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12 Ways To Secure Your Smartphone

12 Ways To Secure Your Smartphone

How secure is your smartphone? If you’re like most people, it probably isn’t as secure as you think it is. While we’ve been absorbing desktop privacy and protection advice for decades, mobile is still a relatively new phenomenon. People simply aren’t aware of the amount of data and private information that their phone is transmitting, sharing, and processing all the time. This has led to a growth in mobile device hacking and malware downloads, as the morally unscrupulous exploit the technological naivety of their fellow gadget users.

Can you tell if you’ve been hacked or downloaded something bad? Sometimes, but a lot of the time users are in the dark about whether their mobile security has been compromised–and often they find out too late.

You should care more about your mobile safety. To help you be more proactive, here are some tips to boost your smartphone security.

1. Use a passcode lock

This is an absolute must. If your phone is lost or stolen, not using a passcode lock means you’re giving a complete stranger instant access to a range of sensitive information, including notes, contacts, and appointments. Use a memorable code and make sure your phone auto-locks after a set period of time.

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2. Stay off unsecured Wi-Fi

It’s long been known that using unsecured public Wi-Fi is a bad idea, and yet many of us are still happy to connect in cafes and bars. This makes it easy for hackers to gain access to your data via Wi-Fi connections, and to use that information against you without you realising it. Avoid networks without the padlock icon.

3. Beware unofficial apps

There are plenty of respectable third-party apps that use a domain’s API to create their own mobile version of the site (i.e. Hootsuite for Twitter or Alien Blue for Reddit). But before you download a knock-off of Flappy Bird or Minecraft, learn how to spot fakes so you’re confident it’s a legitimate app.

4. Update your operating system

Android has historically experienced more hacks, malware, and trojans because users aren’t updating to the latest OS. Last year, the BBC revealed that less than half of Android users were running the most up-to-date software. In comparison, more than 93% of Apple users were running the latest version of iOS. This left Android users more vulnerable, and serves as a lesson to pay attention to those update messages.

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Beware of rogue messaging apps

    5. Avoid storing passwords

    Setting your apps to remember passwords and login information is convenient, but it’s also making it easier for hackers and scammers to access your private accounts. In reality, most of us aren’t going to log out of our email and social media apps/sites, but make sure you never leave pre-completed login details on your banking apps/sites.

    6. Remove home address information

    As time goes on, our devices increasingly ‘want’ more of our personal data to find the most relevant contextual information for us. A classic example is knowing your home address so applications can get personalised travel updates and local recommendations. This is an added security issue if your smartphone’s security is compromised. Avoid bookmarking, dropping map pins, or creating any other kind of record of where you live on your smartphone.

    7. Download mobile protection software

    It’s a good idea to make sure you’re always protected against the most common forms of mobile malware, spyware, and any other kind of digital nasty that could end up killing your device or stealing your personal data. There are a variety of apps you can download; some providers, such as AVG, offer free and paid versions.

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    AVG for mobile

      8. Customize your phone

      Not all of us are techie enough to jailbreak our devices, but if you are this could detract or simply confuse most thieves to ensure you’re a lot safer. By using bespoke icons and renaming apps you could create a baffling experience for a low-tech criminal.

      9. Take control of your app permissions

      A lot of apps you download want to access information from other apps and sites. Pay close attention to what permissions you’re giving away when you download anything, and regularly audit your apps and related permissions as sites often amend their terms and conditions of use.

      10. Add anti-theft precautions

      What do you do if your phone is stolen? Be prepared by getting yourself set up with a good anti-theft or security tool. It’s also worth knowing that Apple’s Find My iPhone and Android’s Device Manager both help you track down your smartphone if it is lost or stolen.

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      Apple's Find My iPhone

        11. Backup, backup, backup

        There are more ways you could try and secure your smartphone, but ultimately nothing will protect you from a sophisticated and determined hack or theft attempt. The right approach is to backup your data on a regular basis to limit the impact of losing control or possession of your phone.

        12. Enable remote wipe

        Finally, ensure that you have the power to remotely wipe your data. This ensures that if your smartphone security is ever compromised, you can always go for the nuclear option.

        Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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        Last Updated on October 16, 2019

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

        Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

        Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

        In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

        1. ScheduleOnce

          ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

          ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

          ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

          Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

          Available on Web

          2. Calendly

            Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

            You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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            Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

            3. Assistant.to

              For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

              From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

              While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

              Available on Web

              4. Acuityscheduling

                Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                Available on Web | iOS | Android

                5. Pick

                  Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                  At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                  Available on Web

                  6. X.ai

                    For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                    This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                    Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                    Available on Web

                    7. YouCanBook.me

                      is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                      They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                      Available on Web

                      8. Doodle

                        Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                        It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                        You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                        While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                        Available on Web | iOS | Android

                        9. WhenAvailable

                          WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                          Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                          Available on Web

                          10. Rally

                            Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                            Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                            Available on Web

                            11. NeedtoMeet

                              Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                              NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                              While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                              Available on Web

                              Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                              In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                              To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                              Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                              A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                              Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                              If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                              Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                              With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                              The Bottom Line

                              Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                              Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                              Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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