Having a secure phone is important, whether you use your phone to check your company email, have access to secure or confidential information, connect to your company’s Wi-Fi, or simply have pictures on your mobile phone that you feel are too important to lose. If your phone becomes lost or stolen and has no security enabled, you could compromise not only to your own personal information, but your company’s sensitive information – even information beyond your own permission to access!
Keeping your mobile device secure doesn’t mean having to sacrifice convenience for security. Simply having a basic screen lock gives a layer of protection. Biometrics, such as fingerprints and facial recognition, and complex passwords are the most secure. PINs and patterns can also be used, but keep in mind that not only the method, but how many elements (number of characters or dots) used help determine how strong your security lock is.
The next features you should take a look at are your device’s sleep and auto lock timeouts. Sleep timeout is how long your device will stay on before it goes to sleep, aka the screen goes black. How long after that your device automatically locks is the auto lock timeout. The shorter the timeout the better. To keep from losing your sanity from having to constantly unlock your phone, start with shorter timeouts and slowly lengthen them until you find the balance between having an unlocked device and the security you need to keep your data safe. You can also set your device to lock with a simple press of the power button for security you don’t have to wait for.
Encryption is an even stronger option to enable along with screen locks and timeouts. Even if you don’t have sensitive company information on your phone, you will have sensitive personal information. A stolen phone means access to emails, instant messages, contacts, addresses, photos, and all the apps you keep logged in and passwords you have saved in your browser. With encryption, your device stores the data on your phone in an unreadable form. Every time you unlock it, your data is decrypted for you to use. Encryption not only protects a lost or stolen phone, it also protects your data when you sell your phone by keeping scammers from gaining access to your files, while a Factory Reset won’t. Most new mobile phones come encrypted right out of the box, but many older ones have the option to enable it easily. Remember to keep the data on your phone backed up, just like you would your computer, because an encrypted phone will lock you out of your data after a number of failed attempts to gain access and the encryption cannot be undone without resetting the device to factory settings and losing access to all the data on your device that was not backed up.