Why getting data off of laptops, iPads, iPhones, and smartphones is a good thing

While participating in a discussion on Brian Madden’s blog, Danny Allan of Desktone referenced this article about laptop theft:

http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2009/07/airport_surprise_1200_laptops.php

The Dell commissioned study of laptop theft was a few years ago now, but at the time 12,000 laptops went missing at US airports each week. Of those laptops, only 1/3 were ever recovered. I’m guessing that plenty of tablets and smartphones go missing now too…

Securing data

The important thing to understand for SMBs is the risk they incur by using a laptop, tablet, or smartphone as a repository for company data. While DropBox et al offer fantastic useablility and convenience, there’s hidden costs associated with keeping any data on your mobile devices should they go missing.

At the very least, you need to secure mobile devices by:

  • Using full disk encryption, if available, to secure local storage
  • Enabling passcodes/passwords to make things harder for the thief
  • Enabling tracking software, if available, so you can locate the lost/stolen device
  • Understanding how to remotely wipe your device, should it go missing
  • Making sure you login with a non-administrator account for day-to-day use

Of course, we would advocate using cloud apps and cloud desktops instead, since that way your precious data remains in a secure data center.

However, our customers sometimes want direct access to documents without having to run cloud apps. For instance, they want to use built-in apps on the device to quickly view an office document, or to pull up a presentation slide. For that, we offer secure WebDAV connectivity to the original document, so a copy isn’t needed on the mobile device. Both Android and iOS devices can run the free WebDAV Navigator app to make this easy.

For details on full disk encryption, tracking your mobile devices, remote wipe, and various other topics, please visit Mike Foster’s blog:

http://www.fosterinstitute.com/blog/fast-security/ (Full disk encryption)

http://www.fosterinstitute.com/blog/laptop-data/ (Full disk encryption)

http://www.fosterinstitute.com/blog/enable-device-tracking/ (Tracking your Apple mobile devices)

http://www.fosterinstitute.com/blog/connecting/ (Apple device security)

Android users should install Where’s My Droid to make it possible to track their device, should it go missing.

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