We’ve talked about data protection as it relates to your computer, but so many of us now spend more time on our phones than on the computer. You create and send emails, take pictures and videos, maybe compose documents and reports for work, all on your smart phone. Regardless of whether it is an iPhone or Android, there are ways you can set up your phone to effectively protect the data that is on it. In that way, you can think of it as a “disposable phone” meaning that if you lose or break it, a new phone can quickly be set up with all of your critical data.
Contacts and Calendar
Previously before the advent of computers and smart phones, we used paper based address books and calendars to run our lives. Early personal digital assistants allowed us to digitize this information. With this information being so critical, losing it can be very costly to our lives. By default, most phones can store calendar and contacts but with this default it means that the data is only on the phone. The first step to protecting this data is to store your calendar, contacts, and also notes and tasks in the cloud. This can be with Apple iCloud, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and several others. Most of these services can be added to popular smartphones and allow real time syncing of this data. As you add a calendar entry on either your computer or phone, the data is saved to the cloud and made available on your various devices.
Photos and Videos
It’s so easy to take pictures and we take more now than in any other time in human history! As these pictures pile up on your phone you are at risk of losing them if something happens to the phone. There are different ways to handle photos and videos:
- Use a cloud based service such as iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox to back up pictures as you take them
- Regularly copy pictures from your phone to your computer where they are then backed up to a cloud based service. This can also be an effective way to handle pictures and videos on phones that don’t have a lot of storage space
With mobile versions of Word and other word processors now available, you can create lengthy documents such as reports for work or school assignments right on your phone. Imagine how you would feel if you spend weeks or months working on something that was then lost when your phone broke. If you store documents in Dropbox or OneDrive or a similar cloud based service, you can open and edit these files on your phone or your computer and know that the file is safe. If you store your copies of bills and statements online in the same Dropbox or OneDrive, then you can access these from anywhere.
Other App based Data
We all have lots of apps on our phones in every category imaginable. For each type of smart phone there is an online, cloud based method of storing all types of app data. Apple uses iCloud and Android uses your Google/Gmail account. As long as your phone is set up with these cloud services, most modern apps will store their little bits of data within the cloud. This could be as simple as your weather app that remembers the 10 cities whose weather you want to track. Or more importantly, a time tracking app that you use for billing clients can store its data in the cloud. It’s important as you start using new apps, make sure that they store their data in the cloud to ensure that you are protected.
Handling the loss of your smart phone
If you’ve followed the guidelines listed here and you either lose or break your phone, don’t fear for your data. Yes, you will have to buy a new phone, but often the cost of your critical data can be far greater than the cost of your phone. When you set up your phone, it will restore all the data from the cloud and you are back up and running very quickly.
Have you ever lost of broken your phone? Did you get back all your data or if not, what did you lose?