Let’s take a few moments to consider what risks you may be carrying around with your phone. One common vulnerability is stored passwords on your phone, e.g. within a “notes” program. Imagine the harm that could come of a thief having access to your banking accounts or practice management software. Your firm could suffer an immediate financial hit, malicious mischief or a potentially devastating breach of patient data. The start of such grief can be your unattended phone meeting with a disgruntled employee or dissatisfied patient. These risks mean that phone security justifies your consideration.
Phone security starts with maintaining disciplined control over the physical device. Naturally, your phone should not be left untended in your office, on a shared counter-top or anywhere else where it might be easily stolen. While it seems obvious, it’s very common to see busy administrators leaving their phones behind as they scurry about the office.
Luckily, most phones have security features that can significantly mitigate your risk – although many of these features are not enabled by default. In many phones, a four-number passcode can be readily “cracked” by a thief. Better is a quality passcode (avoid common English words) that uses letters and numbers – with iPhones this can be changed under settings/general/passcode lock. Keep you phone’s software updated, as security vulnerabilities are fixed as they are discovered.
If you use an iPhone, make sure you have the application Find My iPhone installed (and updated) and enabled. iOS 7, the latest iPhone operating system, security has been greatly improved – potentially making your phone valueless to a thief, but you must first have an Apple ID (and remember it!).
Phones using Android 2.2 or greater have a built-in application that can help locate or your phone and/or completely delete the contents of your phone and any installed memory (SD) cards. You’ll need to make sure these features are enabled on your phone (settings/security/device administrators).
Regardless of what device you use, be careful when accessing sensitive information when you’re out and about as your phone may connect to an insecure Wi-Fi connection, allowing others to monitor your input such as logins and passwords.
Here’s to keeping your cellphone in your possession and otherwise secure!