5 Ways to Safeguard Your Smartphone Data

Our Washington-based Tech Editor Jim Richardson looks at how your company can safeguard its smartphone data.

With 58 percent of the mobile market dominated by smartphones according to comScore, they can be found in plenty of pockets.

These phones are present in many aspects of people's lives, from checking bank accounts to playing "Angry Birds." Yet the same people who put as much security software as possible on their home computers, don't bother safeguarding their smartphone at all. Personal contact information, saved login information and email access represent significant ways to breech your sensitive data. If you lose your smartphone or it's stolen, you don't just lose your smartphone. You could end up with compromised bank, email and social media accounts. Here are five ways to secure your smartphone in the event that it's lost or stolen.

1. Utilize the Lock Screen

It's inconvenient to type in a passcode or use a pattern every time you want to unlock your phone. However, this is a built-in first line defense against your data getting stolen. Since it's included in the mobile operating systems, you don't even have to install anything.

2. Install Security Software

smartphone data

MobiThinking.com reports that only 4 percent of mobile device users bother installing security software on their smartphones. Virus creators are turning their attention to mobile operating systems, getting installed by using bogus applications and malicious websites. You need an anti-virus software on your smartphone as much as you need it on your computer. Many free security apps are available for installation on your phone, and the big name anti-virus companies are beginning to make headway in the mobile market.

3. Use Anti-theft Apps or Features

Forbes reports that 96 percent of people who found lost smartphones accessed it's contents. However, only 50 percent attempted to return the phone to the original owner. Some security suites include anti-theft features that track your phone even if GPS is turned off, and also allow you to wipe personal data and lock down the phone entirely. There are also third-party applications that provide anti-theft and tracking solutions. Make sure to test these features before you actually lose your phone or it gets stolen. You don't want to depend on an application that ends up flaking out on you in your time of need.

4. Stop from Automatically Connecting to Open Wi-Fi Networks

Some resourceful hackers get personal information by allowing your phone to connect to an unsecured network. If you have your phone set to automatically scan and connect to any networks it can find, you open yourself up to a great deal of risk. Keep yourself safe by only connecting to trusted networks, or staying on your 3G or 4G connection.

5. Don't Stay Signed in to Banking Websites

While it is inconvenient to enter your login information every type you want to check out Paypal or your bank, this keeps your personal data secure if your device falls into the wrong hands.