You know that feeling of panic you get upon realizing you can't find your smartphone ANYWHERE? It's not in your pocket, your purse, in your car and your kids don't have it. Did you leave it in the cart at the store? Is it on your desk at work? Did someone steal it? It feels like you've lost your wallet. Well, that's not too far from the truth.
We place a lot of personal information on our smartphones so we can better manage our everyday lives and this is actually a great thing. We can closely monitor our bank accounts, check in at airports, keep our medical info close at hand, you name it. Most of us take great care of these phones, but we also know that our hectic lives can mean that our phones can get left behind or stolen in a blink of an eye. Its not what you do AFTER you lose your phone that matters, its what you do BEFORE that can make the worst scenario into a "not so bad" event.
There is a wonderful article by Daniel P. Dern on Computerworld.com which highlights cheap and/or quick ways to protect your smartphone.
Wireless proximity alarm: Try not to leave your phone unattended, but if you do and someone takes it or you leave it behind there is a great device called a "wireless proximity alarm." You download an app and attach a tiny fob to your key ring and should your phone be out of range, depending on the type of product, an alarm will go off, your screen will lock up or you can locate your phone using a gps. (In some cases you can also use the app in reverse to find your keys.)
Block unauthorized users in the first place: All smartphones have this capability and it takes minutes, if not seconds, to set this up. Whether you use a numerical code, an alphanumeric code or a pattern, doing something is better than nothing. And you can also add a feature to erase your phone should someone try and hack the code. (Just make sure your children don't have access to your phone. They will try endlessly to get into your phone.)
"Find my phone" apps: Depending on your operating system, you have the ability to enable this feature. If your phone does disappear, you can track it down using your computer. We do not advise taking the law into your own hands if you find it was stolen.
To read the Daniel's full article visit Compterworld.com. You can find specific apps for your phone, use links to purchase a wireless proximity alarm and read in greater detail how some of these ideas work specifically for your operating system.