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How do laptop and mobile device backup compare?

Can you describe the different issues involved with laptops, phones and tablets specifically, and mobile device backup in general?

In comparing laptop and mobile device backup, let's start with phones and tablets. The biggest challenge with phones and tablets is that their "file system" is not what we normally expect in a file system. Everything is kind of sandboxed, if you will. If I'm using an iPad and write something in Pages and have some sort of backup app on the iPad, it can't back up the Pages data. Android allows for a little better cross-application communications, and Windows, even in its tablet form, it's essentially a Windows device.

In the past, the lack of good mobile device backup was not a big issue because these were generally content-consumption devices. All you have to do is look at the number of keyboard options available for iPad to know people are creating content on these devices and that content isn't being backed up. Now it is becoming a big issue.

That's a challenge, frankly, for the device manufacturers, specifically Apple. I like iPads and iOS, but that can be a reason to not allow it in the enterprise unless you have a policy that says if you create content on your device, you have to get it onto the system. You have to get it out of the application sandbox onto the system.

In my opinion, backing up laptops is no different from backing up desktops. That's a pretty well-vetted technology now. Phones and tablets are going to be a problem, though, in terms of mobile device backup.

Next Steps

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This was last published in October 2014

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