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September 11th, 2014

MobileGeneral_Sep08_CSmartphones and tablets have become one of the most essential devices for businesses and individuals alike. It's difficult to imagine life without one really, but there will come a time when we all need to replace a device. If you are considering this then you may entertain the idea of selling your old device too. However, before you do, you should ensure that you deauthenticate your apps first.

What exactly is deauthentication?

Some apps, although not all, require that you authenticate your device in order for them to work. Many developers who ask users to authenticate their device do so in order to either prevent copies of the software from being created and utilized, or to ensure that the device and app can communicate securely.

Some examples of apps that ask for authentication include those that use multi-factor authentication, password managers, and apps that require a subscription or credit card information, etc. On some devices you even need to enter a code or key, much like installing software on a new computer, in order to activate all the features of the app.

The main reason many developers require authentication is connected to security. As security is becoming an ever more pressing issue, there is a good chance that we will see more apps asking users to authenticate their devices in the future.

The issue with this is that when you go to sell your device you will likely need to purchase the app again or the buyer of the device won't be able to set up their own account.

Common apps you should deauthenticate

Apps with subscription services: This includes apps like Google Play Music, Spotify, Office for iPad, cloud storage apps that you have linked your device to, etc. These apps are usually either linked with your device or your phone number so it is a good idea to deauthenticate them.
  1. Kindle app: The Kindle app is actually linked to your device and users who want to use the app will likely not be able to if the device is linked to your account. You can unlink devices by going to the Amazon site, logging in and selecting Manage your Content and Devices when you hover over your account name.
  2. Password management apps: These apps usually require that you authenticate your device to use a particular service. If you try to log in on a new device, these apps may not work properly.
  3. Chat apps: Some chat apps like WhatsApp or Line require that you register for the service using your phone number. If you are keeping your number, you shouldn't have to deauthenticate, but if you are getting a new number, you should go into the account settings of each app and unlink your number. WhatsApp for example has a feature that allows you to move your number to a new device.
  4. Any app or service that you have linked credit card information to: While you ordinarily don't have to physically deauthenticate these apps, as the information is usually linked to an account and password, it is a good idea to unlink your credit card with any app on your phone before you hand it over. This will help ensure that credit card information is not stored or accessible.
When it comes to the major app stores, e.g., Windows Phone Store, Google Play, and iTunes, you will often see that your device has been linked to your account. If you are going to sell your device, the best course of action is to reset using the factory reset option. This will delete all data and installed apps on the device. This will often be enough to deauthenticate all apps.

If you are looking to learn more about getting rid of your older devices, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 20th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Dec17_CThe smartphone is an all-singing-all-dancing device and yet in an era of multi-media, there's nothing that cuts to business like a phone call. If you have a phone, you likely have a large number of contacts, but have you ever tried to manage these contacts from your device? If you have then you'll know that it's not that easy. One option is to actually edit or manage your contacts directly from your computer instead.

You can manage your phone contacts using the three main mobile platforms - iOS, Android and Windows - from your computer. Here's how:

Manage your iOS contacts from your computer

If you use an iPhone, you can sync your contacts with Apple's iCloud. You can sign up for iCloud on your device by going to Settings and tapping on Home. Select iCloud and enter your Apple ID.

Once you have activated iCloud, or if you already have signed up for it, press the Settings app on your phone and select iCloud from the menu that opens. Once the iCloud settings open ensure that Contacts is on. This will automatically sync your contacts to iCloud and make them available to any device that you sign into using the ID you linked to the service.

Give your phone and iCloud a couple of minutes to sync and then you should be able to access these from any device. To manage contacts from your computer, the easiest thing to do is to open a Web browser and go to the iCloud website (icloud.com/#contacts).

When the site loads you should see a list of your phone contacts. You can click on a contact to edit information and even delete. Just be sure to click Done at the bottom of each contact to save any changes.

Manage your Android contacts from your computer

If you use an Android device, your best bet is to sync your contacts with your Google account. This can be done by opening the Settings app on your device, (pull down from the top of the screen and select Settings), scroll down to Accounts and tap on Google. Select your account from the menu that opens and ensure that Contacts is ticked. Press the three vertical boxes at the top of the screen and select Sync now.

