Hypothesizing a Windows Intune backup client.

It’s well known that a substantial percentage of organizational data is stored on client computers. Some estimates suggesting that between 20 and 40% of important organizational documents are stored locally on client hard drives rather than on file servers, SharePoint sites, or other locations where IT departments are easily able to perform backup operations. The problem with this data is that unless it’s backed up to the server, or the owner of the computer backs it up, it won’t be protected.

While products like System Center Data Protection Manager provide the capacity to perform regular backups of client data, DPM doesn’t work with devices running OS X, Android, Windows RT, or iOS. More importantly, you can’t use DPM to protect data on non-domain joined computers.

In addition to the well known challenges that BYOD already provides to organizations, protecting the data stored on these devices is an additional one that has received scant attention. If people are going to be working on organizational data on their client machines, organizations can’t assume that they’ll diligently keep them aligned with the new workfolders. We can already see that in environments with file shares and domain joined computers that many people already keep organizational data in places that can’t easily be backed up, so while workfolders is one solution for protecting BYOD data, it won’t be a complete one unless you can force users to only keep important data in those specific locations.

My suspicion is that the eventual solution may be Windows Intune related. Windows Intune already supports deploying software, anti-malware monitoring, and client inventory of non-domain joined computers and mobile devices. It doesn’t support client backup, but this seems to be an obvious future feature if only because it’s so useful. Get Backup into the Windows Intune client and it will be a much more complete cloud management system and it will solve the problem of backing up wayward client data in BYOD environments.

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IT pro Orin Thomas provides true tales, snafus, news, and urban legends for Microsoft Windows system administrators.

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Orin Thomas

Orin Thomas is a contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and a Windows Security MVP. He has authored or coauthored more than a dozen books for Microsoft Press, and he writes the Hyperbole,...
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