Free to roam

Mobile computing options have never been so varied and so accessible, even on a modest budget.

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By  Adrian Bridgwater Published  June 22, 2008

Or it could simply be because you left unsecured data on your smartphone or laptop and you left it behind on a plane or in a taxi.

So what basic advice does your average data security-aware individual in the Arab world need to take on board? According to the security gurus at data protection company Symantec, mobile computing is the future of technology.

The company says that businesses and consumers today strive to stay connected at all times with constant access to on-the-go email and web facilities and that this means that the security of data is more paramount than ever before.

"Public WiFi or network connections can potentially put users at risk. In addition, web and e-mail viruses can directly infect smartphones, just as they have done with PCs, enabling hackers to remotely control the device, access sensitive information or disable applications.

Experience shows us that the rapid growth in smartphone usage both in the region and elsewhere, will not escape the attention of the ‘hackers' and we all need to be ready for this," said Con Mallon, EMEA marketing director for Symantec.

"Safe surfing is a must in order to avoid the threats of viruses, worms and other malicious code that can enter the system and steal or destroy your personal and official information - be it bank details or photos of your family.

It is imperative that firewalls, antivirus software and other such technologies be installed in all mobile devices, in order to ensure security and peace of mind," added Mallon.

As we survey the market today, what is arguably most important is that software application developers know that even if their ‘cool' programs start off live on the desktop or even the Internet - they will all experience a migration (or an evolution if you prefer) to the mobile space.

What this means to you is that if you wish your favourite piece of desktop software was available in mobile form and it isn't. Then the signs are that it soon will be.

Eight top tips for working on the go

1. Waste not. Shut down apps when you're not using them; they drain memory and CPU power and have a direct impact upon battery life.

2. Pack up. Invest in a really sturdy bag or laptop backpack with proper padding.

3. Save big. If you have Bluetooth and aren't using it, turn it off. Powering it up will eat your battery.

4. Zip it up. Keep all your cables in a small zip up bag with each one secured by an elastic band to stop them getting entangled.

5. Keep your screen dim. Less light means less power drain for longer usage. Same goes for speakers, turn then off, turn them down or just use headphones.

6. Look at your hands. If you have big hands you will probably find some devices just ‘too fiddly', don't be afraid to forgo that mini sub notebook and look for something slightly larger - they come in ALL sizes these days.

7. Plug it in. If you can plug your mobile device into mains power then do so, conserve the long term life of your battery by only using it when you need it.

8. Back it up. When you start to use your mobile device to work with and store valuable documents, images and other files - think about what kind of back up store you want to keep just in case you delete or corrupt your data.

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