Laptop computers are notorious for losing hard drives. I once joked to someone saying "I earn my 'bread and butter' supporting laptops. If I had to survive by supporting desktops, I'd starve to death." Though that was said jokingly, there is a lot of truth there.
The systems are portable, thus get banged around a lot compared to desktop systems. Laptops, by their very nature are prone to problems because of heat. The laptops have a lot of heat-producing components packed into a small area, so they don't have an easy time with heat dissipation. Over time, the high internal heat will degrade the components and kill the system. If a user puts the laptop down on a bed or other soft surface, it may also impede the cooling fans. Disaster will quickly result from this overheating. I've even seen the damage done to a laptop that was left on and put into the carrying case!
As most everyone knows, users should not be solely responsible for backing up their data. As IT professionals, we are responsible for protecting the data. Despite all the things we do in the IT world, data protection is paramount.
So what is the answer? One method is to use a product like Carbonite, for example. We have used Carbonite, and it works. Backups are very slow as it "dribbles" out the data so to not adversely impact the internet connection.
Another product that we've used is called In-Sync by a company named Druva. This product is our pick for corporate environments and allows for backup data to be stored off or on-site. We prefer on-site storage, as the IT Department can recover data very quickly if the laptop is lost or stolen. As with most backup products, the initial backup can take awhile, but subsequent backups are very fast. We are resellers for the In-Sync product and can answer questions you may have.
Our Picks - Laptop Backups