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Mobile technology is an essential part of modern business. While these devices may be small, the cyber threats when transporting them outside of the office are huge. This guide helps small businesses understand what is a portable device, why it is important to manage their use and how to keep the data on portable devices secure.

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Mobile, media, storage and other digital devices that you carry around for your work​

Portable devices include:​

  • portable USB or ‘flash’ keys​
  • external hard drives​
  • smartphones​
  • memory cards​
  • laptops​
  • tablets​
  • personal digital assistants​
  • notebooks​
  • iPods​
  • MP3 players​
  • e-readers​.

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Increased risk of data breaches and attacks​

When devices are portable and sharable, it can be hard to manage their contents, understand where they’ve been and know who has used them.​

What could go wrong?​

  • Data loss – such as a physical device is lost or damaged and the data cannot be retrieved.​
    • Example: left at a café or dropped in water​.
  • Data exposure – when confidential data is exposed without consent.​
    • Example: using an unsecured Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection​.
  • Cyber attacks or incidents – to and from any physically or digitally connected device.​
    • Example: unknowingly sharing documents via a USB that contains malware.​

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A unified and multi-layered approach​

Securing portable devices is ultimately the responsibility of the device owner. However, the following measures reduce the risks associated with using portable devices.​

Phones, tablets and laptops

  • Use password protection – PIN/fingerprint​
  • Keep devices up to date​
  • Enable remote tracking, locking or wiping​
  • Back up your device to a hard drive or the cloud​
  • Only download legitimate software and apps​
  • Use screen lock​
  • Avoid unknown open Wi-Fi networks​
  • Turn Bluetooth off when it is not in use​

Hard drives, USB's and memory cards​

  • Routinely scan devices for malware with an antivirus program​
  • Block access to physical ports​
  • Encrypt data​
  • Use password protection​
  • Always keep a close eye on your device wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.​