With the amount of data being stored on portable devices these days and the price of data storage becoming more affordable than ever, protecting the gigabytes of data we keep on our devices becomes an unquestionable necessity. There are various ways to protect our data and the most prominent method is having a sound backup strategy. There are a few simple rules to follow in order to accomplish this:

1) Backup regularly. The frequency depends on how much your data changes on an ongoing basis and the value of your data.

2) Test your backups. Testing your backups means restoring individual files or your entire device and thoroughly testing the restore to ensure that the data is still good and the device is still functional after the restore.

3) Create a simple to use and repeatable process for backing up and restores. Creating a process around your restores allows you to go through the entire exercise so that in the event you have to restore, you will be better prepared to address the emergency and know what to expect during the restoration process.

There are various applications and tools available to help accomplish backup nirvana and Sprite Backup has been a heavy-weight contender in this arena.

Sprite Mobile Ltd. provides solutions for mobile device backup, cloning, device management and data purging. With Sprite Backup, accomplishing your sound backup strategy becomes almost a no-brainer!

Sprite Backup is a device and data backup solution that is packed with powerful features including:

  • Full Backup – All your important device data – contacts, SMS, applications, settings and much more!
  • Supports ALL WM5 & WM6 Devices – Smartphone AND Pocket PC
  • Off-device Backup – Sprite Backup allows you to backup to external memory cards
  • Exclusive 1step Backup – Trigger a new backup simply by selecting our 1step backup icon.
  • NEW Sprite PC Manager – Easy setup & instant data protection from your PC.
  • Sprite Explorer – PC Tool for browsing and extracting backup file contents
  • Move your data with Recover Mode – Restore to a different device or after a ROM Upgrade
  • NEW Support for WM6 Storage Card encryption – Access ALL your data after a hard reset
  • Full & Custom Backup and Restore operations – offers complete control
  • Self-Extracting Backup Files – Restore backups without re-installing
  • Automatic Scheduled Backup – ensures up to date content protection
  • Automatic Backup File Management – Optimize storage space used

Managing backups on your device is quite simple. The main interface presents you with various functions including:

· Backup. This is the backup wizard to initiate a backup and is meant to be a one-step backup feature with minimal prompts.

· Restore. The restore wizard searches for backups on your device and presents the found backups for the user to select.  Once a backup is selected, the restore Sprite Backup will continue with the restore process.

· Custom Backup. Allows the user to select individual files for backup. This is a manual process for those who wish to perform a more customized backup.

· Schedule. Allows the user to schedule backups on the device.

· Options. Sets up various useful options for compressing backups, automatic file naming, excluding storage cards from the backup selection, registry checks for corruptions, backup results on-display, number of backup files to keep, maximum size for backup files, exclusion rules, data migration, PC network settings, security and history reports.

The one-step backup and restore wizards makes the use of Sprite Backup effortless. Once you have your settings in place for your one-step backup, the settings are saved (such as password and location of destination backup file) and never have to be entered again. Since I use the automatic naming feature, each backup I take will be uniquely named with a date, therefore preventing possible overwrites of a previous backup.

Once the backup process begins, a soft reset needs to be performed. For users with password protected devices, Sprite Backup will prompt users to either enter their passwords manually after the reboot or to bypass the device lock so that the application can get past the password screen and begin backups automatically.

Some important notes about backups:

1) You should have a data retention period for your backups. Not having a retention limitation can easily accumulate to a lot of storage space and eventually fill up your storage card. However, using the PC management console for Sprite Backup will help avoid the limitations of storage card capacity. Backing up via FTP or network will help avoid storage management issues as well.

2) Password protect your backups. If for some reason your backup files fall into the wrong hands, password protection will help mitigate the risk of exposing sensitive data.

3) If you backup your device to a storage card, always copy the backup from your device to a storage medium at home or on a PC somewhere. If your device gets stolen or lost, at least your backups will be safely stored elsewhere. This rule should also apply to any other data on your device that is not backed up (such as files and folders on your storage card).

4) Secure FTP is NOT supported. Please make sure you push your backups within a secured LAN or encrypted network (such as VPN). Enabling ‘FTP Backup’ will allow backup and restore to and from an ‘FTP’ location that is accessible via ActiveSync or via a TCP/IP network.

One of the great features of Sprite Backup is to let your PC manage and configure your backups. Using the PC options console, you can configure most of the same settings as the Sprite Backup options on the device. Not only can configuration settings be changed but backups and restores can be launched from the PC as well. Please note that the settings on the PC and those on the device are independent of each other. Therefore, backup options on the PC do not impact the backup settings set up on the device and vice versa.

The following are screenshots of the PC console and its counterpart on the device settings:

Figure A. Backup Options (top screen shows the PC console and bottom screen shows the device console)

Figure B. Restore Options (top screen shows the PC console and bottom screen shows the device console)

Overall performance of backups and restores are clearly within my expectations. My backups can range from 4-9 minutes and restores can take a little longer which is worth every minute for a disaster recovery plan. I have yet to try the FTP or TCP/IP backups so I cannot report on those features, but for “geeks-sake” I will look into these when time permits and report on my findings.

Two other interesting features of Sprite Backup are the Restore “Upgrade” (see Figure B PC console screen) feature and the Sprite Explorer tool. The Restore “Upgrade” features allows restoration of a backup to the same device with a different ROM (usually an upgraded ROM) or to a different device entirely.  While this is an unpopular move by most device users, it is an interesting and perhaps useful function for those who do not wish to reinstall applications or data after a ROM or device change.  The Sprite Explorer tool is reminiscent of Symantec’s Ghost Explorer tool.  Sprite Explorer allows browsing of your Sprite Backup EXE files so that you can review the details of the backups and restore individual files to your PC.  Sprite Explorer will also identify which version of Sprite Backup was used for the creation of the EXE file.  When browsing a password protected EXE backup file, Sprite Explorer will prompt for the correct password before revealing the contents.

As an evangelist for information security and availability, I am definitely a proponent for mobile device backups and Sprite Backup can certainly fill that void with industry experience, quality software solutions and a user-friendly interface.  The brains behind Sprite Software has been in the backup industry since the late ‘90s as I recall deploying Binary Research’s Ghost solution (before it was bought by Symantec) to our infrastructure.  With that being said, you’re in good hands with Sprite Backup!  I’ve been using Sprite Backup for several years now and I can say that this is as good as it gets for a feature-rich and reliable backup solution.  Pre-existing owners and owners with Sprite Backup pre-installed on their HTC or Palm device are entitled to special upgrade pricing.  Please visit http://www.spritesoftware.com for more information.

Version 6.5.48 was just released as of 02.04.09 with the following changes:

  • Removed some smaller GUI issues
  • Fixed a compatibility issue with the Samsung Omnia
  • Removed unnecessary warning messages
  • New icon for PC Manager
  • Update of all additional language packs

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