Keeping Your Data Safe - Synchronisation
The Nokia E50 is a business phone and as such it usually carries a lot of private information that should be protected. If the phone gets lost or stolen, we want to be sure that no one can access our private data. It is true that the E50 has excellent security settings. For example, one of its basic features is that it locks itself after certain time. In order to access the phone’s data you have to enter a security code to unlock it.
Keeping the data safe is only one part of the problem. Another part is to have your data available even if your device gets stolen. And this is where synchronisation comes into play.
Synchronisation process allows us to easily restore the lost data onto the new device. Since we are using many different platforms, the compatibility could be an issue. Fortunately, smart folks got together and developed a standard protocol for data synchronisation. It was initially called SyncML (Synchronisation Markup Language) but since 2006 we know it as OMA DS (Open Mobile Alliance Data Synchronisation)
The most of the modern phones, including the E50, can handle the SyncML (or OMA DS) protocol. This allows us to synchronise our devices with a compatible server using the OTA (Over The Air) method. There are several solutions available on the market. In this article we will explore two of them – Mobical and ZYB. Both are free and require minimal setup.
Mobical is a service provided by a Swedish company called Tactel. The web interface of Mobical is excellent, probably one of the best on the market. The synchronisation servers are a little bit slow but other than that it is probably the best choice considering the cost, support and performance ratio.
Mobical is very easy to configure on the E50. To set it up, go to Menu – Connectivity – Sync and create a new profile. All the needed information for setting up a new profile can be found from the Mobical website. With Mobical you can synchronise calendar, phonebook, notes and tasks.
ZYB is a synchronisation solution from Denmark. Zyb.com has, over the time, become a networking website offering much more than only mobile phone services. After you register, you can browse other people’s profiles, mark them as your contacts and take use of the social networking features. However, our main focus is on its synchronisation capabilities. Zyb can synchronise contacts, calendar and messages (SMS). Unfortunately there is no support for the notes and tasks synchronisation. One of its biggest advantages is the support for Google Calendar. Considering Google Calendar is one of the most popular online calendar applications, this might be a strong reason to use ZYB for data synchronisation.
Storing your data on a synchronisation server is an easy way how to have them available any time and anywhere. To sum up what synchronisation services can offer:
- they are platform-independent services; in fact, you don’t even need a computer to have your data secured; just sync them once a week and you’re done.
- they provide you with a web interface very similar to a common desktop organiser; you can add a note, task, appointment or contact, edit them with a QWERTY keyboard and sync them back to your device.
- they act as a second place to store backups; we all know that pc hard disk can fail.
- they make switching and synchronising devices easy; in case your phone dies, just configure the sync profile on the E50, synchronise it, and all your data is there again.
- if you do the synchronisation of your device, you should keep in mind the costs for data transfer; during one of the tests, 180KB of data was transferred doing a full synchronisation of the device (200 appointments, 250 contacts, 30 long notes).
- time zones get messy with some service providers; I’m located in the GMT-3 zone and when I sync using any of the mentioned services, they automatically switch to the GMT zone; therefore, there is a 3 hours delay and all my appointments are 3 hours late (e.g. appointment scheduled for 09:00 is moved to 12:00); since this happened with all of tested services, I understand that it is a carrier.
- if you decide to go with a server synchronisation, keep in mind that your personal information travels over the air; this could possibly be a security and privacy issue but since all the web interfaces are accessed via secure protocol, I don’t see this as a problem.
There are other services like O-Sync or GSMSync. I haven’t been able to test them as much I would like to so I didn’t cover them in this article. I’ve been testing Mobical and ZYB for some months now, and I found them to be really good solutions. When I bought my E50 (after my Siemens S65 died on me), I just configured synchronisation settings and synced my device. The E50 makes synchronising very easy.
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