Protect mobile devices Small and portable (mobile) devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets are mobile computers and so, are exposed to the same virus and malware risks as desktop computers. You should take care to ensure that you only install software from trusted developers, hosted on trusted app stores (e.g. Google Play, Windows Store & App Store).

Mobile devices are also an attractive target for thieves so keep your personal belongings safe. If you do lose your device or are the victim of theft, there are steps you can take to protect your information.

If you connect a mobile device to the Imperial College London network or use one to access College systems and data, whether personal or College-owned, you are responsible for following policy and keeping data secure. If you are a member of staff using your personal device for College business, you are fully responsible for ensuring the security of that information and you may be breaching College's Information Systems Security Policies.

Information on how to protect mobile devices

Use a PIN and back up information


All portable devices (laptops, mobiles and tablets) have the option to prevent unauthorised access by setting a PIN or password, so ensure that you make use of this function. Many devices allow you to set up an automatic screen lock after a period of inactivity. Check the manufacturer's instructions for more information or contact the ICT Service Desk for advice.

Back up

Back up your important information, including contacts and appointments, somewhere safe.

Encrypt your mobile device

Encrypting data makes the information unreadable unless the viewer uses a secret key to unlock it, called decryption. Data encryption can be applied to both stored data, on computer drives or USB storage devices) and data being transferred via networks. If you store data, emails or photos on your portable device then you should encrypt the information to protect it. If the device is also protected with a PIN or password, encryption will further reduce the risk of your data being subject to unauthorised access. Check the manufacturer's instructions for more information to encrypt your mobile device.

Report a stolen device

Visit the Staff mobiles web page for information on what to do when your phone has been stolen.

If the theft occurred on campus, report the theft to Imperial College London security: Security control room.

Track your device using software

Most mobile devices allow you to track, alert (ring) or wipe your device remotely.

Options by operating system


Use the Android Device Manager.


Find my iPhone will wipe data and enable an activation lock that will prevent the device from being reused.

Windows Phone

Follow the Windows Phone instructions.

Delete data from your device remotely

If your device is lost or stolen, it may be possible to wipe your data to stop someone else accessing your contacts, emails or other data that may be sensitive.


Airwatch is an application that offers users of mobile devices (iOS and Android smartphones and tablets) a simple registration process that allows automatic set up of email, virtual private networks (VPN) and eduroam WiFi, with the capability to wipe data remotely.

Find out more about Airwatch:

Remote wipe for devices using College's Active Sync

Read Wipe a mobile device remotely using College's Active Sync

Imperial policy for mobile device use

If you use a portable or mobile device, whether personal or Imperial-owned, to connect to the College network and access College systems and data, you are personally responsible for following policy and keeping data secure. No sensitive data should be stored on a mobile or portable device unless it is encrypted.

Read more at: Encrypt sensitive information

When processing patient or other NHS Trust data, it should be noted that Hospital Trusts each have policies regarding the use of portable or mobile devices for storing and processing data. You must ensure you comply with the relevant Trust policy when processing any data owned by a Trust on a such a device.

Related policies