The options for backing up and restoring data vary from one device to another. Most OS and device vendors offer software applications to facilitate the backup and restore features on their own devices.

If you’re looking to deploy backup and restore for your employees, you’re probably alarmed at the prospect of managing so many different applications. Gone are the days when everyone had a BlackBerry smartphone and all you needed to do was install and maintain the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Now, people use a wide variety of devices, including the popular iPhones and iPads and the increasingly popular Android devices.

It's clearly an administrative nightmare to handle each device with its own unique software application. What you need is an application that can backup data from different types of devices and restore to devices of all those types as well.

There are solutions available from vendors to manage mobile device policies, including backup and restore for all leading mobile device types. They're generally called mobile device management (MDM) solutions.

Below is a checklist of things to look for when you’re short-listing MDM solutions for deploying backup and restore to your company users.

Backup and Restore in MDM Solutions
What You Should Ask For What to Look For
Which mobile platforms does the MDM solution support? Obviously, the more platforms, the better. The platforms that must be supported include the Apple iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia Symbian.
What types of data can the MDM solution backup? Typically, you'll want to backup SMS, call logs, phone settings, bookmarks, apps, and user files.
Are there differences in how the solution handles devices from one mobile platform to another? Often, the features supported on one platform don’t apply to every other platform. Be sure you understand what can be baced up, and on what platform.
Is it possible to restore from one type of device to another type? It will help you a lot if the solution you deploy can restore from (say) an iPhone to an Android smartphone, or vice versa.
Where is the data stored? Because you’re looking to backup users’ mobile data and apps, it’s important to understand where the data will be stored. If the MDM product uses a cloud solution, be sure to understand its security and privacy models.
How long is the data stored? Be sure you understand how long the data will be stored. Many solutions offer a time-constrained backup. For example, backups retained longer than a certain time period (such as two years) may be purged automatically.