Pop Quiz: You Just Discovered One Of Your Employees Had Their Laptop Stolen—Quick, What Do You Do?

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Bob Milliken Picture-computer cents b&wOver the last couple of months, I’ve come across some alarming statistics that you should know. There are 12,000 or so laptops found in US airports each week and 62,000 lost electronic devices recovered from New York’s metropolitan buses, taxis, trains and stations each year! The bottom line is that no matter how careful you are with your laptop, mistakes occur and the loss (or theft) of a laptop is likely to happen to you or your employees at some point.

In the hands of a relatively unsophisticated hacker, all of your laptop information can be siphoned off an unsecured laptop, allowing an open back door into your network. This is akin to giving a thief the key to your office and the code to deactivate the alarm. Imagine the embarrassment of having to contact all of your customers to let them know that THEIR confidential information may be compromised because one of YOUR unsecured laptops is the hands of a criminal!

Asking employees to be more careful about where they keep their laptop IS a good step in the right direction, but accidents happen and thieves are always on the prowl. That’s why it’s so important to take measures to lock down and secure any mobile devices that you and your staff use to access our company’s network. Here are just a few:

Encrypt All Information – Drive encryption software, such as BitLocker (which is included in some versions of Microsoft Windows), can secure all the data on your hard drive. Also, other tools, such as Lojack from Absolute software, work well to prevent theft, find and recover your stolen laptop, and remotely protect your private and sensitive data from identity theft.

Multi-Level Access Security – Don’t rely only on passwords to keep your laptop safe. Hackers can usually break most passwords in a few hours. We recommend adding a second way for people to prove that they are who they say they are BEFORE they are able to log in. Some people use smart cards to do this, but fingerprint pads are gaining in popularity.

Log / Back-Up Information – It’s critical to log and back-up all information on business laptops to ensure smooth operations in the event of loss or destruction. Use enterprise class tools to automate backups so they are done ON SCHEDULE and in a way that won’t interfere with the use of the laptop

The Right Response – What happens when an employee loses a laptop? Do you have a next step action plan in place?. A blame culture where people are afraid to report losses is actually much worse for security.

Take the time NOW to secure your laptop and limit the damage to your business in the event of laptop loss or theft.

Please feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss laptop management options  and how to make your business network more secure.

Your comments are appreciated – ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com

 

Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group.