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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Smartphones Have Become Indispensable — Use Yours Safely

Smart phone.

Given their global and cultural impact, it seems a bit hard to believe that smartphones are still a young technology. Facebook and Twitter, for example, both predate the first versions of the iPhone.

In fewer than 10 years, smartphones have gone from non-existent to essential. According to a report from Pew Research Center, nearly 80 percent of U.S. residents own smartphones — a number that rises to 92 percent for those under the age of 30.

Because smartphones are still relatively new, it's not always easy to ensure that the technology is being used in the safest manner possible. Take steps to help ensure that you (and your sensitive data) remain protected.

Safeguarding your information

A smartphone is an extension of you — that's one of the reasons it can do so many important things. It contains a vast repository of information about you, your family and friends, your education level and work history, your financial transactions and much more. As a result, a smartphone is an inviting target for those who would like to steal your data.

So how can you protect all your valuable data? Here are a few tips:

  • Pay attention to what your apps are doing. Many people would be alarmed to realize just how much data some apps are harvesting from their phones. Once that data is in third-party hands, you lose the ability to protect it. This means it's important to limit app permissions when possible and to only download applications from trusted vendors.
  • Be judicious with public WiFi use. Public networks are just that – public – you can't be certain it's safe. To help minimize the risk, don't conduct sensitive transactions over public WiFi. This means no passwords or financial transactions.
  • Password protect your device. Creating a numeric passcode or fingerprint scan is an essential part of protecting your device. It's worth the extra two-second wait.
  • Wipe your device of all data when necessary. This is imperative if you ever decide to sell your device, or in the case of theft or loss.

By following these guidelines — and using up-to-date security applications - you can help ensure your sensitive information remains safe.

Take a break from your smartphone

When it comes to smartphone safety, data is only half of the equation. While business and life demands may make unplugging from our smartphones a virtual impossibility, it's also important to incorporate some downtime into your schedule. Constant screen time isn't the best outcome for anyone, so try to take a break whenever possible. Even a short walk or some brief stretching can help clear your mind and allow you to refocus.

The takeaway

Smartphones have become deeply integrated into the fabric of our lives. Because of this, it's important to use them safely.

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