Pop Quiz: You Just Discovered One Of Your Employees Had Their Smartphone Stolen… Quick, What Do You Do?

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By Bob Milliken
Over the last couple of months, we’ve come across some alarming statistics that you should know. Studies show that as many as 16% of smartphones are lost or stolen each year with only 7% of the stolen devices ever being recovered. Despite the fact that 60% of the missing smartphones are deemed to contain sensitive or confidential information, 57% of these phones were not protected with available security features, leaving the company exposed! In fact, only 14% of companies currently have a mobile-device security policy in place. The bottom line is, no matter how careful your employees are with their smartphones, losing a smartphone (or having one stolen) is likely to happen to you or your employees at some point in time.

In the hands of even a relatively unsophisticated hacker, all of your smartphone information can quickly be siphoned off. And time is of the essence for taking action. Criminals will remove the battery of your phone to prevent “remote wipes” of your data by your IT staff and then use a room without mobile access to break into the phone. This is akin to giving a thief the key to your data and the code to deactivate the alarm.
Asking employees to be more careful IS a good step in the right direction, but accidents happen and thieves are always on the prowl. That’s why it’s so important to take measures to lock down and secure any mobile devices you and your staff use to access your company’s network.

Here are just a few steps you can take now to be prepared:
1. Strong Passwords. Enforce a strong mobile-device password policy and make sure your employees can’t leave devices unlocked and vulnerable.
2. Mobile Device Management (MDM). Deploy an MDM service that will provide a layer of protection over the mobile device including over-the-air configuration management and security.
3. Enable Device Wiping. Prepare to be able to wipe both company-issued and personally owned devices that access company data. Make sure your employees are signing off on this before they add company data to their phones.
4. Backup. You back up your computers, or at least know that you should. But what about your smartphones? They carry massive amounts of personal data, and are subjected to life-or-death situations on a daily basis.
5. Have A Plan In Place. If a phone is lost or stolen, act quickly! If you happen to find the phone again, then the data can likely be replaced; however, stolen data in the hands of a criminal can rarely ever be taken back!
The time is NOW to secure your mobile devices and limit the damage to your business in the event of device loss or theft.

To learn more about protecting your sensitive or confidential business data from smartphone loss or theft, connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call –604.270.1730.
Your comments are appreciated – ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com

Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group.