Lost phone? Here’s what you need to do

Smartphones have become more and more powerful with each new generation, with specs almost comparable to laptops and desktops. And although computers have become thinner and more compact over the years, they aren’t nearly as portable as mobile phones. Without a doubt, the pocket-friendly size of smartphones make these vital tools for businesses looking to be as mobile and flexible as their customers.

But because of their compact size, mobile phones are easy to steal and prone to getting misplaced. If you don’t take the right precautions, losing a smartphone you use for business can have severe consequences.

What are the risks of losing a business smartphone?

Over 70 million smartphones are lost around the world every year, but that doesn’t mean you should be complacent about an absent device. Losing a phone that contains sensitive information about your company, clients, and other stakeholders can easily lead to a data breach. Furthermore, crooks can also use a lost phone to gain entry into your network and steal information or launch cyberattacks.

Both cases can lead to loss of money, data, and other crucial resources. They can also damage your reputation, ruin your customers’ trust in your business, and result in penalties from the government.

What should you do about a lost phone?

In case you or one of your staff lose a business phone, you should:

1.Try to find the device
There are cases when the phone can still be located or returned to you. Upon discovering the loss, try to contact the phone by sending a text message or calling its number. If you're lucky, the phone could have been found by someone willing to go out of their way to get it back to you.

In case the phone is equipped with an anti-theft software-enabled GPS locator, then you can use that to search instead. If the application enables you to lock the phone remotely, then do so immediately.

2. Report the incident to authorities
Alert the police about the incident, providing details about the loss, the device’s make and model, and its serial number. Other useful details to provide include the phone’s IMEI, ESN, and MEID numbers, if possible. Doing these offers two benefits. First, it shields you from liabilities in case the stolen phone is used for fraud and other criminal acts. Second, it provides you with documentation that you can use for the next step.

3. Report the loss to your service provider
Your service provider can bill you any charges incurred before you inform them of the loss, so you should report the incident as soon as you can. You can even ask your provider to disable the device remotely, reducing the risk of the data stored inside being accessed or stolen. Should the provider require official documentation, you can use the aforementioned police report.

4. Remotely wipe the data off the device
You can remotely send a command to erase data stored on the lost device. This command could cause the device to revert to factory settings or selectively remove business apps and data, leaving the owner’s personal data intact. A remote wipe can only be done when the smartphone is turned on or connected to the internet. Thieves can prevent the wipe, either by switching off the phone or removing its SIM card, so inform your IT team of the loss so they can proceed with data erasure as soon as possible.

How can you reduce the risks of a lost phone?

It’s always better to be proactive than reactive. Even if a device were lost, you can protect the data it contains by something as simple as a password-protected lock screen. Keep in mind to use a strong password that’s hard to guess.

You should also install encryption software on the device. This prevents unauthorized users from accessing data by rendering information unreadable. Additionally, back up any data in the device as regularly as you can manage.

Finally, make the device easy to find by leveraging anti-theft GPS locators and other measures. If these are not built into the device, look for suitable apps and install them on your device.

Smartphones are essential to business, so make sure to take them into account when you design your security strategy. Our experts at Cutting Edge Network Technologies can help you protect your computers, business mobile phones, and other devices from loss and cyberthreats. Download this free eBook to learn about the solutions essential to your data’s security.

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