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Creating an Action Plan for When Tech is Stolen

This holiday season, many of your employees may be traveling to visit family and friends, and chances are, they’re taking work devices with them. Airports, parking lots and restaurants are prime locations for having laptops and tablets stolen or go missing. So, do you have an action plan for dealing with lost or missing technology?

Ideally, your action plan would begin long before you face that situation. As you review the steps below, consider how prepared you are to deal with equipment that goes missing.

Mitigating risk before equipment is stolen

The first step in preparing for equipment loss is two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA is an essential security measure for any business-critical system or platform. With two-factor authentication, you need a username and password to access the system and a unique code that is texted or emailed to you or a biometric item, like a fingerprint or facial recognition. If you go the code route, this code changes every time someone logs in, so even if a thief managed to get a user’s password, they wouldn’t be able to access the system without the unique code.

Ideally, the firm would have 2FA on all systems and platforms, but most firms strike a balance between user experience and security. If you have any business-critical systems or platforms that do not currently have two-factor authentication enabled, consider implementing it as soon as possible. It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect your business from cybercrime.

Next, ensure any devices that leave the premises are enrolled in a remote management and security system. Laptops, tablets and phones are especially vulnerable to theft since they are small and easily transported. If your device is enrolled in a remote management and security system, you can wipe it remotely if it is stolen. This will protect your data from being accessed by the thief and prevent them from using the device for their own purposes.

Another benefit of enrolling your devices in a remote management and security system is that you may be able to track them if they are lost or stolen. This may help you recover the device.

Action plan for after equipment is stolen or lost

When equipment is stolen, time is of the essence to ensure thieves don’t access sensitive client data, employee or firm data. Here’s our step-by-step response plan.

  • Remotely wipe the device. If your device was enrolled in a remote management and security system, you should wipe the device immediately. This will remove all data from the device and prevent it from being accessed by the thief.

  • End active sessions. End all active sessions in critical systems. This will prevent the thief from accessing your data and using your system for their own purposes.

  • Change passwords. The next time the employee logs in, they should change their passwords for all systems and platforms. Be sure they select strong passwords that are difficult to guess. A password manager can help people create and manage strong passwords.

  • Monitor account access. Monitor the employee’s account access for a period to ensure you don’t see any unauthorized access. This will help you quickly identify any suspicious activity and take appropriate action.

  • Report the theft. It’s also a good idea to report the theft to the local authorities. While this might not lead to the device being recovered, it might be required if you intend to submit an insurance claim.

You may also want to consider having a backup device for employees to use in these situations. With supply chain issues wreaking havoc on equipment availability, having an older device in stock and ready to use can ensure people aren’t waiting weeks or months to get back up and running.

Chances are, your IT department has all of these measures in place, but your response plan might not be formalized and documented. This ensures you can quickly take action to mitigate the damage and continue operating smoothly.


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As a Technology and Business Analyst for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Chris Rochford leverages a diverse background in web development and technology consulting. His role involves managing Boomer Consulting, Inc.’s internal technology, as well as researching how new and emerging technologies can be leveraged internally and for our external clients.

Before joining Boomer Consulting, Inc., Chris spent 15 years in tech, doing web development for state and local government agencies and commercial clients.

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