Stop for a minute and imagine the devastating mess you would be in if your phone security was breached and information was stolen or lost. Most of us conduct business over our mobile phones, leaving us potentially vulnerable to cyber attacks. Here are several things you can do as a business owner to help ensure your device is not infiltrated by those who wish to harm or cause mischief.

Keep Software Updated

“Unlocking” your iPhone is common for those who want to skirt security measures and download apps not officially registered by Apple, but this leaves you open to hacks, Trojan viruses, and bugs. Both Android phones and the iPhones are set up with security within their systems that is regularly updated with fixes to new threats. By keeping the security on your phone intact and updating it regularly, you will avoid unnecessary gaps in your protection.

Don’t Use Other Chargers

phone charger

Image via Flickr by Phil Roeder

Surprisingly, cables used for charging your phone could be easily modified to include microcomputers which grab information from your device. Only use your own cable to recharge your device’s battery.

Use the GPS Feature Wisely

When an app asks for access to your location through GPS, only use it sparingly. If you do not feel that information is absolutely necessary to the task, deny the request. Some apps demand access to your GPS data, so you might have to avoid certain apps if you wish to keep a higher level of security.

Physically Protect Your Device

cell phone case

Image via Flickr by Janitors

One of the easiest ways for people to access your information is to simply steal your phone. Keep your phone out of the hands of strangers and safe from prying eyes to avoid unwanted thieves or problems. You might want to use a separate tablet for business needs instead, like the powerful yet lightweight Google Nexus 9, so that you aren’t as tempted to take it out with you to social events and risking losing or breaking it. Combine that with a strong network such as T-Mobile’s 4G network that is not only reliable but safe to use, giving you the peace of mind you need when handling business transactions from your smartphone or tablet.

Use Smart Passwords

Image via Flickr by memebinge

Today’s most common passwords include 1234, 1111, abc123, and password. While you would expect people to be concerned about virtual security, most are simply interested in the convenience of an easy and memorable password. Use a variety of passwords so that every account has its own password. Also, consider using combinations of letters and numbers with a meaning that isn’t obvious (birthdays, anniversaries, or a favorite sports team name).

Look at How Your Company May Be at Risk

Find out how employees are accessing your company’s data. The information technology research firm Gartner believes that almost 40 percent of employees use personal devices for work. Having employees accessible after hours (and on their own dime) is great, but this outside access can interfere with your company’s security measures. Cloud-based applications can help avoid server security problems, but will need single sign-on and password credentials to keep out unwanted guests.

Be Chicken Little

You might not want to run around screaming that the sky is falling, but taking your worst-case scenario into consideration will help you be prepared. Do you have backups that are virtually and physically located in separate, safe places in case of a fire or natural disaster? Do you know what data is sensitive and would cause harm if it fell into the wrong hands? Just like a school practicing a fire drill, your business will be far less impacted by stress and chaos when you’ve already considered the best exit strategies and emergency plans.

While you won’t want to stress yourself out over security and possible threats, you do need to be aware. Make sure you are following best practices to avoid security breaches that could lead to expensive problems for your company. Today’s technology makes creating, logging, storing, and accessing data easier than ever, but that also means it is easier for a hacker to access if he or she manages to breach your walls.

One of the easiest ways for people to access your information is to simply steal your phone. Your provider may support an app for helping track down a lost or stolen phone. For example, Apple offers a Find My iPhone app for tracking, locking, and erasing information from its devices. Most providers will also lock your phone if you report it lost or stolen—making it impossible for anyone else to use or unlock your device.