Your Android BYOD Toolbox: 15 Apps, Services, and Products

Bringing your own device to work? Here are some essential tools and add-ons.

The BYOD Toolbox

The "bring your own device" trend is taking the U.S. workplace by storm. A recent survey by BYOD service provider Enterasys found that 81 percent of U.S. workers are using at least one personal electronic device for business purposes.

Using a shiny, new personal device for work may be a great option for you, since you don't have to learn a new interface or carry around multiple devices, but it's also a security risk. You have to be aware of other issues, too, such as whether your company believes that it owns the phone numbers on your device.

If you plan on using your personal handset for work and play, here are 15 handy tools that will help to secure your data and keep you more productive at home and in the office.

Encrypt and Divide

Price: Free (basic version)

Android version: 2.2 and up

One of the key problems with any BYOD situation is that your phone inevitably mixes personal and professional data. That can be problematic when it comes time to quit and your company has a mandatory wipe policy, or if you are worried about keeping sensitive company data secure on your phone on a daily basis. Divide by Enterproid can create separate personal and encrypted work spaces on your phone.

Guard Your Personal Photos

Price: Free

Android version: Varies with device

Your phone is probably filled with personal photos that you don't want to lose to a remote wipe, a theft, or another smartphone calamity. Keep your pictures safe with automatic photo upload services such as the one recently built into Dropbox for Android. Google+ also offers an automatic photo upload feature called Instant Upload that puts your photos in a private area on the social network; there, you can choose to share them with the world or just leave them for safekeeping.

Manage Your Passwords

Price: Free to download ($12 yearly subscription required)

Android version: 1.5 and up

If you have a bunch of work passwords that you need to keep secure, or if you need an easy way to manage your logins for an endless number of online accounts, give a mobile password manager such as LastPass a try. LastPass for mobile, which requires a $12 yearly subscription, offers secure passwords, notes, and Google Authenticator integration for Gmail's two-step verification.

Protect Yourself With a VPN

Price: Free

Android version: 2.0 through 2.3.7

If you spend a lot of time logging in to company websites from public Wi-Fi spots, then you need to use a virtual private network. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted Wi-Fi tunnel that keeps you connected to your work, while keeping the bad guys out. If your company has its own VPN, make sure you know how to access it. Otherwise, you can find free options such as Hotspot Shield to keep yourself as safe as possible when you're using open Wi-Fi hotspots. Of course, for the ultimate safety you can avoid public Wi-Fi altogether.

Stop Malware With an Antivirus Tool

Price: Free

Android version: 1.5 and up (Lookout)

You may not need an antivirus utility often, but if you ever happen to stumble across a malicious website or download a misbehaving app, you'll be glad that you have a protector such as AVG or Lookout Security & Antivirus on your device.

Back Up Your Files

Price: $5

Android version: 1.5 and up

Offloading data to the cloud is fine, but having a local backup as well gives you additional peace of mind. MyBackup Pro can schedule regular backups to your Android device's SD Card, saving your SMS messages, photos, music, videos, call logs, home screens, and other important data. MyBackup Pro is a popular choice for people who root their devices, but any Android user can take advantage of it. MyBackup Pro also features a remote server backup option.

Remember to Make Important Calls

Price: Free

Android version: 2.1 and up

Call Reminder from Duckbone is a simple app that integrates with your address book and lets you set a reminder for making important calls. When the reminder goes off, you have the option to call or message the person, or to delete the reminder. The $2 pro version includes longer snooze options, notes, and day-specific reminders.

Jump to Your Most-Used Phone Functions

Price: Free

Android version: 2.1 and up

SwipePad gives you one-tap access to 12 common phone functions, no matter if you're inside another app, taking a call, or checking your email. Through the customizable screens, you can reach your favorite apps, specific contacts, Web browser bookmarks, and phone widgets, with just a few taps.

Operate Under an Alias

Price: Free

Android version: All

Another great way to keep your personal and professional lives separate is to keep your personal number private and use a service such as Google Voice to receive work-related calls and messages. That way, when you leave the company you can dump your Google Voice number and hang on to your phone without worrying about getting calls from past clients looking for help on current issues.

Put Your Phone on a Swiveling Stand

Price: $129

Android version: All (handset must be less than 0.43 inch thick)

This auto-follow camera mount can help you record a presentation for posting to YouTube or for internal use. The device includes a tracking marker to follow the speaker as they move. Although Swivl was originally designed for the iPhone, it will fit Android phones that are less than 0.43 inch deep.

Monitor Your Packages

Price: Free (basic version)

Version: Varies with device

A popular productivity app, Package Buddy lets you track packages from the USPS and major couriers such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS in real time, all in one place.

Transfer Photos to Your Phone

Price: $350 (camera, available in August)

Android version: 2.1 and up

One of the biggest pains about traveling for work is lugging a 5-pound laptop with you even though it may be serving only as a glorified storage device for photos and notes. Fujifilm's FinePix F800EXR camera features wireless transfer functionality to Android and iOS devices, allowing you to leave the laptop at home in favor of your tablet or smartphone.

Store All of Your Data

Price: $125 to $200

Android version: 2.2 and up

Another handy storage option if you decide to go the tablet-only route, GoFlex Satellite external hard drives work with a companion app on your Android device to let you transfer and store data on the drive. You can even stream video directly from the hard drive to your tablet.

Process Payments

Price: $10

Android version: 2.1 and up

Square turns your Android smartphone into a mobile point-of-sale register for processing credit and debit cards, and it will even email receipts to your customers. Square requires a $10 card reader that attaches to your device's headphone jack, as well as a companion smartphone app.

Access Your Phone From Your PC

Price: Free

Android version: 2.1 and up

AirDroid lets you access some of your Android device's features from your PC, no companion desktop app required. Once you activate AirDroid on your mobile device, you can log in to the AirDroid client via your Web browser using a one-time verification code (an HTTPS connection is also available). Then you can send text messages, install apps, view and download the photos and videos stored on your device, and transfer other files to and from your phone, all from your desktop.

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