The syncing of contacts should be automatic if a Google account is linked with your phone. Once the sync has completed, you can edit your contacts on your computer by:

  1. Opening any Web browser and logging into Google, using the account name that you have linked your phone with.
  2. Going to contacts.google.com
  3. Clicking on the contact you would like to edit.
  4. Editing the contact and pressing the back arrow once you have finished, which is beside Contacts above the contact info.
There is no need to save information as any changes will be automatically saved. To delete contacts, go to the main Contacts screen and tick the box beside the contact name. You can select more than one at a time if you would like to delete more than one contact at the same time. Once selected, press More, above your contact list, and select Delete contacts. Your device should sync within a minute or two and the selected contacts should be gone.

Manage your Windows Phone contacts from your computer

If you use a Windows Phone you can edit contacts on your computer using live.com. In order to do this you will need to link your phone with a Microsoft account. If you don't have one, go to signup.live.com on any Web browser and follow the sign-up process. Once you have an account, you need to link your phone to it. This can be done by:
  1. Opening Settings from the App List.
  2. Tapping on Email + Accounts.
  3. Entering your Microsoft account email address and password.
  4. Tapping Sign-in.
Your phone's contacts should sync with your account within a few minutes. To edit your contacts, go to live.com and log in. You should see all of your contacts in a list to the left side of the screen. Clicking on each contact will show contact information, and you can edit this by clicking Edit, above the card. Once you have finished editing, be sure to press Save at the bottom of the page. If you click Delete from the menu bar at the top, you will be able to remove your contact.

To learn more about using smartphones in your office, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 11th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Dec09_CDecember is the holiday season for many, and that usually means that people are out finding gifts for their friends, family and colleagues. One of the more popular gifts is bound to be the smartphone. When looking for a smartphone though, it can be tough to find one that is a perfectly suited to the person you are wanting to give it to.

Before investing in a smartphone as a gift this holiday season, here's our four point guide on what to bear in mind.

1. What to consider before looking

Before looking into a smartphone as a gift, you should first consider whether the person who will get the phone already has one. The reason being, that many people are on mobile plans. Most of these plans have a set contract period that is not always easy to break and can be costly to do so.

You likely don't want to force someone to break a contract, but many carriers do offer upgrade options that are affordable. It is a good idea to think about when their contract ends. If it is already over, a new phone could be very much welcomed. If the contract is new, you may want to look at investing in another tech gift.

There is also the issue of the carrier. While most carriers have the same phones, some use different networks such as 3G and LTE. Most new phones support all types of networks, but it is worthwhile verifying whether the phones you have selected are supported on the user's network.

2. What platform is best?

There are three major mobile platforms, or operating systems available:
  • Android (current version: 4.4) - Google's operating system is one of the two most popular systems and is largely considered to be the most open. With a large variety of apps, Android is found on the vast majority of mobile devices. Because of the largely fragmented nature of Android, updates are often slow to reach some non-Google devices. One of the biggest selling points of Android is the deep integration with Google's other services.
  • iOS (current version: iOS 7) - Apple's operating system is possibly the most well known operating system and is considered the easiest to use. iOS has a wide variety of apps, and developers usually release their apps on iOS first. Updates are also released to most devices, so you can be sure that your device will be up-to-date. Possibly the biggest selling point of iOS is Apple's well known quality and the fact that the devices are renowned for being easy to use.
  • Windows Phone (current version: Windows Phone 8) - The latest addition to the mobile scene, Windows Phone is the mobile version of Microsoft's Windows. While not as popular as the other two major operating systems, it is still a great system. The majority of the most important mobile apps are on the Windows phone. However, there are not as many when compared with the other two systems. The biggest selling point of this platform is the integration with Windows Exchange, which makes it a great system for business users who also use Windows and Office.

3. What hardware is best?

All three of the major platforms - Android, iOS, and Windows Phone - comprise of phones with different hardware. The high-end devices have leading hardware that will be more than capable of handling any task.

Android has the biggest range of devices which have all types of hardware. Flagship devices like the HTC One, Google Nexus 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 all have powerful hardware. In general, Android devices with smaller screens, tend to have lower hardware specs while those with bigger screens have better hardware.

The iPhones on the other hand have two models: the high-end 5s and the slightly less powerful 5c. Both of these models have hardware that is more than capable of handling most tasks. While some view this uniformity as a downside, it has worked well for millions of users.

Windows Phone devices are more in the middle - there are more devices to choose from than the iPhone, yet fewer than Android. As with Android, there are devices with varying levels of hardware and those with smaller screens (below 4 inches) tend to have lower hardware specs, while those with bigger screens are more powerful. Nokia and HTC are two leading Windows Phone producers.

