Mobile devices are important in our daily lives, but become outright treasured companions when we travel. Losing your device while away from home is frustrating and can define a trip as memorably horrible. For my friends and colleagues who will be enjoying the summer months travelling about with their cherished smartphones and tablets, here are a few tips to keeping them secure.
- Handle your device safely. Phones and tablets are easy targets for thieves. Additionally, they are easily left behind or forgotten. Just like your wallet or passport, don’t leave your devices alone or visible to others. Leaving an expensive device visible in a parked car, restaurant table, or in a hotel room unattended is just asking for trouble
- Backup your data. Before you leave, be sure to back-up your contacts and data. In the event the device is lost, stolen, or dropped in the pool, being able to quickly restore a new device is key to reducing stress and returning to your fun activities. Many backup services and solutions are available
- Lock the device. Enable screen passwords. It may be an annoyance to you, but it is very problematic to someone who is trying to steal your information. Don’t make it easy for the criminals to victimize you
- If lost, help get it back. Many good natured people find lost phones, but are unable to easily return the device. Adding contact information on the lock-screen can expedite the return of your precious phone or tablet. Several devices and software enable this handy function. But don’t list the phone number of the device itself, instead list a friend or an email account you can easily check
- If missing, track it. Install tracking solutions to be able to both beacon as well as geo-track the device. When instructed, a beacon function will turn on the device, set it to maximum volume and then sound an audible alarm. A great feature if the device is within earshot. Geo-tracking will use internal GPS functions of the device to show where it is on a map. The problem when you lose something is it might be under the seat of the car right next to you or in the terminal of the airport miles away
- If stolen, nuke it. Worst case, your device has been pilfered by a malicious person and may be used to explore your life and attack your finances. It is better to limit the damage to only replacing a phone or tablet. Sending a ‘poison pill’ to remotely destroy all your data will leave the thief with a blank device, unable to cause further harm
- Protect it from Malware. Travelling is not the best time to be affected by malware. Be sure to have robust anti-virus running on the system. Many products also bundle device tracking (beacon and geo-track) and remote data destruction capabilities (poison pill)
8. Use phones as lifelines to friends and family. In addition to sharing and basking in the glory of your awesome vacation or adventure, phones can let those who you love know where you are and that you are safe. It can also inform of delays, vehicle breakdowns, detours, and changes in plans. Smartphones and tables can act as personal safety assistants by providing maps to avoid getting lost (unless that is what you want), translate conversations in local languages, and change reservations if safety becomes a concern. Keep your devices safe by letting them keep you safe.