For most people with a small business, a smartphone is where a lot of the action happens. Gone are the days when your phone was a device used solely for dialing a number and pressing the “Call” button. Today, your phone is your organizer, your assistant, your accountant (sometimes), and your travel agent. Because of all this, your smartphone hosts a tremendous amount of personal data which, in the wrong hands, can cause anything from a mild headache to a living nightmare. This is why smartphone security is more important than ever.
If you think that your smartphone is secure, you’re mistaken. The device in your hand is like any other computer. Viruses can infect it and apps can exploit some of its features to sabotage it. As a measure of security, you can get rid of this problem by using the following best practices:
- Avoid Jailbreaking or Rooting Your Phone. In the Android world, it’s called “rooting.” In iOS, it’s “jailbreaking.” These words are used to describe a process by which you get root access to the phone operating system’s kernel and bypass some of its security parameters to get access to more system resources. Put more simply, iPhone users jailbreak their phones so that they can access apps without having to go through the App Store. A malicious app can use this kernel-level access to destroy your phone. By jailbreaking an iOS phone, you disable some of its advanced security features.
- Watch For Weird App Permission Requests. If you’re getting an app that gives you recipes, it shouldn’t be asking for access to your contact list, unless you specifically want to use a feature that involves sharing a recipe with your contacts. This is one of the many examples you should look out for when an app asks you for certain permissions. Don’t just grant access left and right. It’s imperative that you read what the application wants and determine whether you really want the app to have access to that.
- Keep the Phone Up To Date. Don’t put off downloading updates. You know you’ll forget them, so why not just download them now and get it over with? Many updates tweak and fix several flaws on your phone that could open a backdoor for hackers. Make sure this doesn’t happen!
- Don’t Use Unencrypted WiFi Networks. These types of WiFi networks are unsafe, as anyone who is connected can view the data you’re transmitting and receiving. You can tell a WiFi network is unencrypted if it doesn’t ask you for a key when you try to connect to it. These networks are not secure. If you still want to browse through such networks, get something like HotSpot Shield. This works for both iOS and Android.
- Install Remote “Finder” Applications. A remote security solution will allow you to track your phone’s physical location on a map in case it’s stolen. Even more, these solutions often let you remotely lock or even wipe the phone. For Android, you can use “Locate My Droid.” People using iOS can use “Find My iPhone.”
- Install Anti-Malware Apps. They might cost a bit of money, but anti-malware apps for your phone will help you deter any threat that rogue apps may present. Bitdefender is a good one. You could also use Lookout. Both of these solutions are free. Their premium versions cost $9.99 a year and $29.99 a year, respectively.
When threats appear in all directions, a little bit of caution goes a long way! As long as you follow the above best practices, no one has a chance of ever getting a peek at your private data. Keeping your phone on lock-down not only protects you, but it also protects your business and reputation.