Help—I’ve Lost My Mobile Device! Now What?


Everyone knows that sinking feeling. You were certain that your phone was in your other bag/pocket/jacket, but you dig around and find… nothing. You’ve searched every possible place, even ransacked your car, but your device is gone. Is it lost? Stolen? What should you do to protect your photos, contacts, and critical corporate data? And how can you avoid footing the bill for costly calls and downloads?

First, don’t panic—at least, not yet. In this day and age, there are steps that you can take to protect yourself. Even if you’re not able to recover the device, these steps will render a phone useless and safeguard its content from those with evil intent. Here’s your best course of action:

  1. If you have a “find my phone” app on your device, now’s the time to use it. You may be able to help yourself before getting anyone else involved.
  2. If you believe that your device was stolen, contact your insurance company or carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.) to see what sort of coverage you may have. Carriers sometimes offer varying levels of break/fix and replacement insurance. Be sure to also file a police report.
  3. Once you’ve established communication with your carrier, request that they suspend or disable your account. Your device can be used to rack up hefty charges as long as it’s active. If your company owns your device, you may need the help desk to call the carrier for you.
  4. Check with your employer’s IT department about company policies and procedures around lost devices.
  5. If you used your device in any sort of corporate capacity, odds are it’s part of a mobile device management (MDM) system, such as AirWatch or MobileIron. If so, your company or service provider can send a device wipe command, which eliminates all data. MDM systems can often completely lock the device. Want to learn more about MDM?
    Check out this white paper.

There are also a few steps that you can take ahead of time to future-proof your device so you’re better protected in case of loss or theft:

  • If you haven’t already, download the appropriate “find my phone” app for your device.
  • Back up your data to the cloud or to your corporate network. This ensures that your data—both personal and corporate—stays available to you even when your device is not.
  • Use strong passwords for logins, email, and any apps with content that needs to be protected. If your device still has the same passwords that it came with, it’s time to upgrade to hard-to-hack passwords.

A little forethought now can make a big difference later, so take a few minutes to protect your device and data. And, if your device does go missing, quickly taking the actions above can keep you and your information safe.

Learn more about MDM solutions and how they can help watch over your mobile environment.

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