The focus always seems to be on protecting hackers from computer systems and smartphone security is often overlooked. A smartphone is more at risk than a computer as you might lose it, in addition to it being hacked or stolen. Admittedly, you don’t store as much on your smartphone as your work computer; nevertheless, it most certainly contains lots of personal and confidential data. Losing your smartphone doesn’t just mean the loss of data, it means anyone who finds it and manages to switch in on also has access to your buying habits, recent locations visited, secret passwords and codes you may have stored on your phone.

Now is time to take a stand and secure your smartphone once and for all. Following these five tips on smartphone security will put your mind at rest that you have done everything possible to keep your smartphone safe and secure.

1 – Use Passwords & Access Codes

The first tip is to use passwords, codes and fingerprint recognition everywhere and whenever you can. Add an access code to your Android or iOS device to prevent anyone from unlocking it, which is useful if you lose the phone as no-one will be able to access it quickly, and that’s one problem less. It’s a simple, yet helpful measure that is often ignored. Even if you temporarily leave your phone somewhere, no-one will be able to access it in your absence.

2 – Secure your Apple & Google IDs

Your Apple ID controls access to every Apple service that exists from your iTunes to iCloud, and from FaceTime to iMessage, so choose that password carefully. If someone manages access to your Apple account, using your Apple ID to break in, they could wreak havoc on your life by erasing your iPhone, iPad and Mac remotely. Your Google account is pretty much the same. It basically logs you into everywhere at once. So if you log on to your Google Plus account, you are opening up all the other Google products like Hangouts, Gmail, Maps, Calendar and your Google Drive. The latter often contains work-related material on Word, PowerPoint, Slides or Sheets.

3 – Choose the Apps you Install & Control what they can Access

Google apps are more susceptible to malware attacks, and Google recently cleared out over 50,000 such apps from its store. There won’t be a shortage of such apps containing viruses, spyware, or malware designed to do damage to your device or compromise your data. The problem exists to a lesser extent in the Apple Store but is prevalent nonetheless. Apple checks out each app that goes on offer at the store before it is listed and routinely removes suspect apps from its store for violating its policy and terms of use. You should check out the reviews and try a Google search to see if there is any bad press about the app before downloading it. Read the App terms before downloading and especially what data the app wants to access. Do not click yes every time. See what info is being requested. For example, your photos, address book, contacts, location etc. Android apps tend to ask for permission for everything, although they don’t need to.

4 – A Native App is Safer than a Browser

Any activity on your smartphone that consists of financial information, stock trading, legal contracts, or any other sensitive or confidential information is at risk using a browser to access such data. A native app is much more secure and likely to have inbuilt security features in place. Many of the larger banking institutions and government departments have their own native app these days. You can also use secure connections when accessing these kinds of sites.

5 – Backup your phone data

Last but not least, back up your data frequently and comprehensively. If you lose your phone, or it gets stolen, you can wipe it clean remotely, and even if you drop it in the toilet, you won’t lose all your precious data. Apple devices incorporate the Find My iPhone app feature, which lets you lock your phone remotely and wipe it clean. If you don’t take the precaution to get your data backed up, then it’s gone with the wind. You can back up in the cloud, or locally, but whichever you choose it’s a vital step to smartphone security. You can easily sync your phone to your laptop or desktop with the help of iTunes, or you could upload it into the cloud by using iCloud.

Android devices provide a useful built-in backup tool. It does not back everything up, but the critical data will be saved. You will have to use the third-party apps to back up the rest of your data. Android devices incorporate a remote wiping feature which has to be set up in advance. IOS, on the other hand, backs everything up. Moreover, don’t forget to update your device regularly.