As a general rule of thumb, newer phones have better hardware and are able to handle almost any task. One thing to keep in mind is the systems the person uses on a daily basis. If they prefer Google, Android may be a better choice. That being said, the platforms all have apps that allow you to connect to your preferred system e.g., a Gmail app you can download to your iPhone.

4. How much to spend

Finally, your decision comes down to how much you want to spend. Most phones can be purchased two ways:
  1. Outright - Purchasing a phone outright is normally done through electronics stores or online. You will pay the full price, but the phone will usually be unlocked, meaning you can use any appropriate SIM card in the device, regardless of the carrier.
  2. Subsidized - The other option is to go with a carrier who offers the phone. Carriers bundle phones with plans and will pay for a large percentage of the device. While the device is cheaper, you will usually have to pay a small fee if you want to keep hold of it after the contract ends.
If you are going to buy your phone outright set a budget. The majority of high-end devices will cost you between USD$300 and USD$500 while mid-range will be between USD$150 and USD$300.

When picking a phone as a gift, why not ask the person what they prefer first. Most people who are looking for a new smartphone will have an idea as to what kind of phone they want and what they want to use it for.

If you are looking to learn more about picking the right smartphone for yourself or someone else, get in touch today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 26th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Sep24_COne of the more tiresome, frustrating and often dreaded business functions that small business managers and owners have to deal with is their company's finances. While you may not enjoy or excel at this area of business the fact remains that looking after your revenue in an ordered, proficient way has to be done. One solution may lie in mobile apps that aim to make finances a bit easier to deal with.

There are many financial apps out there on the market. Here is an overview of five of the most popular to help make your life a bit easier.

1. FreshBooks

An app is for small business owners on the move. With powerful features like the ability to take pictures of receipts and bills for filing of expenses, to being able to bill or invoice your clients from nearly any mobile device. When you log into the app, you are able to see how much money you are owed and can access features like billing, time tracking, estimates and reports.

Because this system is based in the cloud, it is always up-to-date and is available on nearly any device that can connect to the Internet. Combine this with the FreshBooks accounting system and you have an incredibly powerful, cloud-based accounting system at your fingertips. The app is available on both iTunes and Google Play.

2. Intuit Online Payroll

Intuit's accounting software is among the most popular software used by small businesses and personal users. While most mobile apps allow users to invoice and track expenses, few actually allow you to complete the other half of finance: Paying people. With this app, you can pay your employees, contractors and if you are in the US you can pay your taxes from almost any mobile device.

The app is available on both Google Play and iTunes and starts at USD $20.00 a month for the basic package which allows you to pay your employees.

3. Expensify

If you or your employees travel for business, chances are high that they struggle with keeping accurate records of their expenses and filing expense reports when they get back to the office. Expensify is an app that makes the expense process easier.

With this app you take pictures of bills, specify which account they should be filed under, and the app takes care of the rest, creating an expense entry where you can enter a merchant and price. When you are back, simply submit your report and you are done. The app is available for free on iTunes, Google Play, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

4. Square

Square is the mobile cash register solution that has started to gain traction with businesses around the world. By attaching a reader to your mobile device, you can accept cash and debit cards, as long as you have an Internet connection.

Other options include a full POS that can be run on a tablet and even dongles that function as a wallet, allowing customers to pay without their credit cards or cash. The app is available free on Google Play and iTunes. Once you download the app you then sign up for the card reader and swiped transactions cost 2.75% of the total transaction.

5. Mint

While keeping track of your company's finances on a mobile device may seem like a good idea, what about your personal finances? It's not uncommon for people to have more than one bank account and multiple credit cards, and keeping track of these can be a tough job. Mint is an app that allows users to monitor their various accounts from one platform.

With this app you can see your investments, bank balances and even retirement savings from your mobile device. You can also set up and maintain budgets, which definitely makes managing personal finances easier. The app also keeps track of your expenses and provides easy to read reports with overviews of how much you are spending and on what. Mint is available for free on Google Play and iTunes.

If you are looking for more solutions to help with your finances, why not contact us today? We may have one that fits your business needs.


Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

April 10th, 2013

MobileGeneral_April10_CWhen it comes to technology, there is so much to choose from that picking any system or device is a daunting task. This is especially true for tablets which come with different systems, apps and features. There's also no doubting that tablets can help make many people's jobs easier. So what do you do when you want a new tablet? The easiest thing is to compare them.

