Have you ever received an email like this from someone:
“Hey, my phone died and I lost all my contacts. Please send me your information again so that I can add you back to my address book.”
Although not everyone is technically savvy, there are three things that we can do to protect the data on our phones. We’re protecting our personal data as well as all the personal data of every person whose information is stored on our phone.
Most of these tips apply to those who use smartphones (hey, 55% percent of U.S. consumers who purchased a new phone in the last three months bought a smartphone).
Step 1: Use Your Email Service Provider to Manage Your Contacts
Whatever email service provider you use (Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.,), you can sync your contacts between the email provider’s contact list and your phone’s address book.
If you’re not using one of these options now, you may have reservations about adopting this approach due to the initial setup. It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun organizing and adding potentially hundreds of contacts to your email provider’s site (you could hire someone to do it for you). The peace of mind knowing that your data is stored somewhere other than just on your phone will far outweigh the time and/or money you would spend getting your system organized and setup.
Once you have the contacts added, the next step is to set up wireless syncing between your email provider and phone. Another great advantage is that no matter where a new contact is added (via the phone or email service provider), since syncing is setup, your contacts will be added to the other.
Note: All cell phone providers have some type service that automatically backs up your mobile contacts (Sprint Mobile Sync and Verizon Backup Assistant). These services are either free or are available for a nominal monthly fee.
A big concern with smartphones is protecting the data that is on your phone in the event of a loss or theft. Protection can be achieved in two ways: password-protecting your device and using a mobile security app.
Step 2: Set a Password for Your Device
Go to the security settings of your phone and create a password (and don’t use any of these passwords). Be sure to update your setting to lock the device and require a password after a certain amount of time has elapsed (say 10 minutes).
Go…Set your password…Right now!
Step 3: Download a Mobile Security App
There are several great mobile security apps out there. Research and select the one you are most comfortable with using (check out other user reviews before buying). Two options are Android Device Manager and Find My iPhone. The cool thing about both of these apps is that you can track the location of your phone, send a remote message that locks or wipes the contents of your smartphone. Both of these apps also do a backup of your data (providing another location where your contacts are stored). Another cool feature of McAfee WaveSecure is that the app automatically locks your device if the SIM card is changed.
With a little bit of work, you can be well on your way to not having to worry about whether the data in your phone is safe.