HP has announced a new tool it says can solve the worry of laptops that spend long periods out of the office with no backup regime in place.

The Data Protector Notebook Extension is designed to work in conjunction with the company's long-established Data Protector backup server, which manages a centralised repository to which protected data is transferred whenever the protected machine connects to the Internet.

The Notebook Extension software has a number of features that make it a useful way to protect data without the end user having to get involved in the actual backup process. Files are copied to a protected vault on the laptop on a continuous basis, even if the files are still in an open state. These files can be any kind of content, including Office files, images, videos, and even databases and large .PST email files.

The data is backed up without user intervention via the Internet using an encrypted format that compresses the data for added efficiency after de-duplication. Usefully, the continuous backup design makes retrieving multiple versions of a file, or very old files, easy without the need to involve the IT department in finding them.

"A lot of important data is now stored outside the corporate network," said HP's EMEA information management marketing director, Erik Moller. According to Moller, remarkably few of the 25 percent of company employees now working in a mobile way were protected by any sort of thought-through backup regime, leaving companies fatally exposed. "As soon as you save the file you want it to be protected."

A major advantage of the system was that companies could put in place a simple means for users to manage their own data retrieval without asking them to be responsible for the backup schedule itself. The server software allowed extensive policies to be set and integrated with Active Directory, but did give users the ability to tweak the policies to suit themselves as long as minimum protection policies were not breached.

The new software should appeal primarily to companies already using HP's Data Protector backup system, which is intended primarily for server and app backup within networks. However, HP seems keep to push the system at companies looking to use the software primarily for its mobile backup protection which might not have any investment in the company's current software.

Data Protector Notebook Extension costs 30 euros per user as a one-off fee (assuming 100 users), with the server-side Data Protector costing 1,500 euros per licence.