Here's a five point comparison of the three most popular 10-inch tablets - Apple's iPad 4, Google's Nexus 10 and Microsoft's Surface Pro.

Price
  • Apple iPad - The iPad starts at USD$499 for the cheapest model and USD$929 for the top model. The major differences between the models is storage size and connectivity options.
  • Google Nexus 10 - The Nexus 10 starts at USD$399 for the base model and USD$499 for the top model. The only real difference between the two models is storage size.
  • Microsoft Surface Pro - The base model of the Surface Pro starts at USD$899 while the other model starts at USD$999.

The prices listed above are for just the device, the price you pay will be higher if you add peripherals like keyboard cases, screen protectors or extended warranty.

Storage

  • iPad - Comes with 16, 32, 64 or 128GB of storage.
  • Nexus 10 - Has either 16 or 32GB of storage.
  • Surface Pro - Offers 64 or 128GB of storage. The Pro also has a Micro SD card reader which can support up to 64GB of extra storage. There is also a USB port which you could connect an external hard drive to, allowing for nearly unlimited storage.

It's important to note that these storage numbers are provided by the manufacturer of the device, these numbers don't include the space the operating system and other pre-installed programs take up. For example the Surface Pro 64GB actually has 29GB of usable storage space. In comparison: The Nexus 10 32GB has about 29GB of usable space while the iPad 32GB has slightly over 27GB.

Internet Connectivity

  • iPad - There are two versions: Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi/3g/LTE (Mobile data).
  • Nexus 10- Wi-Fi only.
  • Surface Pro - Wi-Fi only.

Being able to connect to the Internet either through a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection is important for many business users, especially if you are out of the office on a regular basis.

Battery life

  • iPad - Around 10 hours with normal use.
  • Nexus 10 - Around 8.5 hours with normal use.
  • Surface Pro - Around four hours.

The total battery life depends on what users do with the tablets. The numbers reflect what an average business user will get out of their tablet. As with almost any mobile device, it would be a good idea to keep a spare cord at the office and at home so you can charge it when you need to.

Apps

  • iPad - Apple's App Store has slightly over 800,000 apps, many with versions optimized for the iPad.
  • Nexus 10 - Google Play also has slightly over 800,000 apps available to download. The number of tablet-specific apps is far lower than the App Store however.
  • Surface Pro - The Surface Pro runs a full version of Windows 8, which means any Windows program that is compatible with Windows 8 will work on the Surface Pro.

Which is best for business?

When it comes to buying a tablet for work, you need to take into account what you will be using it for. Below are eight popular scenarios and which devices may be best suited for that task.

  1. Email only - If you are looking for a tablet to just check your email on, it would be a good idea to look at the Nexus 10. The main reason for this is twofold: First, you can install different virtual keyboards which make it easier for you to type messages. Second: There are more email apps that allow you to connect to multiple accounts.
  2. On a budget - The Nexus 10 is the cheapest 10-inch tablet, and would be the best option here.
  3. To replace a laptop - The Surface Pro, which costs the same as most mid-range laptops, is really more of a laptop with a touch screen, which makes it an ideal candidate to replace an existing laptop.
  4. To help with presentations - The Surface Pro is your best option here. Because you can install a full version of Office 2013 (with PowerPoint) on the device which is mostly portable, you shouldn't need anything else. Beyond that, there is a mini display port which allows you to connect to any monitor or projection screen (HDMI or VGA) with an adapter.
  5. Everyday use - If you plan to be doing a bit of everything, including personal use, most users will go with the iPad due to its ease of use and great platform.
  6. Google user - The Nexus 10 is built to be the 'Google' tablet; what Google deems to be the benchmark for other Android tablets. As such, any Google user will find this tablet to be the best choice, especially if you use Google Apps in the office.
  7. Apple user - If you use an iPhone or Apple computers in your office, the iPad would be the best device.
  8. Microsoft user - Windows users will likely benefit most from the Microsoft Surface.

If you're looking for a new tablet and would like help figuring out which will be best for your business needs please contact us today, we may be able to help.


Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 14th, 2013

MobileGeneral_Feb13_CImagine you've just had a long day at the office and are on your way home. You step into the busy subway only to have the person beside you pull out their phone and begin playing the latest game with the sound on. While it may be fun for them, it's likely incredibly annoying to you and everyone else. Do you practice 'mobile etiquette'? If not, it may be time to start.

