Have you ever stopped to think how much information is accessible on your smartphone?  Chances are you have work, client, and personal data stored on your phone in emails, contacts, or applications.  How well are you protecting this information?  Here are a few easy practices we recommend to keep your smartphone safe and protected: 

1: Don’t leave your phone unattended.  Leaving your smartphone exposed in a public place screams “take me!” Phones are easy to swipe and thieves know they hold just as much information as your laptop, purse, or wallet, if not more, and are much easier to access.  If you lose your phone or you believe it has been stolen, call your service provider to have the service disconnected to the phone, and ask if the provider has the ability to remotely “wipe” the phone (which will clear all of the data off of the phone and prevent anyone who obtains the phone from accessing your information stored on the device).

2: Use a password on your phone.  All smartphones and most cell phones have security capabilities that allow the phone to be manually or automatically locked which require a password to unlock and gain access to the device.  Be sure to create a unique password like you would for access to your laptop, email account, or software, not a password that could be easily guessed (like “1, 2, 3, 4.”)  Enabling a password on your phone is the simplest way to safeguard the information on your phone.

3: Don’t keep sensitive information stored on your smartphone, particularly confidential work or client data.  Make sure you have a backup copy of important data, emails, documents, or applications on a computer, server, or jump-drive.  Also beware of items on your phone that contain vulnerable personal information such as passwords, bank account information, credit card numbers, etc.  Remember if your phone is compromised you are at an increased risk of personal and corporate identity theft, so the less information you have exposed, the better protected you will be.

4: Use the Encryption option on your smartphone.  While available on some phone brands, currently the brand that offers the greatest full data encryption are Blackberry devices.  When enabled, the Blackberry encryption option scrambles the data selected for encryption so that it can’t be interpreted and read during transmission (for example, when you are sending an email, or using online banking on your phone).  This feature also prevents hackers from reading any information encrypted if unauthorized access is obtained (i.e. if they hack into your phone.)

Cell phone security

5: Privacy filters.  Similar to the filters available for computer screens, these filters are thin plastic covers that can be placed on device screens (regular and touchscreen).  When viewed from the side or an angle, the filter shades the screen of your phone and prevents the people around you from being able to see and read your smartphone screen.  It may sound simple, but these inexpensive filters are an easy way to keep information confidential.

6: Do a little security research when purchasing a smartphone.  There are all kinds of smartphone devices available, and each provider, brand, model, and style has different security options and levels.  While you are researching which phone has the best applications and capabilities for you and/or your business, be sure to find out what security features are offered on the device and network.  For example, Blackberry offers businesses the “Blackberry Enterprise Server” an application that provides email encryption and security functions.

7: Consider implementing a company policy on smartphone security.  If your employees use company provided or personal smartphones to conduct company business, you should have security guidelines in place to protect the information that is being stored and transmitted on the device.  You can easily start your policy with these simple steps!

About Blackman & Sloop CPAs, P.A.:

Blackman & Sloop is a full-service CPA firm headquartered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is actively involved in auditing, taxation, management consulting, financial planning, and related services. The firm directs a large part of its services toward providing management with advice on budgeting, forecasts, projections, financing decisions, financial analysis, and tax developments. The firm also performs review and compilation services and prepares not-for-profit, corporate, individual, estate, retirement plan, and trust tax returns as well as technology consulting services regarding installation and training on QuickBooks. Blackman & Sloop provides services in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, RTP, Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Charlotte, and the rest of North Carolina. To find out more please visit http://www.blackmansloop.com


Contact: CPA cpa@blackmansloop.com

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1414 Raleigh Rd, Suite 300
Chapel Hill, NC 27517