In Australia, 137 laptops are stolen every day. That’s some pretty alarming statistics. Then there are all the ones left in hotels, taxis, trains, stations and buses every year. No matter how careful you are with your electronic devices, statistically you, an employee or someone you know will lose or have a laptop stolen at some point.
Once it reaches the hands of an unsophisticated hacker, all your passwords, bank details and network access codes are theirs. Your laptop likely holds enough information to impersonate you, steal your money or intellectual property and generally become you. Causing no end of frustration, inconvenience and potentially damaging your reputation and credit history. It’s like handing over the keys and alarm codes for your business to a criminal organisation and saying “have at it”.
Asking your staff to treat their laptops like the crown jewels IS a step in the right direction, but accidents happen. It only takes a moments inattention (and criminal gangs usually create that inattention) for a bag to be stolen. That’s why it’s so important that you actively take measures to secure any portable devices that are used to access your companies network.
Here are five things you can be doing right now:
- Encrypt Everything – There are many whole drive encryption products on the market. Some are even free. Microsft’s Bitlocker is free in the recent versions of windows or you can look at the various security vendors for options.
- Multi-level Authentication – Something you know & Something you have. Use things like Smart Card’s, Tokens with ever changing numbers or even specialised USB keys like YubiKey. Combine that with a strong password scheme and your network is much safer.
- Backup and Log everything – Back up your data daily. If you spent three weeks working on a proposal only to have it disappear in an instant, you just lost three weeks work and possibly the contract. There is no excuse for failing to back up your data. Logs help you understand what went wrong. Whether it was your staff, your self or an intruder that caused the data loss. Knowing how it happened is the only way to prevent it occurring again.
- Install a Remote Kill Switch – Find My Laptop and Find My Phone are both remote tracking and remote wiping apps which do just that.
- Respond with Action. You need to immediately change passwords and activate the remote tracking or wipe the device before it can be used. A culture of blame only slows down reporting and once it’s gone. It’s gone. It’s far more important to get the staff back up and running. The loss of productivity just compounds the loss of the device.
Take the time NOW to secure your devices Set up a scheduled backup system and TEST that you can restore files. If the worst happens and the laptop is gone, how fast can you get back up and running? A day, A week? Longer? Some businesses run their entire business from their single laptop with no backups. A soft drink spill can close their business. Don’t let it be you.