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3 Ways Your Phone Can Kill Your Career

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

Can you imagine trying to run your life without your mobile device? Can you remember what it was like before you could have internet access on the train without having to be tied to a physical line?

It's undeniable that smartphones and mobile devices have changed our professional lives irrevocably. However, the convenience of being able to handle our personal lives and professional lives all in the same device comes with a possible price: your career.

Mixing the Personal and the Professional

Mobile devices offer an unprecedented level of convenience. But for professionals this can also be a source of potential pain. For lawyers, an increasing number of law firms have handed out mobile devices to their lawyers. Great! Except not so much.

That device is not yours. It belongs to the company and the company most likely will use its Mobile Device Management (MDM) powers alluded to in your employment contract to wipe the firm information out of the phone if you leave the company or if the phone is lost. However, if you carelessly store personal information in the firm partition of the phone or -- God forbid -- store firm information in your personal partition, you could expose yourself to some big legal liability.

The Unsecured Network

This is another common issue that almost everyone is vulnerable to: signing into an unsecured network. You should take the chance to now review your phone's default settings. There's a chance that if you're new, it may be unnecessary to have the data on your phone encrypted. But there's an even better chance that your company has applied the same level of security to all the phones in the company so that everything's encrypted.

Encryption or firewall aside, signing into an unsecured network is about the most dangerous thing you can do besides giving your phone to a stranger. This obviously means limiting yourself to trusted networks and somewhat defeats the purpose of mobile -- but would you rather not have the phone at all?

Losing Your Phone

What if you lose the phone? No problem! You took precautions and had the data encrypted, you employed a strong password, the company employs MDM and automatic shutdown. You're golden, right? Not quite.

Each new day hackers get better and better at breaking through security. Once a phone gets lost, if it isn't found within a few hours, it might be best for the company to simply just wipe the contents of the phone. In this case, you should only blame yourself and simply write off the personal data as lost. The company will protect its interests and the confidences of its clients before it starts shedding tears over your selfies.

Most of the weaknesses listed above can be managed with care and diligence. Admittedly, such level of care almost obviates the purpose of having a smartphone, particularly if you're relegated to using as a dumbphone for most of your day. Nevertheless, it's one of the few hassles that you'll have to endure in the meantime.

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