3 Steps to Take If You Have Lost Equipment With Institutional Data

IT security Los Angeles

If you’re down a computer, you’re not the only one.

More than 600,000 laptop computers go missing every year — and that’s in the U.S. alone. And we can only expect this number to go up now that more employees are working at home or otherwise out of the office. In those cases, employees are taking their computers and data with them.

Losing something, let alone a computer, never feels good. But there’s an added layer of trouble when that computer happens to be one that you use for work.

Losing such a device — or any other that carries institutional data — can be a huge issue for your company and its security.

That’s why we’re here to help you figure out what to do when you have a lost device.

Here are three steps to take to keep your data safe no matter who ends up with your important equipment.

1. Report It

Start by reporting the missing piece of equipment. This can mean reporting it in several different ways, depending on the resources that your company has.

Report Stolen Equipment to the Police

You probably know this already, but just in case — you should report any stolen devices to the police. You can simply visit your local police department to file a report of the incident, providing all of the details you can remember about the time and location, as well as the perpetrator.

Once the police report is completed, you’ll want to keep a copy. It will be a great help for you if you seek to make an insurance claim on the missing device. Most insurers will ask for proof that your device was stolen before paying out your claim, and a police report is ironclad evidence.

Cancel the Company Card

Think of what information you had saved on the computer or device. If someone was using the company credit card then you will want to report that as quickly as possible, too.

You’ll start by reaching out to your card provider. Then, you’ll probably want to take the next steps to securing your company account. This can be done by changing the password and monitoring any charges for which no one on staff can account.

You must always be thinking about applying the best managed IT security services available to your business.

Reach Out to the Manufacturer

Finally, the equipment’s manufacturer may be able to help you relocate or turn off your device from afar. You’ll just have to call and have your device’s serial number to hand.

They’ll then register that number as stolen and, if they see any activity on the device, they can alert the police. Not all manufacturers will provide this, but it’s worth checking to see if your device’s brand has a hotline for theft or a general helpline.

2. Protect It From Afar

Luckily, today’s computers, phones, tablets and other devices can be accessed remotely. This is great news if you lose a device with institutional data — you can lock it or delete it, no matter where it has ended up.

Change Your Passwords

You may not be able to remember all of your passwords that are saved onto your device. It’s a great idea to get online ASAP and change as many of them as you can. That way, even if they’re saved to auto-fill in an internet browser, for example, they won’t work. And whoever has your hands on your laptop won’t be able to get into your accounts.

On that note, you may be able to remotely turn off autofill, too. Google Chrome has this network security feature — in the settings menu, you can turn off auto-fill for your username that’s attached to your lost device.

Remotely Sign Out

On that note, you can sign out of your device from afar, meaning the person who has it can’t log in and access your institutional data easily. On a Mac computer, for example, it may be as simple as logging onto your Apple ID via their website and un-linking the device from your ID.

You can do the same if your equipment revolves around a Google account or if you use web browsers including Safari and Firefox. Be sure to un-check any box that offers you auto-login on any other devices while you’re at it so that your missing equipment can’t be re-activated from afar.

Wipe the Drive

Finally, you may be able to delete all of your data from the device if and when you realize you won’t be getting it back. This will probably require the device to still be connected to the internet.

Even if you do somehow manage to get the device back, you should still consider wiping it and starting afresh. Someone could have installed spyware to track your usage and access your data through you, even if you have your equipment back.

3. Call in the Experts

All of this may seem overwhelming, and it certainly feels that way when you lose equipment that carries vital information. If you have a Southern California business and this happens to you, call in an IT support Los Angeles based team of experts to help you as soon as you can.

Not only can outsourced tech support companies help you to protect your data after a piece of equipment is stolen, they can bulk up your security for an future incidents like this one. They can make sure passwords are strong, data is encrypted, and everything is backed up somewhere safe.

The business IT services and security that Los Angeles IT services experts can provide is immeasurable, and absolutely worth paying for. If your company doesn’t have them on staff already, consider adding a team to your payroll as soon as possible.

We Can Help You With the Steps to Take

With that being said, Be Structured Technology Group can help you with the above tasks and any other steps to take to secure your data before and after a breach. That way, you’ll feel assured in the wake of a loss and less worried about a similar situation occurring afterward.

In other words, you’ll know your institutional data is safe — and for many businesses, that’s the most valuable thing to protect.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, click here to contact us.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.