February 8th, 2021
If your company laptop is stolen, how much money do think this will cost your company?
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if your company laptop has been stolen, the loss of the hardware itself is likely the least of your company’s worries. According to an FBI crime computer survey, the average cost to a company from a stolen laptop is in the ballpark of $30,000.
Before you start an internet search about who is spending $30,000 on laptops, know that this figure was calculated according to the value of the stolen data housed on these devices when not properly secured. For companies with a heightened security protocol, thieves may not have been able to pull any data from the computers. For others, potentially millions of dollars worth of information may have been available without so much as a password standing in their way.
So, do you think your laptop has been stolen? Here is what you should do next.
1. Change all of your passwords.
Changing your passwords on a regular basis is not a bad idea. If you feel that someone could potentially access any private information through your lost or stolen computer or personal device, there’s never been a better time to change all accessible passwords. You should be able to change your passwords from a remote location once you have confirmed your identity with your banks, credit card companies, company IT administrators, email providers, and even social media accounts. Taking this step early may save you and your company a great deal of trouble. Even if you later discover your device was simply misplaced, the worst-case scenario is that you now have some new passwords to remember.
2. Confirm that it was stolen and not simply misplaced.
For one reason or another, we’re all conditioned to believe that if we’ve lost something in public, it was likely stolen. However, in many instances, we’ve simply misplaced the item. According to a report by LaGuardia Airport, they revealed that an average of 800 laptops are left at their checkpoints every year. You may need to just retrace your steps. You might find that you just left your laptop at a cafe, in the back of an Uber, or elsewhere.
3. Track it down with GPS.
Whether you lost your laptop or it was stolen, if it still has power, there’s a good chance that you can track it down using GPS. For laptops running Microsoft, you will likely be able to run a search using the program’s Find My Device feature. If you’ve lost track of your Mac, you can use Find My Mac. By the same token, you can also track down your lost iOS or lost Android devices via GPS as well.
4. Cancel all saved credit cards.
It’s never been easier to cancel credit cards at the first sign of trouble. Credit card companies have made canceling cards a sinch not only to protect account holders but also to protect themselves from loss. You can likely just give them a phone call and have your credit cards canceled in moments.
5. Notify your clients.
While it sounds like you’re admitting some form of weakness by admitting when any of your devices or data has been compromised, your clients would rather find out immediately from you rather than via a phishing attempt through your email address later. They’ll appreciate you being very upfront, honest, and responsible. You may also be surprised at how understanding they’re likely to be.
Before your laptop is stolen:
If you’re reading this even though your laptop has not been stolen, there’s never been a better time to develop a plan for what you’ll do if your laptop, your mobile device, or any other conduit for personal information is stolen. Make sure your passwords, security measures, data backups, or retrieval methods are functioning optimally.
Follow These Six Rules For A Strong, Effective Password
February 8th, 2021
More people have converted to a remote work environment in the past 12 months than ever before in modern times. Though the prospect of working in your pajamas may sound nice, some of the niceties of the office may have been left behind.
In this piece, we’re going to cover 12 different aspects of technology you’ll want to make sure you have in your home office environment.
1. Suitable Internet Connection
Unless you’re a gamer or video producer, there’s a good chance you’ve been taking your home internet connection for granted until this point. With the growing need for reliable internet speeds for teleconferencing (think Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype, etc.), you may consider upgrading your internet connection speed. Doing so may be as simple as calling your current internet service provider (ISP) or even switching providers. Either way, this shouldn’t be immensely difficult.
2. Competent Computer Setup
There’s a good chance you were able to take your work-assigned computer home with you. If you weren’t able to do so, you’ll likely want to consider an upgrade if your home computer was only used up until this point for looking at cat videos and balancing your budget.
As you begin to set up your home office, do not neglect office ergonomics. Your neck and back will thank you for using an ergonomically conduce home work environment.
3. Antivirus Software
As you leave behind your office’s professional IT services set up, your home internet connection and computer hardware are likely no match cybersecurity threats. To combat hackers after precious company data, it will be worth installing a professional-grade antivirus software program. Your entire company will thank you later.
