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Code42 Support

Considerations For Defining Your Backup Policies

Applies to:
  • CrashPlan PROe
CrashPlan’s default backup settings are based on real-life data management experience in a wide array of environments, and they serve as a solid foundation when setting the backup policies for your users. However, every business has unique circumstances that may require customized settings for their Code42 environment. This article provides considerations to take into account when defining what, how, and where data is backed up. For assistance with defining your backup policies, contact Sales for information on our consulting options.

What to back up

CrashPlan is designed for endpoint backup and works best when backing up user data. By default, CrashPlan is set to back up the entire user home directory, which is where most users keep their files. In most cases, we recommend using the default file selection. However, there are some scenarios in which you may wish to add or remove files from the default selection.

Adding files to the default file selection

You may wish to add directories to the default file selection if:

  • Your corporate device image is configured to keep user data outside of the user's home directory
  • Additional user data routinely lives outside the user home directory

Excluding files from your file selection

Excluding files from backup increases the risk of missing something that may be important. However, there may be cases where it is desirable to exclude certain file types or directories:

  • Media
    • If you have limited storage or certain compliance requirements, you may wish to exclude media. You can exclude:
      • Certain directories such as the system's default Music or Video folders
      • Specific media file types
    • If you have an unlimited plan or high storage capacity, we recommend including media. If you have concerns about bandwidth consumption, there are a number of ways to address bandwidth concerns more directly, while still protecting those types of files.
  • Directories that don't typically house business data (e.g., C:\Personal)

Soft and hard links

  • CrashPlan backs up soft links, but not the target of the soft link.
    • If you back up a soft link with CrashPlan, only the link is backed up--not the target of the soft link.
    • Windows utilizes soft links for folder redirection, which can be used to move the location of folders to another location or drive.
    • We recommend being aware of soft links in your backup selections.
  • CrashPlan follows hard links when examining your drive for files to back up.
    • CrashPlan can take more time to process backup selections when they include many hard links.
    • CrashPlan's de-duplication feature prevents data with hard links from occupying redundant storage space.
    • Some software and utilities, such as Apple's Time Machine utility, use hard links to accomplish their tasks.
    • We recommend that you avoid including hard links in your backup selections.

System files

We strongly recommend excluding system and application files from backup, as backing up these types of files could prevent user-created data from backing up efficiently. These types of files are excluded under the default backup file selection.

CrashPlan prioritizes its to-do list based on file size and creation date, which means that small, frequently-changing files such as system files are backed up before other files in the backup selection. This can prevent backup from fully completing, or significantly increasing the time required for backup completion.

Open files & databases

Rather than relying on application-specific "hooks," we recommend backing up application "dumps" (that is, exported or copied versions) to increase the efficiency and consistency of your backups and restores from these types of files. Creating an application dump saves a snapshot of the application's internal files. Then, use the CrashPlan app to back up the dumped files.

Be aware of these limitations on backing up common types of open files and databases, such as SQL databases, virtual machines, Act! databases, Outlook PST files, or Exchange databases.

How to back up

CrashPlan is very flexible, allowing you to configure backup settings to work best with your network, compliance requirements, and users' usage patterns.

Performance

CrashPlan is designed to operate in the background so that backup is invisible to your users and system resources are optimized for user needs:

  • CrashPlan runs at lowest system priority.
  • Default settings further restrict the percentage of CPU that CrashPlan is allowed to use. There are separate CPU settings based on whether the user is active (engaging with the keyboard or mouse) or away.
  • On laptop computers, CrashPlan is configured by default to stop backing up when the laptop's battery reaches 20% or less. The CrashPlan app won't use up battery life when users need it the most.
Performance testing
When doing performance testing, we strongly recommend increasing allowed CPU to 100% when both present and away to remove restrictions placed upon CrashPlan's performance.

Bandwidth

There are several ways that CrashPlan can back up while not saturating your network. If you have significant bandwidth constraints, we recommend updating settings in the listed order, until you've found the optimal configuration for your users and your network.

  1. Set CrashPlan's TCP packet QoS (preferred)
    • Gives other types of traffic such as VoIP or video conferencing priority over backup traffic
    • Ensures your users are continuously protected
    • Your switches must support QoS
  2. Limit CrashPlan's transfer rate
    • Ensures your users are continuously protected
    • You can choose different settings based on whether the backup destination is on your LAN or across the WAN (CrashPlan PROe only)
  3. Restrict backup schedule
    • Restrict the time of day where CrashPlan is allowed to run
    • Users are not continuously protected
    • Recommended only as a last resort if you cannot utilize QoS on your network, and bandwidth throttling is unable to meet your needs

Network restrictions

You can control which network interfaces or which wi-fi networks that CrashPlan is allowed to use for backup. Restricting wi-fi networks or network interfaces is a great way to avoid mobile data overage charges if your users connect their computers to mobile data networks and have limited data plans.

