How to Limit Company Exposure When a Work Device is Lost or Stolen

It is always a nightmare for companies when employees misplace a work device. This can mean a data breach of sensitive information, a compliance violation, or an account takeover. Considering the tons of information most work devices have access to, most organisations are in a state of unrest when one goes missing.

To avert this situation, companies need to have a feasible plan in case of eventualities. Ideally, any security-conscious company needs a plan to prevent the situations that arise from these occurrences. It is never too late to establish security measures to limit your company’s exposure when a work device gets missing.

There are many healthy practices that employees and companies should adopt as soon as a work device is lost or stolen. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps companies must take to prevent sensitive information on work devices from getting into the wrong hands.

5 Steps to Prevent Your Company’s Exposure When a Work Device Goes Missing

1. Report the missing device

Ideally, when a work device is lost or stolen, the first step is to report it immediately. Most times, employees are torn between reporting the case and bearing the wrath of an angry boss or simply covering up the situation. This is primarily the case for companies that encourage employees to work with personal devices (BYOD). 

Unfortunately, the longer an employee takes to report the situation to an employer, the risker it becomes for the company. Companies need to establish a platform where employees can make such reports.

However, employers must not enforce stringent penalties for employees who misplace work devices; else, they would find it challenging to get them to report it when one is lost or stolen. Regardless of the employer’s response, employees must make an official report as soon as the work device goes missing to protect the company’s interest.

2. Implement control policies

Most of the time, when a work device goes missing, it ends up in the wrong hands. When fraudulent individuals lay hands-on work devices, the first thing to do is attempt to access the data for malicious purposes. The result of this is better imagined than experienced. 

To prevent this from happening, companies need to encourage using authentication processes to make it difficult for unauthorised users. These include using passwords and biometrics to keep information safe. 

Companies also need to create a system where work devices can be easily monitored. In this way, when the device is confirmed missing, companies track it. If this is in place, it is easy for the company to know when someone is trying to access the data.

3. Promote effective security practices

Employees are one of the biggest threats to companies. Many times, they are not intentional about protecting their work devices. If this is the case, cybercriminals can get hold of sensitive data quickly. 

Enforcing security practices that keep them out of harm’s way is necessary. Sometimes, employees fall victim to these attacks because they are unaware of the dangers surrounding them. 

As such, encouraging policies like discouraging the use of public networks and GPS tracking keep employees in check. 

Also, employers must pay attention to employees and educate them on security practices. When employees understand the risk surrounding the workplace, and all the dangers of a device ending up in the wrong hands, they often make more of an effort to secure them. 

If these security practices are encouraged in the workplace, there is an increased chance of protecting the company’s information when work devices are lost or stolen.

4. Use Mobile Device Management Solutions

MDM solutions are instrumental in helping companies manage work devices. This helps to ensure that the devices are updated or configured without hassles. 

With the MDM tool, companies can control who wants to access the data. If the information on it is essential, companies can decide to deactivate the device and frustrate the activities of unauthorised individuals. With this information, you can remotely protect the work device or remove all the data. 

5. Inform the police department

When work devices are lost, the company does not only worry about the loss of data but also the possibility of getting into trouble with data privacy compliance violations or law enforcement.

Some hackers may use the information on the work device to defraud other organisations connected to your company. Unfortunately, because these hackers work with the company’s data, it can get the organisation into a lot of trouble. 

Reporting the situation to the police department helps you document that a work device was indeed stolen, so if a hacker uses it for any nefarious activities, it’s not going to put your company in danger of being suspected.

Need Help Putting Mobile Device Management in Place?

There are too many risks associated with losing a work device. The only way to stay protected is to enforce the right security policies to minimise data loss. Even if your company hasn’t implemented any, we can help you establish them.

Contact us at  +61 2 9161 7171or reach us online to get started.