While many thieves likely steal a device for the value of the good, others could be after the confidential data stored within. You may use your mobile device to check your bank account, make credit card purchases, and store photos and contact data. All of your personal information in the hands of a stranger is troublesome enough, but if you also use your device for work-related business, the consequences of stolen data can have a severe impact on your job and your entire company.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself (and your firm) from falling victim to a stolen device, and, more importantly, stolen data.
Preventative Measures to Avoid Mobile Device Theft
1. Never leave your device unattended in public, even at your work space. Either lock it up in your desk or office, or take it with you.
2. Put a passcode and/or a fingerprint identity sensor on your mobile device. Doing so encrypts all the data on the device, making loss of data much less of a risk.
3. Set up a lock-out feature for a number of incorrect password attempts.
4. Set your phone screen to auto-lock after a short period of inactivity.
5. Install security software that allows you to track and locate your phone as well as remote wipe your data. There are several options for mobile devices, depending on the platform, (Android, iOS, Windows). Be aware, however, that different solutions, strategies and approaches to anti-virus and endpoint protection are rapidly appearing. For example, a newer way to proactively prevent a data breach is data shredding.
Protecting Data in the Event of a Loss or Theft
6. Report the loss or theft to police as well as your firm, if the device contains company data.
7. Change all passwords for any applications on your phone, including email, online banking, social media, and any other apps that holds sensitive data.
8. Remotely activate the security software to track your device as well as wipe your device of sensitive data.
Recovering Your Data
9. If you have a cloud account and regularly backup your mobile device, hopefully your loss will not extend past the device itself.
The loss or theft of a mobile device can be distressing. The proliferation of BYOD and the mobile workforce makes it even more important to properly protect devices. However, if you utilize all of the security features that come installed on your device, as well as download additional applications to ensure tracking and remote wiping is possible, you can rest assured knowing you have at least done everything you can to mitigate any potential damage.
See also: The importance of protecting your data during tax season.
This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Last modified: March 15, 2017