Is Your Smart Phone Putting Your Small Business At Risk?

Yep, I get it. You can’t live without your smartphone. I know. I’m in the same boat. If I forget my phone when I go out of the house (which I rarely do), I feel like I’ve left half my brain behind.

We are all so mobile these days. And its so cool that we can take our business with us in our back pocket. But there’s a problem with that too. It’s easy to forget how much sensitive data our phones have access to. Losing it could put your business at a huge risk.

In a news release from Deluxe Corporation, they said nearly 40 million Americans currently access bank accounts and financial records through mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, according to Consumer Reports. But, unlike most computers and laptops, mobile devices rarely feature security software. Recognizing this weakness, hackers are increasingly preying on small business owners, accessing mobile devices to steal sensitive data and commit acts of fraud.

So they called in identity theft expert John Sileo who conducted a webinar to teach small business owners to better control sensitive information in today’s increasingly mobile society. The webinar “Cyber Attack: Data Defense for Your Mobile Office” discussed how to:

  • Protect smartphones and tablets from common attacks.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of cloud computing (Gmail®, SalesForce®, online billing).
  • Lock down Wi-Fi data leakage in the office and on the road.
  • Protect their traveling office in hotel rooms, airports and beyond.

Sileo is not “just an expert.” He personally experienced a problem.

“My business identity was stolen and nearly a half-million dollars was embezzled from my clients,” Sileo said. “I lost my livelihood, reputation – and nearly my freedom. Had I understood the topics we’ll cover in the Cyber Attack webinar, I would have recognized the fraudulent activities and business threats that were right under my nose.”

While identity theft through mobile devices is becoming more common, these devices are equipped with security features to help users to protect themselves – but it’s up to the you to activate them. Here are a few things you can do to protect your business.

  1.  Turn on password protection and auto-lock feature on all smart phone, tablet and laptop devices. If your phone is lost or stolen, this is an extra measure to protect your information. By password protecting your device and activating an auto-lock feature, users can control the number of password attempts before the device locks itself.
  2.  Enable remote tracking and wiping capabilities. Remote tracking allows users to physically track the location of the phone, while remote wiping allows you to clear all data if your phone goes missing.
  3. Expect the best, plan for the worst. While there are extra precautions that can reduce the likelihood that you or your business might become a victim of fraud, there is no failsafe. Dealing with the effects of fraud and identity theft can cause massive disruptions to your business. Put plans in place so that if you become a victim, you can resume business as quickly as possible.

Are you scared yet? You should be. Losing your phone could literally put you out of business. That’s another business disaster you have to worry about. And it might be a good idea to watch the entire webinar. You can access the recording here.

 

About Denise O'Berry

A Message From Small Business Expert Denise O'Berry -- It's no coincidence that my initials are DO. I've been helping small business owners DO things to be successful since 1996. You can be successful too. The best way to have a sustainable business is to take action. Start now by implementing this small business tip in your business. Connect with me on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube