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By Ben Puzzuoli, Director Sales & Marketing at DataDepositBox
Data Deposit Box Cloud Backup Expert Tips: What is Mapped Cloud Backup Server Drive?
One of the most useful features you get when your personal computer is connected to a network is the ability to access files on the drives of other machines using mapped drives. A mapped drive is typically a place on a networked computer’s storage system (hard drive) that has been given a special name and it can be given certain permissions for access by particular users or groups.
When a drive is mapped to your local machine, it is visible to you as if it were just another drive. Many enterprises use mapped drives to share information across the network as well as to backup information from diverse local systems to a centrally managed storage drive.
Many cloud backup service providers support mapped drives and, depending on how your backup and recovery process works, you may want specific capabilities. One approach is to map the online backup server to the local machine so that the backup drive appears to be a drive on the local machine. Users can then access this as a shared network storage for common files as well as recover files from a backup in the event of a data loss. On a Windows system, the mapped online backup server drive can be navigated via the Windows explorer and on Mac systems, the drive can be accessed using the MacOS Finder.
This type of mapped drive is useful when you want to let the user access the storage for example with an application, such as Microsoft Word, and directly open, change and save files on the remote drive. For instance, users can open a backed up word document using Microsoft Office running on their local machine. The files can be modified with a version then saved onto the mapped drive. Similarly, files can be deleted or more files can be copied onto the mapped drive from the local machine by using Windows drag and drop or copy-paste functionality. This makes it really easy to manage files across local and remote storage though some operations will be effected by the available bandwidth on the network.
For security purposes, the mapped drive can be restricted to specified machines and users in the organization and it will then remain invisible to other users. If the files are stored in an encrypted format, then the backed up files and folders on the mapped drive can only be accessed with the relevant encryption key. Unauthorized users will not have access to the files and folders if they do not have the encryption/decryption key. As well, a log of users’ activities on the mapped drive can be maintained separately for audit and tracking.
Mapped drive support features can vary from one online backup service provider to another. Most providers offer standard features such as drive viewing, drag and drop as well as other read-write functions. More advanced mapped drive support may include support for backup of open/locked files to the mapped drive, which can be very useful for business applications that are rarely shut down.
The other approach that involves mapped drive support is used to protect multiple systems such as individual PCs and laptops on a local network by automatically backing them up to a local server as well as the online repository. Here, the online backup service controls the process and each of the multiple systems becomes a mapped drive on the local server. Backing up data from the mapped drives is now no different from backing up data from any local drive on the server to the online repository. The user, or administrator, selects the files and folders to be backed up from the mapped drives creating a backup set for each of the multiple systems. Some services make this really easy with a management console or setup wizard to configure the backups and even ensure they will happen when the user is logged off.
At Data Deposit Box, we believe that small and mid-sized business users should have an easy way to protect their data with online backup services. Mapped drive support is just one of the many ways we make sure this is simple and effective. Not only does our service let you select mapped drives for backup — even when they are running on other operating systems such as Linux — but you can securely access and share stored files from any internet connection without the hassle or cost of a VPN.
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