Eight easy steps to iPhone security

Apple's irresistible iPhone is a prize for thieves, vandals, and hackers too. Follow these tips to protect your device and its data.

8. If you use the iPhone professionally, use Exchange Server for its back end. Exchange Server keeps backups of all messages and mail settings, and most important in my book, it supports remote device blanking. In fact, Exchange is the only way to blank a remote iPhone. One drawback of remote blanking from Exchange Server is that it takes several hours -- eight, by Apple's estimation. But because the mail client is always running, a remote blank can only be circumvented if the thief is smart enough to disable your Exchange account before you discover your iPhone is missing. That's something he can't do because, of course, you've PIN-locked your device. Make sure that you or your IT department knows how to blank your device, and don't be shy about triggering a remote blank even if you just suspect your device is missing. You can always recover your data if you find your device.

Several service providers offer hosted Exchange Servers for a small monthly fee. Call to make sure that the provider offers either Exchange Server 2003 with mobile extensions or Exchange Server 2007, and ask whether users are allowed access to Exchange Server's management console. Without management console access, you can't remotely blank your phone.

Apple designed the iPhone as a consumer device, so it's heavy on convenience and light on security. If you want protection, you have to accept some pain. Fortunately, it doesn't take a lot of time or tech savvy to keep what's in your iPhone for your eyes only. The oft-repeated recommendations alluded to in the beginning of this story are all worthwhile, but if you augment them creatively, you'll befuddle the bad guys with techniques they hadn't considered and that don't yield to automated cracks. Never overlook unorthodoxy as a means of protection.

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Tom Yager

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