Enterprise Mobile Device Backup and Restore Capabilities - dummies

Enterprise Mobile Device Backup and Restore Capabilities

By Rich Campagna, Subbu Iyer, Ashwin Krishnan, Mark Bauhaus

The ability to backup and restore mobile devices is an essential part of a well rounded security profile. Many mobile device OS vendors already offer some version of backup and restore, but these are enabled driven by users. You need an enterprise-grade backup and restore capability that you can control.

A top-grade enterprise solution that RIM (Research In Motion) offers as part of their BlackBerry Enterprise Server automates backup and restore, as the BlackBerry Enterprise Server automatically syncs over the air with the BlackBerry devices and provides you with the ability to back up the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. (Typically, it’s on secure premises.)

In fact, RIM is even extending this traditional enterprise server—based backup to the actual individual users so the users can take the matter into their own hands.

My BlackBerry Protect.
My BlackBerry Protect.

The basic components of any backup and restore capability should

  • Be able to do backups of device data at a predefined frequency using over-the-air technology (as well as local backups when possible).

  • Be able to do restore of device data on demand using both over-the-air technology as well as a local connection.

There are a variety of ways you can provide this support, which are explained as follows:

Backup and restore solutions.
Backup and restore solutions.
  • Vendor supported: The BlackBerry fits nicely into this category, and very little mental exercise is required from you when you adopt this option. However, most devices don’t support this option.

  • Provider supported: Increasingly, carriers are starting to provide this as a service offering, and you may be able to capitalize on this by entering into agreements with operators and getting this provided as a managed service offering.

  • End-user supported: This relies on end users regularly using the supported options to back up their mobile devices. However, as noted earlier, the backup is typically local to their desktops and laptops only, so this solution in turn relies on your (hopefully) existing enterprise backup of their local machines to enterprise backup servers thereby backing up their device backups. Wow! That sounds convoluted, and it is.

    You should not adopt an end-user–supported option as your primary backup solution because it relies on end-user best practices, and while the workforce education is getting better all the time, relying on an informed workforce to guarantee backups is simply not recommended.

    Ultimately, you are responsible for protecting your company asset — the intellectual property — and need to exercise controls to do so. Therefore, you need to have backup solutions that can be scheduled, archived, and audited by you (and your stakeholders).