Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone? In just a few short years, they’ve gone from nowhere to near ubiquity. By the end of 2014, Comscore.com reported that 182 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones equal to nearly 75% of the country’s entire mobile market! And, if you’re a small business owner, your smartphone has become an essential tool that lets you take your office wherever you go. But along with all that convenience and mobility comes a growing risk. The more you rely on your smartphone or other mobile device, the more vulnerable you are to data breaches and cyber liability lawsuits.
A bigger risk than fire
According to the Allianz Risk Barometer 2015, a survey of over 500 risk managers and corporate insurance experts worldwide identified cyber risks as the number one risk for which businesses are least prepared. The report also noted that it isn’t just a problem for big companies. Small businesses are equally exposed, and 25% of data breaches affect companies with fewer than 50 employees. In fact, they claimed, a small business has a greater chance of having a cyber breach than it does of having a fire!
Top smartphone security risks
The three most common threats are:
- Loss or theft of an unprotected smartphone
- Downloading malicious apps and attachments
- Clicking on suspicious links or visiting suspicious websites
An ounce of prevention
Insurance can help you with the costs associated with a breach and you can shop for cyber liability insurance for your small business online here. But you can also take some practical, commonsense steps to help you avoid smartphone data breaches:
- Use a PIN/keylock code
Amazingly, 54% of smartphone users in the US don’t have password security on their devices. That’s an invitation to data theft if your phone is stolen. In addition, set a SIM card lock as well to prevent a thief from simply removing the card and accessing your data in another device.
- Secure your data
Take advantage of encryption software offered with most smartphone platforms that requires a code to view or copy files and folders. Also consider a backup system that stores your data remotely on a secure online server instead of on your phone.
- Watch what you download
Take care when downloading apps, especially for an Android system. Only download from reputable sources. Pay attention to security warnings that appear when you try to view certain websites, especially if you’re accessing through an unfamiliar wireless network.
- Take care with what you store on websites
Avoid storing personal information (credit card numbers, user name and passwords) on websites, which can themselves be breached. At bare minimum, only do so on sites that are securely encrypted.
 Linda Waters, “Are Smartphones Putting Your Data at Risk?” http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/putting-smartphone-data-at-risk/