How to Keep Documents Secure and Accessible on Your Smartphone

JULY 9TH, 2013

As an MSP, you need to access to your backup and disaster recovery plan in an emergency and you might not always have access to computers or physical copies. Usually, however, you’ll still have your phone sitting happily in your pocket. It’s great to have instant access to documents on your phone, but instant access means other people can also gain access. You’ve got to keep documents safe because any detailed backup and disaster recovery plan has sensitive client info that you don’t want to share. How do you keep documents both secure and accessible on your phone during an emergency?

Luckily, like most tech issues, there are a number of tech solutions that allow you to keep whatever documents you’d like on your phone, safely and securely. Once you’ve taken some basic precautions for keeping your Android or other smartphone safe, you can keep any document you’d like in any format encrypted on your phone. This way, client’s information is protected, and you’ve got it all in your pocket if you need it in an emergency. But how do you do it?

There are myriad different apps that will let you encrypt files right on your mobile device, but let’s focus on two that are easy to use and quite inexpensive. The Vault for Android. Google Play Store; free The Vault is an interface that allows you to store and encrypt any data you want. If you’ve got documents with client information or even your personal credit card numbers or pins, you can easily put them all in the vault and encrypt them using AES 128 bit encryption. The neat thing is that everything is stored locally on your Android device and the app requires no Internet access, which gives you another layer of protection while ensuring that you’ve got access to sensitive information at all times.

When using The Vault, be careful not to lose the master password encrypting your files, and be careful not to mistype because after ten failed login attempts, The Vault will automatically destroy all of the data inside. The best thing? It’s free! The Vault for iOS. iTunes store; free, premium functions purchased in-app for $4.99 The Vault for iOS has the same name as the one made for Android, but is actually produced by a different developer. Both serve very similar functions.

If you download the basic free version, you can encrypt two different types of data: one is a document that appears very similar to ones you’d create with the iOS notes app, but with this you’ve got to type everything into the document before you encrypt it. The second thing you can do is encrypt photos already on your device, or take a new one from within the app and encrypt the file. The issue with this app is that in order to store any type of document (Word documents, PDFs, etc.) you’ve got to pay for the premium features. After that, you can send things to The Vault from Dropbox, your email, basically anything that can send data. Then you can store it locally on your phone or tablet, encrypt, and view it. This app uses AES 256 bit encryption, and, in addition to saving locally, can send your encrypted files to the cloud automatically (for an extra fee), which means they’ll be accessible from any device with an Internet connection.

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