It’s hard not to laugh at the incredible tale of Apple’s “lost” iPhone prototype.
A young software engineering walks into German-themed bar (see, it almost sounds like a joke, doesn’t it) and after a few hours (presumably after a beer and a bratwurst) heads home, leaving the new iPhone prototype on a bar stool. Another customer picks it up and within hours there are pictures all over the internet.
Apple is yet to confirm whether the phone has actually been lost or stolen, or whether it is in fact really a new iPhone.
But remember, this is a company with an almost obsessive culture of secrecy, which filters down throughout the supply chain. Indeed, the last time an iPhone prototype went missing in July last year, a worker at Apple supplier Foxconn actually committed suicide.
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The incident should also get entrepreneurs thinking about security in their business.
Now, there are not many companies making high-end electronics products out there, so the chances that one of the people in your product development team is actually going to lose your latest product might be pretty small.
But the chances of staff losing their laptop at an airport or in a taxi, losing their smartphone in a cafe or bar or losing a USB drive on the train or bus are actually very high.
As technology makes it easier and easier for entrepreneurs to work anywhere, we are carrying increasing amounts of sensitive business data around with us every day.
Just imagine if your top sales person leaves their iPhone at a conference, where it is picked up by your competitor. Instantly that competitor can access their contacts (that priceless sales network built up over decades), their emails (including that one with the sales report and sales pipeline attached) and the apps that let users store spreadsheets and other sensitive documents.
What impact could the loss of that information have on your business?
So after you’ve stopped chuckling about Apple’s lost prototype, pull out your own phone and check how much sensitive data is on it. And then think about how you might go about securing that data, and the data carried around by your staff everyday.
Apple’s loss might not seem like such a joke anymore.
We’d love to hear about the data security policies in your business. What rules and processes do you have in place? Let us know in the comments box below.