Reality Alert: An accountant for a small business regularly took his laptop home from the office so he could continue to work later in the evening. One day he stopped for gas and his laptop, which contained sensitive information, was stolen from his vehicle. The thieves quickly figured out how to access the hard drive and all the company’s important information was exposed. It cost the company thousands of dollars to update and protect their information after this hack.
A key component for keeping information secure within an organization is physical device security. Most employees use a laptop, desktop, or mobile device to access information at work and these devices must be secured to protect that information. Laptops or tablets, which employees often take home, are especially vulnerable to being stolen or lost. When this happens, the company’s sensitive information is at risk.
Device Security Tips
- Keep laptops and tablets secure during transport. Be aware of your surroundings and keep the device secured in a bag. Don’t leave it on a table in a restaurant or visible in a vehicle. Once a thief has physical access to your device, they can often figure out a way to access the hard drive.
- Always keep devices locked with a strong password/passcode. A fingerprint or other biometric data is also a good way to lock devices like tablets or smartphones. Whenever you walk away from your computer at work, make sure it’s locked.
- Back up all information on these devices so if they’re lost or stolen, that information isn’t lost too.
- Add apps to tablets and smart phones that can track lost or stolen devices.
- Sign off any work programs when leaving for the day and when transporting laptops/tablets.
- Keep software on devices up-to-date to take advantage of the latest security features.
If a Device is Stolen or Lost
If a device is stolen or lost, there are a few things you should do. First, notify your company’s IT department. They can often take steps to secure the device remotely. They may also be able to erase the data on a tablet or smartphone once it’s determined that it’s gone for good. If the device was stolen, alert the proper authorities. They may be able to recover the device.