  • For hot spots, exclude wi-fi networks by name
  • For USB modems, exclude the network interface

You can also use wi-fi network restrictions to prevent users from backing up while connected to networks with limited bandwidth, such as your corporate guest wi-fi network.

Frequency, versions, and deleted files

By default, CrashPlan provides continuous data protection for unlimited file versions and unlimited retention of deleted files. However, there are some use cases where the defaults may not be appropriate for your organization or for a subset of your users:

Unlimited storage plan
If you have an unlimited storage plan, then we recommend using the default frequency and version retention settings; you will never be penalized for the size of your backup archives.

Where to back up

CrashPlan provides the ability to back up to multiple destinations. For best protection, we recommend backing up to more than one destination. A common scenario is to back up to one on-site destination for faster backups and restores, and one off-site destination for disaster recovery. Destinations can be configured by users or administrators.

Administrator-configured destinations

(CrashPlan PROe only)

  • Public cloud
  • Private cloud

See CrashPlan PROe Architectures for more information about constructing your Code42 environment.

User-configured destinations

  • Local folders such as external hard drives
  • (CrashPlan PROe only) Another computer device within a single user account
Reasons for user-configured destinations
  • Empower your users to augment their backups
  • Backup sets enable your users to back up additional personal files that are not allowed to co-mingle with their corporate backups in the public or private cloud
Reasons for disabling user-configured destinations (CrashPlan PROe only)
  • Compliance
  • Corporate control

Case study examples

Marketing firm

  • Industry: Information
  • Approximate number of users: 20
  • Endpoints: Windows
  • Solution type: CrashPlan for Small Business (previously CrashPlan PRO)
  • Backup file selection:
    • Include user's home directory
    • Exclude application data
    • Excluded file types:
      • System
      • MP3
      • Applications (EXE, MSI, etc.)
    • Users are allowed to change backup selection
    • Add Microsoft Outlook's default PST file location: C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.pst
  • Device backup settings:
    • Mostly utilizing software defaults
    • Some users utilizing backup to external drives
    • Users can change bandwidth throttling when working from home offices
    • Backup scheduled to only run after business hours

Corporate services company

  • Industry: Hospitality
  • Approximate number of users: 4500
  • Endpoints: Windows
  • Solution type: CrashPlan PROe public cloud with keys on-premises
  • Backup file selection:
    • Including C:\
    • Excluded file types:
      • System
      • mp3
      • Applications (EXE, MSI, etc)
    • Users are allowed to change backup selection
  • Device backup settings:
    • Most settings are locked
    • Users who work from a home office can change bandwidth throttling
    • Following Legal department's requirements for deleted file retention

Financial services company

  • Industry: Financial
  • Approximate number of users: 7500
  • Endpoints: Windows
  • Solution type: CrashPlan PROe public cloud with keys on-premises
  • Backup selection:
    • Included: User's home directory
    • Excluded: Directory called "Personal" where employees are instructed to place personal files that are not backed up.
  • Device backup settings:
    • Mostly utilizing software defaults
    • Following their legal department's requirements for deleted file retention
    • Most settings locked (CrashPlan PROe only)

Computer hardware manufacturing company

  • Industry: Manufacturing
  • Approximate number of users: 45,000
  • Endpoints: Mostly Windows 7, some Macs
  • Solution type: CrashPlan PROe Managed Private Cloud
  • Backup selection:
    • Include user's home directory
    • Exclude application data because previous solution didn't back up application data
    • Exclude common types of media files to manage storage costs
    • Add Microsoft Outlook's default PST file location: C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.pst
  • Device backup settings:
    • Using CrashPlan's defaults for all other settings
    • Settings are locked

Computer technology company

  • Industry: Technology
  • Approximate number of users: 80,000
  • Endpoints: Windows and Mac
  • Solution type: CrashPlan PROe Managed Private Cloud
  • Backup selection:
    • Included: Documents directory
    • Excluded:
      • Folders where employees are asked to place personal or confidential files
      • Audio and video files (e.g., MP3, AVI, MP4)
      • Disk image or virtual machine files (e.g., ISO, VDI, VMDK)
      • System, cache, and temp files
    • Users may change backup file selection to ensure that personal or confidential files are excluded
    • Employees may choose to add a local folder destination to their company-issued external hard drives
  • Device backup settings
    • Most settings locked, except backup file selection
    • Deleted file retention: 90 days, per their Legal department's requirements