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Should you put company sensitive information on smartphones?

Smartphones have opened a new door for people, especially in business. Not only are they more available and easy to contact with a cell phone, but there are other uses. With so much information on the Internet and the convenience of email at their fingertips, it makes sense that the smartphone has seen a surge in popularity, especially with the advent of the iPhone and the BlackBerry. Because these smartphones are used so often for business purposes, you may find yourself asking if you should put company sensitive information on smartphones.

Many people are surprised when they find out how susceptible mobile devices, including the smartphone, are to hackers and information thieves. Few people would consider going on a wireless network with their laptop without the proper antivirus and security precautions. But, most people don't give much thought to the security of their mobile devices, like smartphones or PDA's.Yet, these devices, though smaller, require just as much.

In fact, security experts are finding more viruses and worms specifically targeting smartphones. They see an open door - the users probably haven't installed the proper security precautions on their mobile devices, so hackers see a window of opportunity.

Another thing going against mobile devices like smartphones and PDA's that, due to their size, they are both easy to lose and steal. Often, these devices are simply protected by login ID and password, which can be bypassed by a hacker. Losing a mobile device to either theft or accident can create a big problem, depending on the kind of information that was on it.

So should you put company sensitive information on smart phones?While there are some risks to doing so, there are also precautions that can be taken to secure this information.

One way is to install the proper security programs. Most people have virus protection software on their home computers and laptops. Many people, though, don't consider installing the same software on their PDA's, phones, and other wireless devices. The problem may also be that people don't realize that mobile devices usually don't come with the needed security features and they figure all is taken care of.

Securing your mobile device can be done easily and without much expense.Also, just as you are aware of suspicious emails and links sent to your laptop, you should be equally suspicious of anything sent to your mobile device that seems odd or unfamiliar. If something looks suspicious or if you don't recognize the sender, it is worth staying on the safe side and deleting it. If it is important, chances are, the sender will notify you and re-send it.

Another thing to consider doing if you have company sensitive information on your smartphone is to use an independent security service.These companies offer a whole range of services to protect both your mobile device and the information on it. Most companies will encrypt the information. They can also lock and delete all information from the device from a remote location.There is even a service that will make your smartphone give off a screaming sound if it is lost or stolen so that no one can use it. A security service costs anywhere from $150-200 a year - depending how sensitive your information is. It is also worth finding out if your employer will cover the cost.

There are risks to keeping company sensitive information on smartphones - if you don't take the proper steps.With the right antivirus software installed on it and with some help from an independent security service, you will feel comfortable keeping anything on it.

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