Lost or stolen cell phone? Protect your business

This guest blog post is provided by Public Safety Canada which leads Get Cyber Safe, a national public awareness campaign about Internet security and online safety.

For many of us, our jobs require us to work on-the-go. But the portability of work devices creates new opportunities for us to lose them (…like that time you left your phone in the taxi). And if your phone is lost, think of what you're really losing — contact information, client proposals, confidential emails, financial records or even industry secrets — all things that could fall into the hands of a stranger if the phone is unlocked.

So, what's the easiest way to protect your mobile device?

Lock it! Just like locking your cabinets in the office, a password screen provides a critical barrier between strangers and the information on your device. Trying to recover information from a lost or stolen phone is frustrating enough, but worrying what a stranger might be doing with your private information is far worse. A recent experiment by Symantec Canada explored what happens to lost and unlocked phones once they're found. They discovered that 63% per cent of unlocked phones had corporate information accessed, and 83% per cent had personal information accessed. If you have anything on your phone that you don't want others tampering with, keep these results in mind and lock your device!

Here are some other ways businesses can help keep their mobile information protected:

  • Establish strong security policies for employees using mobile devices for work. This includes requiring password-enabled screen locks.
  • Inform employees of the risks of losing a mobile device and have a formal process in place so they know what to do if their device is lost or stolen.
  • Protect information rather than the devices that store it — this means securing information so that it is safe no matter where it ends up (mobile security software can help with this). After all, a phone is replaceable, but the information it holds may not be.
  • Include mobile device security as part of the overall security and management framework. In other words, make mobile security as crucial as any other confidentiality process within the organization.

There are many steps to effective mobile security, so take the first step and lock your phone. For more tips on how you can protect yourself and your business when it comes to mobile security, visit GetCyberSafe.gc.ca and consult the Guide for Small and Medium Businesses on cyber safety.

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