As new devices become available, there are more and more opportunities to streamline time management, improve efficiencies, and generally better manage our day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, however, when these new phones and tablets include apps to literally handle every aspect of both your work and personal life, losing them can be disastrous – especially if you’re as fully dependent on them as the average person.
These days, when one of these magical devices goes missing, you can literally feel like you’ve misplaced an arm or a leg … it seems they’ve become every bit as essential to us.
Think about it … every phone number for every contact you have is stored inside your phones, laptops, and tablets. Every email address you use regularly, and of course, every message you’ve sent or received in at least 30 days is hiding in there.
Then there are the personal finance apps, cloud storage apps like Dropbox, and all the photos of your home and family – in short, everything important that you wouldn’t want shared with a total stranger.
Whether your device becomes temporarily lost or stolen forever, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the loss and protect your personal information.
Most devices come with standard tracking software to help locate it in the event you’re ever faced with the dreaded “I’ve lost my phone” experience, and most people set it up as soon as they activate a new phone or tablet (HINT: if you haven’t already done that, now would be a really good time!). If nothing else, using one of these built-in programs can give you a pretty good idea of where to look next … and best case scenario, help you find your phone quickly or allow you to “wipe it” clean in the event it was stolen.
If on the other hand, you don’t have a tracking app on your device, or if your device is turned off, you’ll need to work a little harder.
As is often the case, the best defense is usually a good offense. Using even a simple password on your phone, tablet and laptop is an easy first step to better protect your information from would-be thieves. You should also make sure that passwords aren’t automatically saved on your device, and that every app (including email) has it’s own unique login.
MAKE A BACKUP.
It seems obvious, but many of us forget to save our stuff. Create a backup schedule on your calendar to remind yourself to save your new data even if it’s just a phone number and a few photos, you’ll be glad they’re so easy to retrieve when you need them.
LEAVE A PAPER TRAIL.
It may not happen often, but we’ve heard stories of lost devices being returned to their owners. Leave a business card or even just an email address in your smartphone case so that a Good Samaritan can contact you!
CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS.
The last, and arguably most important step is to change every password used with your device – and to do it as soon as possible. Even if you successfully wipe the user data from your device, you still want to make sure to create new passwords for any apps or accounts that could be easily accessed through the smartphone.
In a recent study from Symantec, researchers found that in 89% of instances where a device was stolen, personal apps and info were accessed. 43% of reported cases showed attempts to access online banking!
When it comes to mobile security, you can’t be too careful, but following these few simple steps can significantly improve efforts to protect your personal information.