I remember growing up (boy do I feel old) when phones were the size of bricks and a PC in every house was a fantasy. Fast forward to the present and phones are now “smart” and PC’s are everywhere. Even more surprising is the amount of work we actually do on our phones but this in itself causes unforeseen problems. What happens when you lose it?
If you lose a phone today and it is not locked down (and most aren’t) you would give someone access to your contacts, emails and all your data. In a personal scenario that would be bad but in a business situation that could be devastating. With a few simple tricks though you can avoid that ever happening.
1. Use a passcode to access your phone
It is actually scary how many people don’t have this in place. A lot of people use a swipe gesture, which is better than nothing, but compared to a passcode is easier to crack.
2. Use a passcode to access certain apps on your phone
I use Dropbox on my phone which accesses all my data (personal and work). The Dropbox app allows me to configure security in the form of a 4 digit passcode so if anyone wants access to all my data they would have to enter the passcode. Even better is the ability to wipe the data off the phone if someone enters the passcode incorrectly 10 times. There are numerous apps that allow this form of security in one form or another. For example the PC Monitor app (which is great by the way) also allows a 4 digit passcode to be setup.
One thing to note is that you should configure different passcodes for individual apps rather than have the same one across all apps (and login). This way if someone does manage to break into the phone they would still have to break into individual apps to get at your data.
3. Use encryption
If you don’t store data in the cloud but on your phone then encryption is a must. Encryption is also a must if you store other peoples information on your phone. Encryption comes as standard on all Android phones (but is turned off by default) and also iPhones. Once turned on no one will be able to access anything on the phone without the decryption key (passcode).
4. Remote wipe
In a business environment I would strongly suggest you install an app which allows you to remotely wipe your smartphone if you ever lose it. If you have implemented the above measures then chances are your data is secure but remotely wiping a lost phone makes sure. Personally on my HTC Desire 500 (great phone) I use BitDefender Mobile Security which along with the usual virus scanner has Anti-Theft security built in. This means I can go to a website and locate my phone by GPS but even better is the ability to remotely wipe it meaning all the data on the phone gets erased. If you use an iPhone a good choice would be to sign up to FindMyiPhone which allows the same thing.
One thing I would like to mention here is that although this article is aimed primarily at smartphones the same measures should also be taken with tablets. They can be just as easily lost as a smartphone with access to just as much data.
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