Here's six cell phone etiquette tips you should practice to ensure you show respect to your peers, and people around you while on your phone.

  1. Watch what you snap - Almost every phone has a camera these days, and we can't help but take pictures of nearly everything. While it is convenient to take pictures with your phone, there are times when it's not a good idea, such as in a meeting, for example. In general, if you are supposed to be paying attention to something, don't take pictures.
  2. Indoor voices - It's not uncommon to hear someone practically yelling into their phone on a busy street. This is often because they think that they can't be heard by the person on the other end. The vast majority of modern phones have powerful enough microphones and noise cancelling technology to enable users to talk with an indoor voice, even while out on the busy street. If the person you're talking to can't hear you, try cupping your other hand over your mouth and directing the sound towards the phone.
  3. Darn you autocorrect! - Most phones use touchscreen keyboards as their input for text. This can be quite inaccurate, so OS developers created autocorrect, which usually picks the wrong word, leading to some potentially embarrassing situations. When typing on your phone, be sure to always read over what you have written before you hit send.
  4. Resist the beep - One of the more annoying things about smartphones is that every time a notification sounds people rush to check it. This can be seen as rude, especially if when you are talking with a customer your phone goes off and you cut off from them to check it. It's a surefire way to lose the sale! When you're in meetings, or talking with customers/employees, ignore your phone until you are free to answer/check. If you are expecting an important call, excuse yourself before turning your attention to your phone..
  5. Pick the right notifications - Your phone has numerous notification levels. You can set the phone to vibrate, ring, or for lights to flash, etc. If you are in a meeting, it's best to set your phone on silent, as even vibrate is enough to distract these days. Really, the only time your phone should be on ring is when you have it in your pocket, or are in a loud location and unlikely to hear it.
  6. Turn it off every now and then - smartphones bring the ability to be always connected, which can be both good and bad. Sometimes being constantly connected leads to higher stress, and increased work hours at the expense of your personal life. You shouldn't be too afraid of spending a bit of time away from your phone every now and then. Just be sure to let people know that you won't be answering calls or texts.
Polite use of your smartphone will go a long way toward ensuring you are seen as a person that others want to do business with. What are your etiquette rules in regards to phone use? Let us know.

If you would like to learn more about how to leverage smartphones in your business, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 8th, 2013

The modern business owner and manager has a lot of information to keep tabs on. Firstly, there is what their customers are doing and what they want; secondly, there is what the competitors are doing. When it comes to tracking competition however, it can be extremely time consuming, especially with all the social media and deal websites out there. Thankfully, there is an app that might make it easier to keep track of your competitor's social media campaigns.

Perch is a free app developed by Closely for the iOS and Android platforms. The concept of the app is that it provides you with a central place from which you can keep track of your competitor's social media campaigns.

Think of this app as your own personal business CIA. It allows you to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing on Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp and many other daily deal sites. You can even set it up so that you get a daily or weekly summary email with details on competitor efforts.

The app is powered by Foursquare's location technology, and when you first sign on it will display similar companies in your area. From there you are able to add companies to a watchlist which will constantly keep track of their social activity.

Is this a good idea? Keeping track of what your competitors are doing makes good business sense, and apps like Perch can help you cut back the amount of time you spend doing competitive research. This is a two-way street as it also gives your competitors a way to easily view what you are doing.

Some opponents have noted that apps like these that essentially allow businesses to spy on one another, could foster a non-competitive environment if every time a business does something, all competitors follow. This negates the benefits the app aims to offer. Then again, this app is really an aggregator of information that's freely available on the Internet, so it really just makes it easier to do something that businesses are already able to do.

One thing's for certain: Businesses that rely on daily deal sites, or review sites like Yelp, will greatly benefit from an app like this. We'd like to know your thoughts, from both a moral and business standpoint, on using mobile apps like Perch. Let us know.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 26th, 2012

In recent history there have been some great debates: Frost vs. Nixon, communism vs. democracy, Coke vs. Pepsi. One of the biggest debates is a four-way debate between which mobile system is better, is it Android, iOS, Windows Phone or BlackBerry? Everyone you ask will have an opinion and anyone with the opposite opinion is usually wrong. These debates often gloss over security of devices, leaving managers wondering what mobile device is best security wise?

