In this day and time when we see a cell phone, it’s more than just the old school phone. Mobile devices have developed into an extension of ourselves. Personalizing ringtones is a thing of the past; every phone has a unique set of applications and information stored on it. This goes beyond random photos from your last vacation, many medical professionals use specialized “apps” to track patient information and notes from sessions. But what is your “technological best friend’ hiding from you yet showing the world?
HIPAA, the topic of the hour has set new regulations for electronic records of patients and PHI but what about that phone of yours? Are you HIPAA compliant with all of your electronics? New technologies allow it to become easier to steal data from mobile devices, whether for identity theft or other purposes, its important to understand the risks you are facing with your mobile device security.
Do you have a password set for your phone? This may seem like an inconvenience every time you want to check your notices but having a password-protected phone makes it harder for information to be hacked from mobile devices. We all lose or misplace items everyday, who’s to say tomorrow you won’t leave your phone at the local grocery store? By simply adding a password to unlock your phone you are protecting both your practice and your clients personal information.
How often are you in crowded settings? The subway? A Mall? What about an airport? These locations are perfect for exposing unsecure information. How? Most people let notifications pop up on their mobile device lock page, convenient to check if you have missed anything or if someone is trying to reach you. But, when you pull your phone out in a public setting, numerous eyes could be staring at your lock screen reading the notifications. You would be surprised at how many ‘peeping Toms’ are nosey enough to sneak a glance at your personal phone. It’s safer to disengage those settings so you are securing the data on your phone.
Logging into unsecured networks from your mobile device is another way the phone can be breached. We all love to enjoy a Starbucks coffee while checking email, or viewing the latest information received just before getting on the plane, however if you are logged into an unsecure internet server, you are risking the chance for your mobile device and client information to be breached by someone else on the network who is surfing for personal information.
The newest phones and software try to make life convenient for the everyday person, less buttons pushed to get you where you want. The iPhone iOS7 offers a new feature where you can access your calendar and notes with a drop down menu on the locked screen. For the everyday person this is ideal, for someone who has confidential notes or private schedules, this is an opening for breached information. Just like with notifications on your locked screen and password protected phones, with this new drop down menu, you are by passing all the security methods to ensure simplicity. It’s better to take a few extra moments to unlock your password protected phone to check your calendar or notes than to leave them for anyone to access.