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I think you need to have both automatic backup in place and remote wipe. I would also forbid use of personal backup services like Dropbox for company data.
More backup software is also starting to address mobile BYOD concerns and not just employees' personal laptops. Commvault Simpana, Asigra, and Druva InSync all support mobile backup.
This article from ComputerWeekly on this topic may be of interest. http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/BYOD-policy-and-the-data-protectio...