How to avoid losing valuable items in the post COVID return to work
Stolen office equipment is a big problem for businesses, with only 21% being recovered after it goes missing.
The recent pandemic has led to unexpected opportunities for thieves deliberately making the most of the challenges of managing remote workers and furloughed staff.
While many staff are returning to work, inventories are now often out of date and it has been difficult to keep track of hardware — who has what device!
In addition, with not all staff returning to the office, suddenly many businesses will have many more items of hardware and devices being taken out of the premises and used remotely. This can be hard to keep track of and also opens up opportunities for loss and theft.
Here is a guide to some ways to help you keep expensive office equipment safe and secure whether staff are coming back or working from home.
1. Create and maintain a list of all your laptops and devices
It has undoubtedly been chaotic over the last year, but now is a good time to update or even create a clear inventory of all company assets including laptops and devices.
You can download free templates to do this:
Once in place you’ll need an assigned person and policy to maintain and regularly check the inventory, including taking up to date photographs and reporting any issues with devices.
However, even with the best processes in place, it can be very difficult to actually verify where a device actually is, (perhaps someone left it at home again or thinks their colleague borrowed it). So another way to keep tabs on where computers, laptops and devices are is through asset tracking software such as SnipeIt or Asset Panda. You can see more options and reviews for asset tracking solutions here:
2. Install Mobile Device Management software to help you keep track of your hardware
Larger companies might wish to consider using Mobile Device Management software which enables IT admins to monitor, manage and secure company owned devices. You can learn more about it and see some popular systems in this article from ITPro
Employee monitoring software can also be helpful in keeping track of company laptops and devices. Although this kind of software is a controversial development, with some companies using software to check on how much work activity staff are carrying out at home,it can be useful in helping to prevent or detect theft if used with discretion and integrity. If, for example, there is a sudden change in activity levels it may be a sign the employee is off sick or has an influx of work but it can be an early warning sign that a device has been stolen.
3. Confine certain hardware and devices to the office premises
You can do this in a couple of ways. Firstly you could implement a geofence policy, which lets the IT team restrict the usage of corporate devices to certain areas such as office premises. Should a device get stolen or go missing, it can then be wiped of sensitive data or disabled. Simpler is to use security tags which mean that certain devices such as laptops or tablets cannot leave the building. Find out more about our security tagging service here.
4. Staff training
As always your staff are the best line of defence in keeping items safe. Ensuring there are clear and simple processes to keep devices safe and secure, and ensuring staff are aware of these and regularly training individuals creates a culture where people simply look after things. Simple tips include the following:
- If you’re going to leave your laptop or phone in a car, put it in the boot before you arrive at the place where you will park it.
- Carry your laptop in something other than a laptop bag. A backpack or messenger bag is a simple but effective way to make it less obvious that you are carrying one.
- If you have to leave a laptop out in the open with no one to watch it for you, use a security cable — effectively a bike chain for laptops.
- Be particularly alert and careful if you have a device with you in taxis, hotel rooms, restaurants and coffee shops.
- Have the device serial number, make and model written on something you carry with you, so you can report it quickly if it goes missing or is stolen.
5. Make sure you just have good security on your premises
As always, making sure you have the basics covered is important. Ensuring that you have secure premises and that there are good security alarm systems, access control and, if necessary, CCTV in place means that you can be assured that the assets and valuable items you hold in your office are secure and covered by your insurance.
We can offer support and advice on both home and commercial security.