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  • Writer's pictureIles Systems Ltd

Phone Theft on the Rise: How Office 365 and Exchange OWA Can Help You Stay Secure

In recent years, phone theft has become an increasingly alarming issue. With the proliferation of smartphones, which often contain sensitive personal and business information, the stakes have never been higher. As our phones serve as the epicentre of our digital lives, losing them to theft can result in severe repercussions, both personally and professionally.

The Growing Threat of Phone Theft

Statistics indicate a worrying trend: phone thefts are on the rise. According to a recent report, millions of smartphones are stolen annually. This surge can be attributed to several factors:

  1. High Resale Value: Modern smartphones are valuable commodities. They fetch high prices on the black market, making them attractive targets for thieves.

  2. Data Access: Stolen phones often contain sensitive information such as banking details, personal contacts, and work-related data, which can be exploited.

  3. Ease of Theft: Despite advancements in security, many individuals do not utilise the protective measures available on their devices, making them easy targets.

The impact of losing a phone extends beyond the financial cost of the device itself. The loss of personal photos, contacts, and critical business information can be devastating.

Therefore, it's essential to know how to protect your data in the event your phone is stolen.

Remote Wiping: A Crucial Security Measure

For users of Office 365 and Exchange OWA, there's a powerful tool at your disposal: remote wiping. This feature allows you to erase all data from your phone remotely, ensuring that sensitive information doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Here’s how you can utilise this feature:

For Office 365 Users

Office 365 provides a straightforward way to remotely wipe a device through the admin portal. Follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Office 365 Admin Centre: Use your admin credentials to access the portal.

  2. Navigate to 'Active Users': In the left-hand pane, click on 'Users' and then 'Active Users'.

  3. Select the User: Find the user whose device you want to wipe. Click on their name to open their details.

  4. Initiate Remote Wipe: Under the 'Devices' section, you’ll see a list of devices associated with that user. Click on the device you wish to wipe, then select 'Wipe Data'.

  5. Confirm the Action: Follow the prompts to confirm the remote wipe. The device will be restored to its factory settings, erasing all data.

For Exchange OWA Users

Exchange OWA (Outlook Web Access) also allows for remote wiping. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log in to OWA: Access OWA using your credentials.

  2. Go to 'Options': In the top right corner, click on the settings gear icon, then select 'Options'.

  3. Access 'Phone' Section: In the left-hand pane, navigate to 'General' and then 'Mobile Devices'.

  4. Select the Device: Find the device you wish to wipe in the list of mobile devices connected to your account.

  5. Initiate Remote Wipe: Select the device and click on 'Wipe Device'. Confirm the action when prompted.

Best Practices for Preventing Phone Theft

While remote wiping is an excellent safety net, but preventing theft in the first place is always preferable. Here are some tips:

  1. Be Vigilant: Stay aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places. Also, be aware that a good way for a thief to find out where you keep your phone is to make you think you have lost it. A simple bump of a persons walking into you can make you react and start checking yourself to ensure nothing has been taken. Since you know where you keep your valuables, you will instinctively check those places immediately, therefore pointing out the location of your valuables to any would-be-thieves observing your actions.

  2. Secure Your Phone: So many people walk around with their phones in their hands these days, even when they are not using them. Keep your phone out of sight and secure when not in use.

  3. Be aware of what you wear: Another sign that you're carrying a mobile device are the use of headphones or ear-pods. If you're wearing any form of Bluetooth headset, then a mobile device must be nearby.

  4. Use Strong Passwords and Biometrics: Ensure your phone and sensitive apps are protected with strong, unique passwords

  5. and enable biometric access where available.

  6. Enable Find My Device: Use tracking apps such as Find My iPhone or Find My Device for Android.

  7. Regular Backups: Regularly back up your phone to ensure you don’t lose valuable data if it gets stolen.

  8. Avoid Public Charging Stations: Public USB charging stations can be used to steal data. Use your own charger and plug into an electrical outlet instead.

While the rise in phone theft is a concerning trend, users of Office 365 and Exchange OWA can take comfort in the fact that they have robust tools to protect their data. By staying vigilant and making use of remote wiping capabilities, you can mitigate the risks associated with phone theft and keep your sensitive information secure.


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