We love technology. However, you may not always take the extra steps to protect your technological investments. You may not realize how technology can help you stay safe as well. There are many free and/or affordable options on the market that are designed to help you protect your investments and to work safely. You simply just have to do your homework on your options.
The number one way to keep your smartphone hack-proof (and all contacts information and e-mails secure) is to require a password for use. Do not use easy to remember passwords like 1-2-3-4, or 2-5-8-0 (straight down the keypad) or personal information, such as your birthday or the last four digits of your phone number. Those kinds of passwords are easy to figure out so you want to make the password harder for someone to figure out and use against you. It’s an extra step but one that can potentially save your business and sanity.
Here are three good rules to technology safety:
- Keep technology locked up literally and virtually. For instance, don't leave laptops or tablets in the car visible.
- Install a tracking device on valuables (see below).
- Install the same anti-virus software and protections as you would on your home or office PC on your phone. Smartphones are susceptible to the same viruses as computers. Moore emphasized that since we rely on phones and laptops as everyday business tools, a virus can have a devastating financial impact on your livelihood.
You should also consider storing documents on a safe cloud platform to keep information on laptops safer. Cloud platforms often offer transaction and form management features in addition to electronic storage.
Surprisingly, there are a number of safety and security apps or web-based programs on the market. Do your research and determine which features are most important for your business. Do you use your cell phone for business? Do you e-mail and receive client financial documents from your smartphone? Do you carry your laptop with you and use it for work? Most answer “YES” to many of these questions.
We are multi-taskers. You take phone calls, answer emails, text, juggle busy schedules, are in and out of your car all day and often times start early in the morning and end late at night. Sometimes the everyday things we do can be a danger to ourselves without even realizing it – like texting and driving. Another option for keeping the information on your smartphone safe if it has been lost or stolen is to install a tracking device on it. A tracking device can also be installed on laptops and notebooks. Key features to look for in a good tracking device include:
- Remote storage and/or secure cloud storage options.
- Encryption feature with a permanent delete (quarantine) option.
- Anti-theft features which remotely locks or wipes data from a missing/stolen device, and tracks the device via GPS, Wi-Fi, and phone signal. A bonus feature is that some can remotely take picture through the device’s camera to catch any thieves in the act of using the device.
- Real-time internet threat protection to block dangerous text links and keep you safe online.
- If you have researched some of the info-based websites, you know that you can enter a phone number and find out personal information about anyone. Utilize the service that offers a local number, with a local area code, not affiliated with your actual cell number. That makes it impossible to track you in that manner. It works with all carriers.
Also invest in an encryption product for your laptop hard drive. If it's lost or stolen, the thief can't gain access to your confidential data or your client's data.
I was fascinated to know that there is a clever GPS enabled ring that broadcasts your location if you signal for help. This device allows you to push a button when you feel threatened while at a showing or during an open house. Your emergency contacts then receive a text with your location, a GPS map link, and your medical history. It can also provide up-to-the minute location tracking. Your contacts will be able to call 911 for you and provide pertinent details.
If you prefer not to wear locator jewelry, you can still provide your location, in case you need to signal for help. There is a web based application that sends alerts and text messages to your contact list when you signal that you are in danger. You can record critical information that law enforcement officials will need to locate you, including client info, your vehicle description and showing information. You also have the ability to drop digital “bread crumbs” when working.
Knowing there is technology out there designed to keep you safe on the job and knowing your options and what works best for you will help you to make well informed decisions on what you need to maintain your personal safety.