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What security should you have on your smartphone?

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.

Stay safe!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

 

What do you use your smartphone for?


I had a lively debate with a client last week over smartphones.  His stance was that he should upgrade his Samsung Galaxy S3 to the new S4 on ‘work grounds’ meaning he would be able to accomplish much more work on it. “What type of work are you hoping to do on it?” I asked him. “Not sure yet but doing work on your phone is the way it is all heading”. Needless to say I couldn’t win this argument when faced with that kind of logic!!

However this did get me thinking about my current smartphone, the Blackberry Bold 9780, and what I actually use it for.  At the moment my phone along with my Blackberry Playbook and Asus EeePC 701 form my ‘mobile office’.   Between them I can carry out any task I need to but if broken down I would say I use the Blackbery Bold for the following:

1.Emails

This is the Blackberries stomping ground. Reading and composing emails on the phone is a breeze especially with the ability to delete them off the server or just the handset.

2. Social Media

Updating Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN on the phone is easy enough and very handy on the move.

3. Internet

From lounging on the sofa to checking specific issues at a clients premises having the ability to check the internet from the phone is invaluable.

4. Calls

It even does the bog standard stuff too!!

5. Dropbox

All my company files (along with my personal ones) are in Dropbox. The ability to quickly check my customer accounts on the move for addresses, telephone numbers etc is fantastic and makes my working life so much easier.

6. Tethering to my Playbook

When out of wifi range the phone makes a really good modem to the internet allowing me to use the bigger screen on the Playbook.

So that is what I use my smartphone for.  Now over to you, what do you use yours for?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

The PC in your pocket


Now I already know that that the newest smartphones on the market are pretty powerful and can do almost everything that a user would need however there are times when a full desktop or laptop fits the bill rather better. Trying to type a document on a smartphone can be rather tedious when compared to a laptop with its full office suite (whether it be Microsoft office, Libreoffice or something else).

Now with processing power and memory increasing every year on smartphones I think we have reached the point where they are approaching the processing power of laptops 5 years ago and this got me thinking.  Is there a way to to have the best of both worlds?  What I mean is a desktop when you need to ‘get things done’  and a phone when out and about.  To this end I scoured the internet to see if such a thing was on the cards and found the Ubuntu Phone.

ubuntu-touch-preview-431x269

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone who knows anything about Ubuntu knows that they make a really good opensource operating system for desktops and laptops.  Recently they have decided to have a crack at the phone and tablet market with Ubuntu touch and the initial progress looks very promising. Basically what they are trying to do is have a Ubuntu smartphone when out and about but when the phone is plugged into a docking station, and a keyboard and monitor added, you get a full desktop version of Ubuntu full of all your favourite productivity tools – Libreoffice, GIMP and so forth.  Sounds good hey?

They are aiming for the phones to be out towards the end of 2013 and good luck to them.  If they can pull this off then the market could be turned on its head overnight.  Surely this is the way forward where we just have one powerful device which when docked (in an office, at home etc) expands its abilities and allows us to be productive rather than one device for this and one device for that.

Me I am waiting patiently to see how this pans out but the Ubuntu Phone is a very tempting prospect.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

Is the PC dead? I don’t think so!!


Over the last couple of months there have been numerous rumblings in the media about the imminent death of the PC.  That lovely box that usually sits underneath your desk, sips electricity and minds its own business while you use it to get stuff done.

You see there has been a dramatic fall in PC sales over the last couple of years and not even the arrival of Windows 8 has halted the slide (that is a whole different topic in itself).  On the other hand tablet and smartphone sales have gone through the roof prompting the media to declare ‘that the end of the PC has arrived’.  I have another take on the situation which I will share with you.

Consumers don’t need a PC anymore (I bet that shocked you!!) and the reason is that most consumers are now mobile.  These days consumers tend to want to access their data on the move.  People historically bought home PC’s to surf the internet, play games, watch videos and maybe do some word processing on.  All these tasks, and more, can now be accomplished using either a smartphone or a tablet and this makes the PC obselete in the home, hence the downward spiral when it comes to sales.

It is not all doom and gloom for the PC though as it has one major ace up its sleeve – business users.  If you work in an office chances are you will be doing most of your work on a PC.  In a business environment the PC has the advantages of:

1. Bigger screen size

2. Mouse and keyboard

3. A lot of processing power for your money

4. A ‘proper’ operating system which allows you to run your software (eg Microsoft Word etc)

PC’s are designed for doing productive work on unlike a tablet.  You can type (with a keyboard) and move around the screen (using the mouse) much easier than on a tablet or smartphone.  Yes you could use a laptop but if you sit a desk all day what is the point when a PC will offer much more performance for the same money?

Tablets are fantastic at consuming data but not so good at producing it whereas the PC is fantastic at both.

But critics will still point to the dwindling sales.  Consumers are switching to tablets and smartphones while businesses are still purchasing PC’s (along with laptops) and it is this which is driving down sales.  Sales will reach a point where they will drop no further as businesses still need PC’s.  The landscape is definitely changing but don’t write off the PC just yet.

Do you agree or am I talking rubbish? Please let me know!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

How to connect your Blackberry Playbook to your Blackberry phone using Blackberry Bridge

Today I will show you how to connect your Blackberry Playbook to your Blackberry phone using Blackberry Bridge.  Blackberry bridge allows you to connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth to gain access to your email, calenders, Blackberry Messenger and so forth when you dont have wifi.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using a Blackberry Bold 9780 and a Blackberry Playbook on OS 2.0.1.358.

Ok the first thing we need to do is turn on Bluetooth on both devices.  You will also need to download the Blackberry Bridge App for your smartphone which is available from Blackberry App World.


On your Playbook go to Settings – Bluetooth and click on Add New Device.  Once your smartphone has been found add it.

Now on the Playbook go to Settings – Blackberry Bridge and you should see your smartphone visible on the screen.  We need to click on Set-up.

On the following page you will be asked to set a name for your Playbook.  Enter a name and then click Next.

You will now be told that you need to install Blackberry Bridge on your phone but as we have already done this just press Continue.

Open up Blackberry Bridge on your phone click Continue and then point your phone at the barcode which is visible on the Playbook.  Both devices should then authenticate over Bluetooth and volia your devices will now be connected.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

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