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RIM's in-house BlackBerry Protect beta

An in-depth look at Research in Motion's in-house protection beta application, BlackBerry Protect.
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By Zack Whittaker, Contributor on
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1 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
BlackBerry Protect is Research in Motion's in-house protection program, currently in beta, which allows BlackBerry users to manage their devices remotely from a web browser in case they lose their device.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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2 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
The application installs over the air or via the Desktop Manager and it's icon is in theme with the rest of the device. It could be provided as an in-built solution in upcoming BlackBerry OS releases.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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The program has its own mailbox which keeps the user informed of any changes, edits or need-to-know information.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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4 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
After you install the application, it guides you simply through the setup process and has key efforts in making the program user friendly.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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5 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
The BlackBerry Protect home screen gives you all the information you need to know. It allows you to edit the settings so that you can only backup with Wi-Fi (as to cut down on your data bills) and to prevent backups while roaming oversees (again, another data bill prevention method).
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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The main thing you'll be able to access and use from the device is the backup and restore feature. Even on a slow GPRS/EDGE connection, it will only take a maximum of 5 minutes to upload your data to a secure cloud hosted by RIM in Canada.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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BlackBerry Protect will backup your contacts, text messages, tasks, memo's, calendars and browser bookmarks and transmit them over-the-air securely to their cloud.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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The backup will not take very long; quicker if it is connected to a Wi-Fi network. You can run the backup in the background also to continue working on your other items.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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The support information gives you important information which can be used to troubleshoot a problem. It also tells you the OS version, the application version and which cloud server is holding your data.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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On the main screen next to the backup option, is the option to restore a previously backed up data file. This system is quick, effective, easy to use and packed full of options.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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Once you select the restore option, BlackBerry Protect will look into the cloud to see which files you have backed up and when, and retrieve a list of backups for you to restore.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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Here, if you have multiple BlackBerry devices linked to one BlackBerry ID, you can select which device you want to restore from. This is useful if you leave your work BlackBerry in the office over the weekend and you need to get something off it on your personal BlackBerry.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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From here you can select which backup to restore. This works in a similar way to shadow copies on a computer, in that you can look at different snapshots over a period of time and select the one that's applicable to your needs.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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Depending on whether you just want a specific item back from your backup or whether you are running low on data minutes for the month, you can pick and choose the data you want to restore.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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As an additional layer of security, you are prompted to enter in your BlackBerry ID password which is linked to your cloud backup and your devices. This is to prevent unauthorised access to your cloud-held data.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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Within seconds, BlackBerry Protect will start restoring your items bit by bit.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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It may take a bit more time to restore your data than backing up as it needs to not only download it (over the air through your mobile network or over Wi-Fi if you have it available) but also to put it back onto your device.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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18 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
Everything from your contacts, your tasks, memo's, text messages and browser bookmarks can be retrived over the air in a matter of minutes.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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Depending on how large your data backups are, it may take longer to download and install the backup onto your device. You'll find though that even with huge databanks of contacts and text messaging data, it is done very quickly - almost unexpectedly quickly.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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Once the restore is done, you can either close or review the details of the data recovery.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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If something has failed to restore for whatever reason, it will be displayed here. This screen gives the user nothing more than peace of mind that the device has successfully restored data from the cloud backup.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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Once a restore has been done, or sometimes every so often for security (and the times when you change your password and need to reauthenticate), the application will re-sync your BlackBerry ID to ensure that the user is in fact the user.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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23 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
There are not many settings for the application as BlackBerry Protect from the device view offers very little except backup and restore. The portal on the other hand gives the user a set of more tools which more often than not are unbeknown to the user.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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This is where the real magic happens: the BlackBerry Protect portal, which gives you plenty of options to restore your device whether it's lost, stolen or misplaced. Login using a BlackBerry ID which you create from your device.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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25 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
The main features here enable you to restore your lost BlackBerry device, either with a loud ring (if you've left it somewhere in the office or your house), locking the device, a GPS tracker, a message display utility, a remote backup and restore feature - and of course, a remote wipe system. Users of Windows Mobile and Exchange services will know of this feature already.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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If you have lost your device, you can pinpoint exactly where it is. GPS will be enabled by this feature even if the handheld setting is turned off, and will precisely locate your device if it is in line of sight of GPS satellites. If it isn't, location/network assistance will be used to give a ballpark area of where your device is, usually within 200 metres.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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As you can see here, my BlackBerry device is located in my office on the University of Kent campus and gives me a good idea of where to look. You can zoom in on the map (the map uses Microsoft's Bing Maps/Virtual Earth) right down to the street level and work out where it is.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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The loud ring feature allows the user to send out a loud ring to their mobile device. By selecting this tool, it automatically changes the profile on the BlackBerry to its loudest and gives off a ringtone to help you find the device - that is, if it's within your proximity and it's behind the sofa or something. Disable it by the portal tool or by pushing any button on your now-found BlackBerry.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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If you do misplace your device and just by luck somebody picks it up, you can not only lock the screen to prevent anyone else using it (keep clicking to the right --> ) but you can freeze an image on the background of your screen with a customised message.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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On a side note, the device via portal interaction is very detailed. Both the portal and the device application keep you very much in the loop and provide you detailed information of what is happening and when.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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31 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
Back on track now, and the message that you sent to the device will display on the screen replacing your desktop wallpaper, and with a deep-red colour background. This alerts the person with your device - and who knows - if you can offer a £20 return insentive, perhaps you'll get your phone back without getting into trouble from your boss?
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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To remove the message from your background, simply open up the BlackBerry Protect application in your device's menu and it'll clear the screen for you. Even if you don't clear the screen, the owner from the portal can still continue to send messages to the phone to display on the home screen to appeal to the good nature of the person with your BlackBerry.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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If your BlackBerry has particularly sensitive data on it and you don't use a password (shame on you!) or you just want to protect your device if it's gone-a-wandering, you can remotely set a password. As soon as it goes through, it'll lock your phone remotely so the person with your BlackBerry cannot use it.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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As soon as you set a password and the device confirms that it has been set, the portal user will be informed.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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35 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
The password dialog will immediately be displayed, even if the person with your phone was mid-way through something (probably looking at your naughty text messages?). All they will be able to do is make an emergency call. If you use this in line with the aforementioned remote message display tool, this works well to get your phone back.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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36 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
Of course, if the worst comes to the worst, just like Windows Mobile and Exchange users can do, you can remotely wipe the device. Consider this your kill switch for your BlackBerry. You'll be able to backup your device before you do it though, and if it fails it will ask you again if you want to wipe it - just to be on the safe side.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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The portal's backup and restore utility allows you to remotely backup and restore your BlackBerry. While you cannot restore your backed up data from the portal (you can from your device: it's a security measure which if you think about it, it makes sense), you can restore that backup to a new BlackBerry device.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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38 of 39 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET
The portal's backup utility can display a progress meter of how far your backup is going or has gone. You can continue to use the portal in the background though, as this is merely a courtesy message. The backup will continue to run, even if you dismiss this message.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.
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This final screen shows which device you have attached to your account. You can link your current BlackBerry device, backup everything you have from the device onto the cloud storage server, link a new BlackBerry device and restore it again.
To read more about BlackBerry Protect, read the post over on the iGeneration blog.

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