How to protect your business mobiles

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As more and more tablets and smartphones are doubling up for business and personal use, how does your business mange and protect these devices?  Should the worst happen, and one of these devices get lost or stolen, not only is the employees personal information lost, but now everything from company emails to client contact information could potentially be unprotected.

Small businesses are now finding they have to keep on top of employee owned handheld devices, but keeping track, managing and protecting this data is very difficult.  Maybe the answer is to find a combination of handheld gadgets and software that allow you to track, protect and manage the work related information that is stored on these devices.

So what problems are you likely to face and how can you avoid them?

Lost phones… Give employees the tools to find their devices if they go missing. One way to do that is to attach a digital alert/phone halo to company smartphones.  These devices alert the owner when they are about to leave their device behind.  With these products the user carries a small sensor/tag either in a wallet or on a key chain, the alarm sounds when the owner reaches a distance from their phone.

Data leaks. Remote device finding tools are good, but it’s wise to add another layer of protection that backs up the data on the device, manages device identity and would wipe the data when the phone is lost.

Software is available for both Apple smartphone platforms and Android equivalents, they also work with tablet computers like the iPad.  There is also a similar feature available for iPhones and iPads using Apple’s Find My Phoneapp, which is available for free in the iTunes store. The app uses Apple’s new iCloud to track the user’s device as well as manage data on it.

For BlackBerry users there is RIMs BlackBerry management centre, it’s a free service that lets business users manage multiple devices remotely from a single account.  If the phone gets lost or stolen the device can be locked and display a message displaying how the phone can be returned to its owner.  You can also wipe data from a lost or stolen phone, and restore settings and content from a lost, broken or stolen phone onto a new one. Personal users set the permissions as to what the business administrator can and can’t do with their phone.

Because you are likely to be dealing with a variety of phones there will be unanticipated problems, but although there is no mobile security fail safe, with a small amount of planning and effort the investment in a multistep process should have protect your employees and your business against the worst headaches can be worth the time.

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