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Backup of mobile data: What is a good testing strategy?

Working remotely can cause a backup and recovery issue for your organization. For improved security of mobile data, test its backup and restore capabilities.

Remote working has become a fact of life. For some, this means working at home or permanently being out of the office; for others, it means constantly being on the move and connected to disparate corporate or public networks. For users with no direct connection to the data center, mobile working represents a problem for backup and recovery.

A backup of mobile data can be difficult to achieve, as the time users are connected to the corporate network can be unpredictable and potentially short term in nature. Today's backup offerings have to cater to these scenarios, using multiple techniques to ensure potentially critical corporate data is identified and secured.

Of course, restore goes hand in hand with the backup process and, as with all backups, there's no more critical time for validating than when data has been corrupted or lost. So it makes sense to validate that the process for a backup of mobile data is working before a critical restore needs to take place. The simplest way to achieve this is to create mobile test data. Examples include:

  • Taking random photos on a mobile device.
  • Creating a spreadsheet or document.
  • Adding data to a local application.

To test a restore, a few additional pieces of information are needed:

  1. How often does a backup of mobile data and associated devices happen? This process may be assigned based on policy set by backup administrators and could be dependent on network connectivity, so it's worth checking out what corporate standards are in place.
  2. What checks can I perform to show that my data has been backed up? Does the remote device have a local log, or is there some other direct indication to show that a backup of mobile data has been completed?

With this information in mind, testing a restore needs to occur after the backup of mobile data has taken place. The first check (after creating test documents) is to see if the test files have been backed up successfully. The next step is to validate that restore also works. This becomes a simple case of deleting the test data and attempting to restore using the standard process for the mobile device.

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