitter.
Access a Webcast with IDC's Laura DuBois on Avoiding Risk and Improving Productivity on PCs and Laptops.

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