What’s your personal backup plan?

Would you feel lost without your smartphone? If the answer is an emphatic Yes, how would you feel if your smartphone were actually lost or stolen?

All of your personal computing devices, including smartphones, are filled with private information — from your text and chat communications and contacts to personal calendars and photos. You may even be storing sensitive information such as your credit and debit card numbers on these devices. You rely on these technologies to conduct many of your daily activities, such as banking, shopping and paying bills. Though your devices keep you connected and more efficient in your daily life, left unsecured, they can also open you up to the damaging consequences of data loss and identity theft.

Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to ensure your device is properly secured and backed up, along with additional safety features that protect your data in the event of damage, loss or even theft.

Ensure your device is properly protected

  • Set a screen lock code (preferably a 6-digit one), swipe lock or other security feature to prevent unwanted access.
  • Set screen timeout to the shortest tolerable time and manually lock the screen, when your device is not in use.
  • Ensure you make regular operating system, application and software updates to help avoid security vulnerabilities.
  • Periodically review what’s stored on your device and remove any sensitive information that does not need to be stored.

Regularly back up your data
For personal devices, routinely back up data using secure Cloud storage services, such as Google Drive. Google also has an Android Backup Service. Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) and iCloud (for Apple devices) are other options.

If your device is used to conduct university activities, refer to NC State’s Data Security Framework to ensure you are properly handling data.

Register with a tracking service to remotely find and secure device data

  • Android Device Manager or Find My iPhone / Find My Mac for Apple devices allow you to locate and lock a missing device or even wipe data.
  • Some apps, such as Lookout Personal for Android or iOS, provide location services and theft protection, along with other security features and Cloud backup/storage. Do some research to find the best products for your device.

Note: It is important to report all stolen devices to the police for investigation and retrieval, even if you have located them via the above services.