June 20, 2012

As our society evolves both in business and social interactions to rely more on mobile devices and social media to interact through the day, most of us have become more accustomed to carrying our cell phones, IPADs, laptops and other mobile devices with us throughout the day, much as one would carry a wallet.

How often do we leave these things sitting in the car when we run into the store for an errand? Stop at an appointment where it wouldn’t be appropriate to bring the devices inside? Locking the door, one assumes these devices will be safe left in the car. But what is left vulnerable through the glass windows to any prying eye could be much of your sensitive data, that if put in the hands of a perpetrator could put you or the company you work for at great risk. Recently, a gentleman from an agency in Albuquerque was in Santa Fe doing an annual audit of state agency. While he slept overnight at the Clovis Comfort Inn and Suites, his locked truck that was parked outside was broken into. The company owned laptop containing personal and financial identification data, left sitting inside the truck was stolen, affecting the employee himself, his company, and all the individuals whose data was stored on that computer.

This event is an opportunity for us to remind our customers of the importance of mobile device encryption. While one can take safeguards like not leaving such devices in locked cars, the additional safety provided by encryption ensures that if you are a victim, your personal data is unlikely to be compromised in the hands of a thief. Yes, encryption presents some inconveniences in regards to the ease of which one can access their data on their mobile devices, but a wise consumer will consider our modern reality. Mobile devices remain with us a good majority of our days. Of our hours spent during the day, our focus is not primarily devoted to ensuring those devices are always within eyesight. In fact…how many of you have gotten in your car and couldn’t find your cell phone? One panics, considering all the possible places throughout the day it could have been left. And smart phones often contain just as much data these days as some personal computers due. Encryption is a way of cloaking data from being viewed or used by anyone who does not have a password to open the data. It makes it unreadable to anyone not authorized and is important for anyone who transmits data over the internet or secures personal information in saved files. Encryption essentially is a formulated way of scrambling all this information to make it unreadable to anyone other than yourself or those you authorize.

There are various encryption options and software available . We recommend both Axcrypt and Trucrypt as great free resources for our home or some small business users, and Sophos offers an Enterprise Encryption product for larger organizations that need mandatory encryption.

If you are interested in scheduling a consult on these options, or for us to install and implement encryption on any of your devices, please call us at 505-954-4400

ECS IT Solutions Partners