I lost my laptop with all the company documents!!


I lost my laptop with all the company documents!!!

Brought to you by Niall Mulrine, Pc Clean.

Some of the reasons why we should use online backup can be emphasised by a few points on safety of mobile computers. We have heard the stories; we have encountered it at work, home and at school. More people are carrying their offices, theses and photo labs under their arm in a small electronic device. This small device, yet so powerful that it may contain so many documents, emails, passwords, photos and work files that we tend to forget just how “big” it can be. It could carry everything that is most important to them at any time. We take it for granted; we could never loose these items. But what happens if the laptop is stolen or lost? Laptops are not the only devices that are carried around in people’s personal belongings. Mobile phones, Smartphones, Tablets, and many more portable devices that store our vast amount of contacts details, phone numbers, text messages, private information, photos and much more.

Remember all the big stories in the past years of government officials, solicitors, business people and employees of semi-state bodies loosing USB drives, laptops and smart phones with all sensitive data in the wrong hands. These devices were not even locked down with a password. The biggest case in the news in Ireland was the 5 laptops that were lost by Department of Social and Family Affairs. But luck was on their side, no leaks were found regarding the private data. It was a wakeup call or was it? It has not changed the mind-sets of computer consumers. Basic protection such as access code or password for opening the devices is never activated. We seem to think that we will never lose our devices and all the data is safe. Is there a solution if our laptop or phone is stolen?

There are solutions to this issue in the realms of software preloaded on the devices and having an internet connection turned on. Some packages can trace the device to within a couple of feet to the correct GPS location.

One such free package called Prey got a lot of coverage from an unknown person in the US called Sean Power. His laptop was stolen in New York, but with the help of Twitter and Prey software, he was able to get back his laptop. The software took a picture of the user and sends it online to Sean’s account and the IP address located to within 200 metres proximity. With the help of Twitter posts, he was able to pinpoint the laptop to a bar owner in Manhattan. He rang the police with these details and they raided the bar and caught the suspect in possession of the laptop. This made an impossible situation possible again with the help of modern technology. What were the chances that he could have otherwise found his laptop in New York city via the old detective work!! The police would have bothered about a minor offence such as this, so the case would have been closed quickly.

Another software package called Druva, which is not free, but worth the money if you consider your laptop files to be sensitive and important is a great market leader for protecting data on stolen or lost laptops. What this can do differently to the previous example is, wipe the laptop hard drive clean of all data from anywhere online or by a method activated when the user inputs the password incorrectly beyond a predetermined limit. An American study carried out on the devastation caused by a lost or stolen business laptop can cause the company on average $49,241 per machine. Also, the survey reported that only 30% of machines were encrypted with a password and 46% of laptops had “sensitive data” stored on them. This is frightening how careless we are when it comes to security. Spend nearly a thousand euros on a great laptop with all the software to start your computing needs, but need skim on basic additions of security software or even encryption methods.

Even if we don’t go for the fancy software packages, at least we can protect our data with a good strong password.

To catch up on any missed articles written by Niall Mulrine of Pc Clean, go to www.PcClean.ie clip_image005clip_image007