1. Password, pin, or fingerprint protect your mobile device
It’s critical to lock your phone with a password, pin, or fingerprint detection. It’s easy to do and it’s free. If you ever put your phone down at a party or event, it’s very easy for someone to pick it up and read your email or text messages, or even just walk off with your smartphone. If you’re like me and you misplace your phone on occasion, knowing you have a password on it makes your data more secure.
2. Lock your display after 30 seconds
Don’t leave your display on for hours; instead, set your display to lock after 30 seconds. When you’re not using your phone, set it to go dark in 30 seconds and require a password to open again. It takes a little more time but it’s good security.
3. Encrypt your cell phone and tablet
Software that encrypts your cell phone and tablet computer often comes free with the device. You must enable the setting but this encryption keeps your data protected. It’s very easy to do and in just about every case is free. A simple step like encrypting your phone can be the difference between reporting a breach and never needing to.
4. Set up remote wipe
If you lose your mobile device, you can send a signal that will remotely wipe all the data on your tablet or smartphone– if you have the software enabled. Let’s say you were at a baseball game or out for the day and all of a sudden you realized your smartphone was missing. You can send a signal to your smartphone or mobile device and wipe all the data in an effort to protect it. This is critical for any industry that stores sensitive and personal data, such as healthcare. In most cases you can remotely ring, lock, or erase a lost device. Make sure your data is backed before you send that signal; you will not be able to recover any data once the device has been wiped.
5. Backup all your critical data on your phone or tablet
Backing up critical data on your smartphone or mobile device is easy to do and often free (up to a certain amount). Many devices even allow you to select which type of data to backup: contacts, emails, documents, or photos. Once backup is enabled, you will be able to access your data from the cloud.
6. Privacy and Permissions
It’s astonishing how easily we give up our rights and permissions on our mobile devices. Go into your privacy settings and see what rights you’re giving to each application. Are applications accessing your contacts, camera, location, microphone, phone, storage, or text messages? Make sure you read what permissions you’re giving a newly installed application before you install it. Sometimes apps are free to consumers because they collect and monetize data through permissions. Once you download an application, prior to installing it, scroll down to display all the rights it needs to run. You’ll be surprised at the permissions you’re giving away. Don’t install applications on your phone or tablet unless you understand what permissions you’re giving away.
7. Update the software on your mobile device
Every now and then your phone will need a software update or some of the applications you’re running will need an update. It’s always good to update applications; if a security flaw was found, the update will fix it. Upgrading the firmware can also resolve bug fixes. Be careful after an update; updates can modify your privacy and permissions, changing your prior settings. Make sure you go back into the privacy settings and verify nothing has changed.
8. Consider security software
It’s possible to install and configure security software, such as antivirus software, on your mobile device, smartphone, or tablet. It does make a difference in protecting your data and devices.
9. Beware of free Wi-Fi
Be careful when you login to free public Wi-Fi networks. I know it’s hard not to connect to Starbucks or other types of free Wi-Fi connections, but remember free is not always good. While free hot spots might save your data plan, they are also havens for hackers who can get access to your credentials through the shared network – leading to identity theft or compromised data. If you do intend to use free Wi-Fi, make sure you have your firewall on or that you’re using an encrypted VPN tunnel.
10. Think before you click
Finally, think before you download, forward, open, or click on an email or website. A lot of times that’s all it takes to install a virus or malware – or even to send malicious software to a friend. One click can cost you thousands of dollars and weeks of your time to fix a compromised identity.