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Laptop Lockdown: Securing Smartphones

Mobile device security is growing in importance as people access more applications on them
If an executive with Chevron Phillips Chemical loses a smartphone, it's not the $200 device that worries Jonathan Perret, a remote connectivity analyst with the company. It's the data.

So Chevron Phillips Chemical uses Trust Digital's smartphone security, which for about $150 a year per device includes encryption as well as remote device-locking and data-wiping technology. The service lets Perret check via a Web site the last time a device reported in. He can lock a smartphone if it's likely the owner just misplaced it, or immediately wipe off all the data.

As smartphones carry not just E-mail but also more advanced applications such as customer management and supply chain data, companies will have to get more serious about security apps and services for them.

Most smartphone operating system vendors, including U.S. market-share leader Research In Motion, enable the ability to remotely wipe data from their devices. The latest smartphone operating system from Symbian, which has 73% of the world market, requires that applications have specific permission to access phone tasks, such as text messaging, calling, and viewing personal information.

Independent security vendors such as Bluefire Security Technologies, Credant Technologies, and Mobile Armor also offer mobile security suites. Credant's mobile security suite, for example, checks that smartphones have up-to-date security before allowing them to connect to the business network and download E-mail. Another vendor, Synchronica, has a feature that lets IT departments remotely turn on a "scream" function, emitting a high-pitched screech designed to keep anyone from using a lost or stolen smartphone. Not very pleasant. Neither is having a smartphone with important data go missing.

Return to main story, Laptop Lockdown Checklist: Four Authentication Areas To Watch

Illustration by Randy Lyhus