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More and more small companies are finding creative ways to conduct business using smart phones and tablets. These devices can allow outside salespeople to easily take orders in the field. Managers can access the company network from home, and employees can join conference calls while on the road. But this new technology also comes with a downside: concerns about the security of the information stored on mobile devices.
Because smart phones and tablets have the capability to store valuable data, they may contain sensitive information like credit card numbers, customer information or logins to the company network. If stolen, this data could be used to cause considerable damage to your business. Mobile devices can also transmit information about the owner’s identity, enabling the thieves to commit other offenses.
According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 58% of American adults now have a smartphone and 42% own a tablet computer1 , but almost 40 percent of adults surveyed by Consumer Reports in 2013 didn’t take even minimal security measures such as using a screen lock, backing up data, or installing an app that could help locate a missing phone. 2 If your employees are using these mobile devices to conduct business, how confident are you that they are doing everything they can to keep information safe from hackers and identity thieves?How to Protect Your Devices First, apply the same common-sense security rules to your mobile devices that you do to the desktop computers and laptops in your office: don’t download software or apps from unknown sources, don’t open attachments or click on links in emails from people you don’t know, and protect your device with a strong password that’s not used on anything else. Beware of “shoulder surfers” who may be watching when you enter passwords, and avoid using Wi-Fi in public places unless it’s an emergency that justifies the risk of being hacked.
Then, make sure your employees know and follow these mobile device safety rules:
If your employees use smart phones or tablets, do they know all the basic rules of “data hygiene” we’ve just mentioned? Make sure they follow these basic guidelines. If necessary, help them set up their devices with the proper apps and passwords so they’ll be protected, whether on company business or out and about on their own.