Here’s a comparison of the security of the four most popular mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry.

Encryption The ability to encrypt your phone (make the data unreadable without a key) is an important feature if you use your phone to view or store private or secure documents. Users of Android 4.0/4.1 and iOS can encrypt their device using a password. Users of Windows phone 7/7.5 have basic encryption built into the device, however, it doesn’t meet the encryption requirements of many organizations. On-device encryption will be introduced in Windows Phone 8.

BlackBerry users can encrypt their phones manually, or if they are part of a business network, the administrator of that network can set encryption on all devices. Mobile OSs, minus Windows Phone 7, and Android 2.X and earlier, have strong enough encryption to meet the needs of the majority of organizations.

While your devices can be encrypted, you should be aware that the encryption is done when the phone shuts off and powers on. If you constantly leave your device on, encryption is less effective.

Remote wipe The ability to remotely wipe a device in case of loss is a must for many professionals. Users of BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone have built-in options to remotely wipe their phones through a cloud service. BlackBerry uses BlackBerry Protect, iOS uses a feature of iCloud called Find my iPhone and Windows Phone uses the Windows Phone website. Android is a bit different in that the OS doesn’t have a built-in remote wipe option, but there are apps available. With all of these systems, you log in to a website and can either lock or wipe the phone.

You should be aware that remote wipe is a last resort solution, you will loose all of your data and information. If it’s not backed up, there is no way to get it back.

Password All devices have options to set a password or passcode to unlock the phone after it has gone to sleep. You can also set how robust the password protection is, or which form of pass protection you use to access your phone. In truth, there are more passcode options on mobile devices than most desktop environments.

Some systems have a few extra options, like the ability to trace a pattern code or using your face to unlock the phone. The stock setting of sliding to unlock should not be used by any user. At the very least you should have a four digit numerical pin to unlock your phone. If you don’t have a password on your phone, features like encryption and remote wipe are more or less useless, as your data can be easily accessed anyway.

Apps Most security threats to mobile devices don’t come from losing your device, rather they come from apps. All mobile OSs have a place where users can download apps for their phones. Some of these are more secure than others. As BlackBerry is largely business oriented, the apps on the store are too and must meet a certain level of security before they’re posted on the store.

iOS apps are only available to download from the App Store, as part of iTunes. This allows Apple to be stringent with their rules; apps on the App Store must meet Apple’s requirements or they won’t be allowed to be sold on the store.

Windows Phone follows a process similar to Apple’s and BlackBerry’s. The developer submits their app for review, Microsoft tests the app and then either puts it on to the store, or rejects it. With the lower number of users, fewer malicious apps make it onto the store.

Android follows a more laissez faire process. Almost every app is allowed onto the Google Play store, which in turn has turned Android into a bit of a hacker’s delight. Google does monitor apps, and has started to remove malicious apps, but there are still more of these on Google Play than other app stores. That being said, the store is a lot more secure than it was even a year ago.

While OS developers tout the security and safety of apps on their app stores, each has had malicious apps make their way onto the stores. The ideal thing to do is to restrict what apps can be downloaded onto company phones by having an approved app list.

Email security The security of email, the most common form of business communication on mobile devices is an important issue to be aware of. All mobile platforms support encryption used by the major email providers. If your company uses Microsoft Exchange or a similar server, any encryption applied at the server level is supported on the mobile level. Personal services like Google automatically encrypt email.

Device management If you have implemented a Bring Your Own Device policy (BYOD), or issue mobile devices to employees, you need to be able to manage these devices. BlackBerry devices can all be managed by an administrator with apps, updates and security issues pushed to the phones by the administrator. At this time, the other systems support remote management, however, device management has to be done through third party solutions.

Each mobile system has pros and cons when it comes to security of related devices, and each new version brings with it better security. In truth, the devices themselves are fairly secure. To ensure a secure mobile device, multiple features and apps need to be utilized by both the user and, if necessary, the administrator/IT manager of your company. If you have questions regarding the security of your mobile device please contact us, we may have a solution for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 21st, 2012

Losing something is always tough, having to spend time looking for it, turning the house and office upside down only to come to the realization that it has indeed been lost. This is even worse when it’s a useful device like your smartphone. Many small business owners keep their whole life on their phones, and if they lose it, it’s a big deal.

Here are four things you should do before you lose your phone and three things you should do when you lose it.