4. A Lookout For Phishing
Spammers know that more and more people are working from home through more penetrable networks. This is when it pays to remain vigilant as to what emails you’re opening and definitely what links you’re clicking. If it looks “phishy” or spammy, don’t open it and notify your company’s IT department. Though you may be on the lookout for such threats, your other co-workers should be warned of such nefarious actors.
Related: 7 Ways to Spot a Fake (& Possibly Malicious) Email
5. A Solid Data Backup System
If you’re only keeping all of your work files on your local computer, you may be one coffee spill away from losing tens of thousands of dollars of information. Make sure that all of your valuable data is being saved to a secondary backup system—preferably a cloud-based data backup.
6. Audio & Visual Equipment
Working from home doesn’t mean you’re not going to have any meetings. Because this is the case, don’t skimp on the audio-visual equipment! Having a good microphone, headphones, and video camera should be a requirement for all remote workers with your company. Let’s break down what this means.
7. A Decent Camera
Laptop web cameras have come a long way. However, if your image looks grainy or laggy, it may be time to upgrade. A low-quality image can be immensely distracting for co-workers and especially for sales contacts. Just as you would want to ensure you look your best in person, doing so virtually means making an investment in a high-quality web camera.
8. A Good Microphone
If you’re attending regular virtual meetings, a quality microphone is a great investment. Not only will this decrease feedback and fuzz, but this will allow your voice to penetrate the meeting noise so you can make your thoughts heard.
9. Headphones / Headsets
Don’t make the teleconferencing faux pas of using speakers during a Zoom or Teams meeting. Not only can this lead to terrible feedback and echo, but it will weaken your message and even make you appear unprofessional. Do yourself and everyone else in your meeting a favor and invest in a good pair of headphones that you select specifically for meetings.
For overhauling your entire teleconferencing experience, consider investing in microphone-enabled AirPods or a comfortable over-ear headset. Sure, you may look like a video gamer or a sideline sports commentator, but it will make your teleconferencing meetings much more pleasant for both you and everyone with whom you’re communicating.
10 . An Optimal Teleconferencing Service
If your team isn’t on the same page when it comes to using a singular telecommunications platform, this decision is long overdue. So, which one should you select? This very much depends upon a variety of factors—the main one being where you currently house your information infrastructure.
- If your team already relies upon Microsoft’s suite of office programs, Microsoft Teams will likely be your best choice.
- If your team use’s Google’s G Suite, now known as Google Workspace, Google Meet may make the most sense.
- If you’re either a largely client-facing organization or you allow your employees to utilize a variety of platforms, Zoom’s professional plans may be a good fit.
Anytime you use teleconferencing systems, it’s important to make sure any sensitive information is protected from third-parties.
11. A VoIP Phone System
One of the trickiest aspects of transferring from an office location to a remote office is receiving phone calls. Unless your business phone number connects to a mobile device, you may have a hard time receiving business calls usually sent to your office desk phone. This is when a VoIP phone system becomes invaluable.
What is a VoIP telephone system?
“VoIP” stands for “voice over IP”—which essentially means that your business telephone systems are internet-based rather than supported by a traditional telephone infrastructure. While most traditional phone systems can be forwarded to other phone numbers, VoIP phone plans can be programmed to work on almost any VoIP-enabled desktop handset phone, mobile device, or even through your computer.
Related: What is a VoIP Phone System? [Explainer Video + Promo]
12. Go-To Remote IT or Computer Support
Though working in your bunny slippers from the comfort of your home is pretty nice, being miles from a capable IT support technician can be challenging. This is where a managed IT services and/or helpdesk service is nice to have—especially for team members working remotely. Fortunately, there are several third-party companies that offer robust service over the phone, via email, live-chat, and some that can even make house calls.
Finding a locally-based managed IT provider before you experience a problem can be the difference between a productive workday and spending days attempting to troubleshoot annoying IT problems yourself.
Conclusion—Working From Home is Likely Here to Stay
Even as conditions improve and many workers return to working together in physical offices, the pandemic has shown companies and employees alike some of the major advantages of at least having the option of working remotely. Some companies will prefer that their employees work from home. Some employees won’t want to return, possibly even seeking new positions that guarantee a remote work environment. We’re all adapting to this new normal as an option for work. With this new workplace normal will come new innovations as well as new challenges to workers and employers alike.