By Burton Kelso
Summer is here, and with it comes day trips and extended vacations. For real estate professionals, tech gadgets are part of your everyday life to keep in touch with clients, which means if you travel, you’re bound to take devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, e-readers, and digital cameras with you. I’m sure one of your worst nightmares is something happening to your devices while you’re traveling—and it should be of concern. Every year, thousands of smartphones and computers are stolen, lost, or damaged while people are vacationing. Want to keep your devices safe during those summer vacation months, here are some quick, easy tips you can use to protect your electronics.
1. Back Up Your Devices.
You should have automatic backups of all of your devices. You don’t want to experience losing all of those precious documents, pictures, and videos. Both Apple and Google mobile devices have the ability to backup your important data to the cloud. If you have a Wi-Fi-enabled camera, configure it to save that information to the cloud as well. If you have a Windows or Apple laptop, your best bet is to use cloud backup services like Carbonite or cloud storage services like Google Drive, OneDrive, or DropBox to store your data in the cloud.
2. Password Protect Your Mobile Devices.
Did you know that about a third of people around the world don’t use passwords to protect their tech? Well, passwords are the first line of defense to protect you and your clients’ information if your devices are lost or stolen. If your devices have the ability, use biometric identification like face ID or a fingerprint to keep your device more secure. When you take steps to protect your data, you reduce the risk of identity theft and other cyber threats, and it increases your chance of recovering your device because most criminals will discard it once they realize they can’t get access. If you’re traveling with a laptop, take the extra step to encrypt it. Encryption is the act of scrambling the data of your devices so the only way to access it by using the encryption key. Smartphones and tablets encrypt themselves when you set the password. Computers do not. If you have a Windows 10 computer, you can encrypt it with Bitlocker, which is included with computers running Windows 10 Professional. If you’re a Macintosh user, you have access to File Vault, which is included on all Mac computers.
3. Protect Your Devices in the Summer Heat.
Heat is the enemy of all tech devices. Don’t leave any devices in direct sunlight as it can ruin the screen and cause your device to overheat. Be careful not to let your smartphone and other devices get too hot during the summer because it can damage the battery life. If you are at the pool, make sure your phone is stored somewhere cool, or at least out of direct sunlight. If your device does happen to overheat, simply store it somewhere with lower temperatures and let the device cool down before using it again. Don’t force it to get cool by holding it in front of a fan or A/C. Let it cool naturally. Never leave your gadgets in vehicles—it can become an oven-like environment. If you absolutely have to leave your technology in the car, be sure to park in the shade and crack the car windows.
4. Track Your Tech Devices.
You should never leave your device unattended, but accidents and negligence happen. Most modern, computers, smartphones, and tablets have tracking ability built into the devices. Tech theft is big business domestically and internationally, and tourists are a big target. You might be tempted to use a Bluetooth tool like Tile, but you also need to use the built-in tracking software on your device because it uses GPS rather than Bluetooth, which has a limited range.
5. Get a Case For Your Devices.
Everyone has dropped their phone at one time or another. If it’s damaged when you’re near home, you can easily replace your phone at the store, but when you’re traveling, it’s usually impossible. Keep those devices safe by getting protective cases for everything you plan to take on the road with you.
I hope you have fun this summer in your travels with family and friends or for business. You know you will take some form of technology with you when you go. Make sure you follow the above tips to keep all of your machines and devices safe and ensure they all come home with you.
Looking for more useful tech tips? Our Tuesday Tech Tips Blog is released every Tuesday. If you like video tips, we live stream new episodes of “Computer and Tech Tips for Non-Tech People” every Wednesday at 6 p.m. CST on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Technology product reviews are posted every Thursday. You can view previous episodes on our YouTube channel.
Burton Kelso is the chief technology expert at Integral, which provides computer repair and tech support for the home and office. Integral can fix Windows, Macintosh, servers, printers, routers, smart-home technology, and everything else that connects to the internet. Learn more at callintegralnow.com.