Mobile Backup Services Available, but Are They Used?

Carl Weinschenk

It would make sense if more people paid attention to the loss or theft of their cell phones. After all, according to In-Stat numbers quoted in this Computerworld story, 8 million phones are lost each year. That's more than 21,000 a day. The story, which doesn't say whether those are worldwide or U.S.-only numbers, adds that 700,000 of them are smartphones.


Despite that high number, the piece says even corporate users pay little attention. Many corporate users -- and their employers -- only awaken to the importance of backing up corporate data after an incident. The bulk of the story describes methods and services to keep the annoyance of losing a device from morphing into a corporate crisis.


If the number of approaches available indicate interest in the topic, though, maybe people are paying attention. It seems counterintuitive that so many services would exist without demand. The truth may that the services simply are being underutilized. Regardless of where the reality lies, there seem to be ample data protection and syncing schemes available from service providers and third parties.


Sprint Nextel positions its services more as a customer-retention tool than a money maker. The service provider sells discreet backup products -- the story mentions MyAddressBook -- and the Sprint Mobility Management Suite, an enterprise-level service that includes synchronization and backup among other features.


Third-party services from Seven Networks, Visto and FusionOne generally are easy to use, but may have trouble syncing with mobile systems, the story says.


This article at is valuable for a couple of reasons. It questions the legality of backing up or transferring copyrighted and license-protected materials between devices. The story says that MightyBackup 3.0 is the first service that enables data transfer without breaking these laws, though it doesn't say precisely what makes its service legal while the others aren't. The piece also provides the names of other third-party backup services: Zyb, Sprite Backup, CallBackup and Mobyko. SimShield is a UK-based service and Resco Backup aims at Palm PDAs.


More possibilities can be found in this GoUpstate piece. A JupiterResearch analyst is paraphrased to the effect that 60 percent of the 9 million smartphone users sync via cables to their PCs. Traditional cell phones can be backed up in this way as well. The writer says that Snap-Sync and DataPilot can be used for traditional cell phones.


Still more possible backup and syncing approaches are mentioned in this Arizona Republic story. In addition to services mentioned in the other stories, the piece describes Verizon's Backup Assistant and VoiceDial from AT&T. The story also mentions CellStik, Handset Manager and Backup-Pal.


The bottom line is that there are many methods available for syncing and otherwise preserving data from cell phones, smartphones and other mobile devices. Whether people avail themselves of these tools, however, is a matter of corporate policy and personal discipline.

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