Presence of mind is the key: What to do if your laptop is stolen

 In Security

Like many of us, I use a laptop and travel with it frequently. My laptop has my life on it, so having it stolen is a nightmare scenario.

According to US research by security vendor Symantec, approximately 97 percent of stolen laptops are never recovered.

Having your laptop stolen is traumatic. Aside from the inconvenience and cost associated with losing the actual hardware, you also need to think about all the important information stored on it. In the wrong hands, the confidential business information, saved passwords and private information on your laptop can compromise your personal security and that of your business.

Step-by-step, here’s what to do when the worst happens

  1. Report the incident to authorities as soon as possible. This may include police, insurance, or the IT or Office Manager at your place of work.
  2. Change all the passwords for online accounts you have previously accessed using the laptop. This can be an exhausting process, and you might find yourself remembering more and more over the next several weeks. For future peace of mind, you might consider using a password manager instead of saving passwords in your browser.
  3. Inform your clients, colleagues, friends, and family of your loss. If you’ve saved your passwords, the thief may use your social media or email accounts to commit fraud or phishing scams.
  4. Think about all the sensitive information you may have stored on your laptop. Have you sent or received any emails containing credit card details? You may need to immediately cancel these cards.

An ounce of prevention …

Although there are ways to physically protect your laptop, there is no guarantee that it won’t be lost or stolen. Of course, there are some simple precautions you can take; for example, don’t leave it unattended in public or out in plain sight when not in use in the home or office; and never leave it in the car.

You can also take some precautionary measures to safeguard your device, like the following:

  • Ensure your laptop requires a password to login.
  • Use anti-theft software or a tracking app.
  • Limit the personal data stored on your laptop.
  • If you do store confidential or sensitive data, consider encrypting your hard drive contents.
  • Regularly back-up your data.

Be prepared

When you’re in the midst of the nightmare that is a stolen laptop, there is a tendency to panic and lose focus. Knowing what to do will give you presence of mind as well as peace of mind.

There’s no time like the present to ensure that you’ve got adequate backup, security and recovery systems in place for your laptop.

Give Proactive IT Solutions a call and we’ll be happy to make sure your laptop is as secure as it can be.

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