Recently, I received a call from a client that had her smart phone stolen. She left it in a coffee shop and when she returned to the shop, it was gone. It is tough to hear. We all know how much these devices have on them – our home address and phone numbers, all our personal contacts and, for many of us, confidential client information. Luckily for her, she only had her personal email on it. The first question I asked when she told me about the phone was “Does it have a password on it?” Unfortunately, the answer was no.
Smart phone and tablet computers can be a great way to keep up with your mobile lifestyle by providing quick and easy access to your email, calendars and contacts and everything in between. Whether your preference is an iPhone, iPad, Android device, or any other type of smart phone or tablet, convenience is the key. Along with the ease of use of these devices come risks. The risk of losing of your email, calendar, contacts and more importantly, confidential client information is higher than ever before.
Most people that steal phones are not looking to access the data on them, they are looking to wipe the phone clean and sell it to the highest bidder. Taking about 10 seconds to set up a password on a phone, tablet or any mobile device, can give you piece of mind if your device is ever lost or stolen.
If the likelihood of your device being stolen is small then consider the scenario that your device may be lost. The latest statistic of 40,000 smart phones being left in taxicabs in New York City is very real. Everyone should find a way to protect yourself and your data. A very simple protection is a screen password.
Take out whatever device you use for your email (iPad, iPhone, Android smart phone or any other make) from your pocket or briefcase and turn it on. If you are not prompted for some type of password, I'm talking to you. The password is typically a four digit code or may be a shape to draw with your finger before the Home Screen appears on your phone. For most devices, if the password is entered incorrectly 10 times the information on the device will be deleted. This is a very quick and very easy way to protect your client data on mobile devices.
The instructions are below for an iPhone and an iPad. Android devices are protected in a similar fashion:
Click the Home button to bring up the main menu
Click on Settings
In the Settings screen click on General
In the General screen click on Passcode Lock
This will open the Set Passcode screen. Enter a 4-figure code and re-enter it when prompted
You will now be at the Passcode Lock screen. You can change when you are prompted to enter the Passcode. The default setting - Immediately - means you will be asked to enter it as soon as your start using the iPhone. But you can change the setting so that the prompt appears after a certain period of use
Press the Home button to return to the main menu.
This setting can protect your client's confidential data if your device ever falls into someone else’s hands. It will be worth it to you, to your client and to your conscience when you go to bed tonight.
Pegeen Turner is the President of Turner IT Solutions, a Raleigh-based legal technology company. Her firm works with small and medium-sized firms as they start-up as well as firms that need help maintaining and integrating technology into their practice. In addition, she helps firms understand the risks of cloud computing and how to incorporate cloud computing into their practice. email@example.com and www.turneritsolutions.com
Pegeen Turner, President of Legal Cloud Technology, a Raleigh-based legal technology firm, works with small and medium-sized start-up law firms, firms that need help maintaining and integrating legal technology into their practice and helping firms understand cloud computing.