Not long ago, I heard an all too familiar story that I am sure many of you had heard before: a friend-of-a-friend left their mobile phone in a taxi on a recent night out. Apart from the inconvenience of being without a mobile phone, this position certainly raises some concerns not only for the individual involved, but also for the company if there is company data present on the mobile phone. Given the increased use of mobile phones in Australian businesses (for both calls and emails), it is important that the business addresses the issue of mobile data protection. And loss of a mobile phone by an employee is one such situation that should be considered.
In this blog entry, we will review what measures can be implemented to protect the business in the instance where an employee's mobile phone is lost/misplaced with company data on the device.
To begin with, let's first understand what type of corporate data can be found on an employees phone. Common examples include:
- Client contacts;
- Meeting appointments;
- Emails; and
While this is not a complete list, it does identify several of the common elements of corporate data found on employee mobile devices.
In the instance that the device is lost, several options are available to assist businesses protect their data. These include:
- Reset the device;
- Remove the relevant accounts (and data associated with those accounts);
- Lock the device; and/or
- Locate the device.
Reset the Device
Many phones do have the option to reset the device remotely. This can ensure that if the device is lost/stolen, it can be reset with all data removed. Many such features are required to be set-up in order to do this, so please check with the manufacturer for how this can be done.
Remove the Relevant Accounts
When you create an email account on a mobile device, the system synchronises data with the phone to share emails, contacts and calendars. However many are unaware that additional security is available when setting up new devices. Rather than simply connecting a service to the device by adding an account, specific devices can be registered with the service and as such managed remotely.
If done correctly, this can result mean that the device (and it's access) can be controlled remotely. And (if required) the account can be removed from the device remotely including any data associated with that account - ie emails, documents, contacts and calendar entries.
This can also be a useful tool when employees cease work with a business.
Lock the Device
As with resetting the device, many phones have the option to lock the device remotely. This can ensure that if the device is lost/stolen, it can be locked ensuring that access to data is not permitted. Many such features are required to be set-up in order to do this, so please check with the manufacturer for how this can be done.
Locate the Device
With the inclusion of GPS in many smart phones today, services are available to enable the tracking of a lost/stolen device. As such, this may minimise the damage by increasing the chance of finding the device and returning it to its rightful owner.
As with other features, this is required to be set-up. So please check with the manufacturer for how this can be done.
With more and more employees using mobile devices for work-related purposes, the chance of these devices being lost/stolen with company data has increased. As such ensure that your business takes into consideration measures to manage and monitor remote/mobile devices and implements protocols and procedures should such devices "go missing".
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