Yikes … lost phone anxiety!
What would happen if you lost your smart phone or tablet?? Is it password protected? How easy is it to access the data? Are you assuming that the finder will simply attempt to return it without looking through it?
Bob Sullivan who publishes the excellent Red Tape Chronicles for MSNBC discusses a study on this topic by the security firm Symantec. The study found that only 50% of the folks who found phones, returned them even with easy access to information about the phone’s owner. Further well over 50% of the finders actively searched the phones for sensitive and private information.
What Symantec found out about smart phones is equally applicable to tablets.
So, this reinforces the following guidelines for your mobile devices:
- Always password protect the device. The password should be hard to guess (see my previous post that discusses this topic). If your device has a limit to the number of tries before erasing the device, then the password could be somewhat simpler but certainly not obvious. Less than 25% of smart phone users set a password. I know it’s a pain, especially when texting, but you actually get used to it.
- Set your device to lock after a few minutes. Less than 10% of smart phone users set their phones to do this.
- Don’t put very sensitive data on your smart phone. There is sensitive data, then there is very sensitive data, which I’d define as the keys to your personal electronic Kingdom. Easy access to your list of passwords or social security numbers would be a no-no. I never put this information on my devices.
- Be sure to have a service that can remotely find and optionally erase your device. Apple’s iCloud for example. Google provides a similar capability for Android devices. Here’s a general article on this topic.
- Make return easy. If you password protect your device, it should be difficult for someone to determine it’s owner. Tape a contact number to the device or slip a business card between the device and its case. Be sure it’s has a number other than the number of the device. I’ve always felt that there should be a way to provide an emergency contact outside the password barrier on these devices.