Leaving Your iPhone In The Back Of A Cab

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I recently met a technology executive who just had one of the worst experiences possible in this day and age: He had just gotten out of a New York City cab in which he left his iPhone on the seat, and watched as the cab drove away into the rainy fog of Manhattan.

They’re not just phones, and they’re not just smart phones: In many cases, they are our lives and our businesses, and they have everything we rely on to get through the day and do our jobs. They have our contacts, our e-mail and our PowerPoint presentations. They have our Starbucks cards and our credit card information. They have our airline boarding passes and our Facebook lists.

In the old days, it wasn't possible to leave your business’ CRM server in the back seat of a cab. But today, with a smart phone, it’s possible to do functionally the same thing depending on what apps you’ve installed and what mobile Web apps you have bookmarked.

These are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from this horror that warrant repeating:

• Install a remote-locate, remote-lock, remote-wipe app onto your smart phone;

• Password-protect access to your smart phone. While it might only take someone five or 10 minutes to hack past your password and get into the good data, that’s usually enough time to activate your remote-lock or remote-wipe app;

• Have a back-up plan -- whether it’s carrying around an Apple Gift Card to yourself valued at the cost of a new iPhone; or carrying your inactive, previous iPhone that can be reactivated; or knowing where you can obtain a new Android phone on short notice.

The mini heart attack that accompanies the loss of a smart phone is a bracing reminder of what they have become to our lives and our careers. All it takes is seeing what happens to someone else when they experience that trauma, or closing your eyes and imagining it happening to yourself, to understand the simple steps you can take to keep yourself protected.

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