While you still have your phone

  1. Put your contact information on your phone’s lock screen. On Android, go into Settings, select Security followed by Owner Info. Put in your info and tick the box at the top of the window. For iPhone users, you’ll need to create an image with your contact information. When you have an image, plug your phone into your computer and put the photo in iPhoto. From there select Settings followed by Wallpaper. Pick the image you created and select Home. You’ll notice it show up on your lock screen.
  2. Install a tracker app. Tracker apps allow you to take control of your phone from a remote location (not your phone) and do things like wipe the memory, turn on the ringtone and GPS. For Android users, Android Lost and Wheres My Droid are both good apps. For iPhone users, Find my iPhone is the best app, and should already be on your phone. If you have a Windows phone you can simply log in to My Phone and click Find a lost Phone.
  3. Put your contact info in the phone. Many people who find a phone will turn it on and try to look for the owner of the phone, why not help them out and put called “Me”, or “In case of emergency.” Be sure to include another phone number and email so people can contact you.
  4. Backup important information. You should be backing up your data for this reason. Luckily most smartphone operating systems sync with the cloud, so be sure to turn on syncing to ensure important information and contacts are backed up.
When you lose your phone
  1. Call and text it. Before you activate the tracker app, try calling your phone and sending a text from another phone, maybe someone will pick it up or see it.
  2. Activate tracer. When you can get to a computer, log in to the website the tracker uses and use some of the options. The first thing you should do is turn on the GPS and see the phone’s location. If that doesn’t work, try sounding the ringer. As a last resort, wipe the memory.
  3. Contact the Police. If you’re worried about the information you have on your phone, or have reason to believe it was stolen, you should contact the police. It’s a long shot, but people have been known to also turn in lost cellphones to police stations, so it may be worth a visit.
It isn’t fun to lose a phone, but if you take steps to minimize the possibility of losing all of your data, you could be back up and running on a new phone in no time. If you’d like to learn more about securing your phone, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 15th, 2012

At the office we’ve become paranoid about keeping our computers secure. Many companies use security devices and passwords to ensure their data is safe. The same can’t be said for smartphones. Many of us take no, or, at the very most basic, steps to ensure that our phones are safe. With the majority of employees using their device for both work and personal use, the need to keep our devices secure is paramount.

Whether you have an Android, iPhone or Windows Phone 7, here are two tips to keep your smartphone secure:

Lock your screen If you have data or information on your phone you would like to keep secure, the first thing you should do is lock your screen. Most smartphone users lock their phone with a 4 digit number combination, but it’s recommended you use a password for higher security.

  • On Android. To establish a password on your device go to Settings and select Security. Press Screen lock. On Ice Cream Sandwich, you have six options for security, with the least secure at the top and most secure at the bottom. Many users select Pattern or Password. Enter the password twice and press Confirm.
  • On iPhone. Select the Settings app followed by General. From there select Passcode Lock and turn it on. You’ll be asked to set your passcode and confirm it.
  • On Windows Phone. To set a passcode go to the home screen of your device. Open Settings from your Application list and select Lock & Wallpaper. Press Password, enter your password and then press Done.
It’s recommended that you set a password that’s unique. Don’t use your birthday, address or phone number. At the same time, you have to make it easy to remember. If you’re having trouble coming up with a password, this video by Mozilla is a big help.

Enable remote wipe While passwords and other security codes will go a long way in preventing others from accessing your phone, it often isn’t enough. The next step in device security is to set up the ability to remotely wipe your device.

  • On Android. At this time there is no native remote wipe option on your phone. You’ll have to download an app from the Play store. The apps work by using a push service - you “push” the commands to your phone from another source i.e., a website. When you install the app, you’ll have to register your phone and access it from a website.
  • On iPhone. The iPhone has remote wipe capabilities which can be accessed through iCloud. On your device select Settings, iCloud and turn on Find my iPhone. If you lose your phone log into iCloud and select Find my iPhone. From there you’ll be able to remotely wipe your device.
  • On Windows Phone. If you lose your phone you can remotely wipe it by going to the Windows Phone website, logging in and selecting My Phone. From there you’ll be able to wipe your phone.
Even if you don’t have confidential information on your phone, it’s a good idea to, at the very least, set a solid passcode on your phone. Adding the ability to remotely wipe your phone will ensure the information won’t be viewed by other people. If you’d like other ways to keep your mobile phone secure, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.