Symantec’s report about its Honey Stick Smartphone Project has the small business world talking. The project, which involved Symantec purposely misplacing fifty smartphones and examining what happened next, revealed just how vulnerable your small business’s data is on these small electronic devices.
“Before we intentionally lost these devices, we placed a collection of simulated corporate and personal data on them, along with the capability to remotely monitor what happened to them once they were found,” Symantec’s Kevin Haley explained on his blog.
The study found that of those who picked up the lost smartphones, six out of ten tried to access social media and e-mail and eight out of ten tried to access business information, some of which was marked “HR Salaries” and “HR Cases,” among other types of business-related file names.
If you’re a small business owner, here are five ways you can protect yourself in case of an accidental smartphone loss, whether it’s your phone or a phone of one of your employees:
- Require password protection. Most cell phones have a way to password protect your phone’s lock screen. Any device that has information about your business should be password protected as a requirement. This includes personal devices your employees use to access work-related e-mail.
- Set up remote wiping. Software is available for a variety of device platforms that will allow you to kill a device remotely if it should ever fall into the wrong hands. Some of this software will not only let you hit a kill switch, but it will also use the phone’s GPS to tell you exactly where your device is.
- Know which devices are accessing your business’s network. You can set this up on your server, but also make sure all of your employees know the importance of keeping your business data secure. This is something that affects them personally, as well as you professionally, as bank logins and personal e-mails can also be accessed from a lost smartphone.
- Use security software. Just as you can buy security software for your computers and laptops, software is available for mobile devices, as well. Symantec’s Wireless Device Security can provide anti-malware, antivirus, and encryption security for your wireless devices.
- Have a recovery plan. In the event one of your mobile devices is stolen, have a plan in place to extinguish that device as quickly as possible, in order to prevent further access. Educate your staff on the importance of reporting lost devices as soon as possible to avoid further data compromise.
We live in a world in which we rely on our smartphones for many of our daily tasks. While losing one can be difficult, by securing your phone with a password, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing if something does happen to your phone someday, your small business’s crucial data will be protected from prying eyes.