Crime happens, mistakes occur. There are many reasons why you may no longer have possession of your briefcase, laptop or mobile phone.
In this article we will look at ways to protect your assets, how to minimise the impact if a loss does occur and what to do in the event of a loss.
Prevention is the best cure
Tips to reduce the likelihood of losing any of your gadgets:
- Allow ample time when traveling. The stress of catching a flight, train or bus can leave us a bit flustered. By allowing enough time to gather your belongings and thoughts, you can better account for all your gadgets.
- Avoid taking your laptop to restaurants and public places for social gatherings. Rather leave it at work. However, if you are in a public place, always keep your laptop with you.
- If you leave your laptop in the office after work, lock it away or secure it to a solid, stationary object with a laptop cable lock.
- Hotel rooms: Most hotels will provide you with a safe that can be used free of charge. Ensure you lock your laptop away when you walk out of the room.
- Never leave your laptop or bag in your car, even if it is covered by a blanket, jacket or other such object. Covering up an expensive item in a car does very little beyond giving the owner a false sense of security. If your car is the only option, either place it underneath your seat or in the boot and ensure you do this when no one is watching you.
- Record the asset number of your laptop and mobile number. You can retrieve your phone IMEI number by entering *#06# on your phone's call screen.
How to travel securely
Checklist when traveling:
- Brief case: What is inside your briefcase at the moment? Are there any sensitive documents or USB drives? Do you really need to be carrying it with you, or can you store it away securely in the office?
- Passwords: If you have written passwords, don’t keep them in the same bag as the device it is protecting. Keep it separate, in your wallet, or in a locked drawer in the office.
- Laptop: The safest way to travel with a laptop is to shut it down completely. Simply closing the lid and putting it in your bag could damage the hard drive. It also means the person who opens the laptop will already have your username, and now only need to break your password.
- Mobile phone: If someone finds or steals your phone today, will they see a password screen or an "open door"?
It’s gone, what now?
As soon as you discover that you no longer have possession of your briefcase, laptop or mobile phone you need to complete the following steps. The order in which you do will depend on the circumstances.
- In every event, immediately notify the company’s IT department when realised that you've lost your laptop or phone. They will be able to lock your account to prevent unauthorised access and block your mobile phone.
- If you’ve lost your briefcase and it contained personal data, either physical documents or USB flash drives, notify the Data Protection Officer.
- If you left your device on a train, in a restaurant or at the airport / station, contact them directly. Many have established processes for reporting lost items and reuniting them to with their rightful owners.
- If you believe a crime has been committed, report it to the police and obtain a case number.