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Talk Tech with CTI

15 EpisodesProduced by Jeff DurbinWebsite

We keep up with technology, so you don't have to.


Episode 14: Mobile: What happens if I lose my smart phone?

Smart phones get lost and stolen everyday. There are some things we can do to eliminate some of the sting. We carry our scheudle, contacts, pictures, social applications all on one device. Basically, our entire work and personal life lives in one device. If this device is lost or stolen, whoever gains control of that device has control of our information. It’s bad enough losing a $650 iPhone, it’s disatourous to lose schedule or contacts.

Securing your phone with a password is the first stop in minimizing your data loss. Creating passcode may slow down any attempt at retriving data from your lost or stolen device. Recently, I turned off simple passcode on my iPhone4. This allows me to use alphanumeric passwords on my iPhone. This will make it much harder to figure out the password and get access to my data. A passcode is a hassle but even a simple passcode will slow a bad guy down. Every additional digit adde  d to the passcode will make it harder to crack.

Make sure your phone locks automatically. If the phone is not locked the passcode will not help. Leave the front door unlocked and the bad guys can just waltz in. Once again this is not always convenient, but it helps to keep your information safe. You can also set the phone to do a secure wipe after so many wrong passcode attempts. This will prevent any data loss.

Some of your applications on your phone will allow you to put a passcode on the application itself. If it’s very sensitive data, use the passcode if it is available.

Most mobile operating systems have some kind of tracking service that you can install on your smart phone. I’ve personally used the Find My iPhone application on a family members phone. As long as the phone is not turned off or the SIM removed this will tell you the current location of your phone. It’s not really that helpful for a stolen phone, but it can help locate a lost phone. If the phone is stolen the bad guy will usually turn the phone off or remove the SIM. The iOS Find My iPhone app will let you send messages to the phone, lock it, and wipe it remotely.

To prevent loss of the information on your iPhone you can download and install applications that save your information to the cloud. Whether it be email, contacts, pictures or documents there are endless apps available to send that information to server on the Internet.

You can synch your pictures to a cloud service such as DropBox or iCloud. These applications allow you to have all of the photos you take uploaded to a server on the Internet. Something happens to your phone and you will still have access to the pictures that you have taken. Most all mobile operating systems have some way to synch your pictures to some service on the Internet. Since, some of us take a lot of pictures using our smart phones, it’s a good idea to set one of these services up on our device.

I use an Microft Exchange account for my work email,contacts and calendar. This service allows me to access all of my important email, contacts and schedule while mobile. The great thing about this service is all the information stays on the servers at my office. I never have to worry about losing this information, it is contstantly up to date on the server. You can also use services like Gmail to synch your email, contacts and calendar to the cloud.

If you keep passwords on your phone, using a secure password manager can help keep them secure. Most of the good password managers for mobile devices also have a desktop component. The one you want is one that allows you to access all of your passwords on any device. They are also stored securely on the Internet so you never have to worry about losing your passwords if you lose your smart phone.

You can also find all kinds of ways to store your documents online from your phone. I use a program called Evernote to access notes and documents. It’s a great way to organize your information in a way that is accessible from all of your devices. Put informaion into the application on your phone and it is accesible from your desktop or even the web site.

Everybody, loses or gets a device stolen at some point. Taking steps to reduce the impact of the loss now, will eliminate a lot of stress when it happens. Try to find the device first. If you a certain that it is stolen or lost, report it to the police. There is not a lot that they can do about it, but it will help if your device is being used by an unauthorized user. If all of the information on your device is synched to the cloud, wiping the device remotely will prevent anyone from accessing the device or it’s information. Even if you do recover the device, if all the information is synched to the Internet you can restore your phone easily.

At the very least I hope this makes you think a little closer about what you would happen if your phone was lost or stolen. Take some time to inventory your mobile devices. Find ways to minimize the data loss. Trust me, it will be worth it in the long run.
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