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Smartphone security + ACS Smartphone apps: February ACS eNews

Meredith Mahon Morris February 20, 2012

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Every month our Information Design & Development team puts together an informative eNews email for clients. This month, the topic is smart phones. Here’s an excerpt from the February eNews.

This month, Jamey McElveen, an R&D Programming Manager for ACS, shares some security tips to follow when using your smartphone. And if you’re on church staff, you’ll be interested in his second article on the updated ACS apps that have just been released.

Smartphone Security
by Jamey McElveen

Many apps open the door to some of your most sensitive data. Personal information about your family and finances are only a few swipes and taps away. If your phone were stolen or lost, all of this information could be exposed to some shady characters. Given the rising threat of having your identity stolen, mobile devices rise to the surface as a prime target for offenders. While this does not mean you should abandon your favorite toy, you need to be aware of the risk and take a few precautions. Here are a handful of tips to help protect yourself and your data.

  1. Keep records – Write down and store your phone make, model, serial/IMEI number, and any other identifying information. Then, if you are sure that your phone is lost or stolen, call your provider immediately. Having this information will help your provider identify your phone and limit access to personal data.
  2. Use a lock screen – Possibly the easiest way to protect your data is to enable a lock screen. Most mobile devices include a feature that requires you to identify yourself every time you wake up the phone. This feature usually leverages a quick code or gesture that does not allow access to the phone. If the user does not accurately validate the preset value, the phone doesn’t unlock. In some cases, the phone  wipes all of its information if too many failed attempts are entered.
  3. Use tracking software – By combining GPS and a cellular data plan, you can use an app to remotely track your phone if lost. Today, iPhone users can use iCloud for free and set up the “Find my iPhone” app. This app allows you to find the GPS location of your phone, activate an alarm, and if necessary, remotely wipe your phone. These apps can be useful even if you know the phone is lost around the house. However, be sure to use this feature before your phone has a chance to lose its charge.
  4. Do not assume the worst – Do not be too quick to call the authorities and wipe your phone. Chances are you just misplaced your phone nearby. Try calling your phone or using tracking software to find it. Also, remember that there are still lots of honest people in the world. Try sending yourself a text with your email. Hopefully, your phone was picked up by someone that will return it, just as you would.

Read complete Smartphone Security article here.

ACS Smartphone Apps
Jamey McElveen

In a typical week, many church staffers and others use:

  • A Facebook app to keep up with the latest happenings in their congregation’s lives,
  • The Dropbox app to easily share files, photos, and videos even when they’re not in the office,
  • Bible app to read scripture and make notes during small group meetings or even worship,
  • Or a worship app for planning and communicating with fellow musicians.

Because we believe that mobile apps and their devices can be convenient and powerful ministry tools, we have increased our ongoing investment in this arena. Our R&D Department formed a new team that focuses on mobile application development. Since the mobile team was formed, we released two major updates to the ACS Church Life application for Access ACS, including updating the iPhone and mobile HTML apps, and introduced a native Android app.

ACS Church Life provides your staff and members with access to a subset of their Access ACS data in the palm of their hand.

Using ACS Church Life and your Access ACS login you can:

  • Search your church directory
  • View contact photos
  • Map contact addresses
  • Check the church calendar for upcoming events.

iPhone

The latest release is a complete rewrite. The new implementation is an app that is installed on your iPhone, also known as a “native application”. The new iPhone app is faster and much more robust than its predecessor. If you’re interested in what you’ll find in the app, here are a few screen samples for you – screen 1, screen 2, screen 3, screen 4.

Android

We are really excited about our Android release. Like the iPhone update, this version is a true native application, increasing performance and stability. The new design looks like an Android app, respects the Android standards, and embraces the hardware buttons. Here are a few screen samples – screen 1, screen 2, screen 3.  To install the app, click the link above or search for “ACS Church Life” in the Android Marketplace.

Read complete ACS Smartphone Apps article here

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