eDiscovery Daily Blog

What to Do BEFORE Your Laptop is Stolen – eDiscovery Best Practices

One of the earliest blog posts I ever wrote for this blog was regarding the myth of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) security finally being busted and that SaaS data is much more difficult to steal than desktop application data, which “could be one stolen laptop away from being compromised”.  A little over three years later, I got to experience that scenario first-hand.

Last week, while stopping at a restaurant to wait out a flight delay to LegalTech New York (LTNY), my laptop was stolen.  Our bags were in my boss’s truck, a mere 12 feet away from the entrance to the restaurant, just around the corner.  The thieves knocked out the passenger side lock and (evidently) took the bags that they could carry, which was my two co-workers’ garment bags, my laptop and my boss’s travel laptop.  Apparently, my garment bags weren’t worthy enough to steal.  Not sure if that says anything about my wardrobe or not.  Hmmm…

Naturally, the restaurant didn’t have security cameras.  And, I never normally leave my laptop in a car.  The one time…

Anyway, no matter how secure your laptop is, when it’s stolen, you spend the next couple of hours changing every online password you can think of.  I changed eighteen of them.  I had unfortunately left a checkbook in my laptop bag, so I also had to call my bank and get some checks canceled.  The laptop itself had good laptop authentication security and I also use a strong password (which I’ve now changed, hah!), so it will be very difficult for the thieves to gain access to my data.

None of that data was client data as we keep that on a secured server which I access directly when in the office and via Sonicwall Virtual Private Network (VPN) when I’m out of the office.  Most of the data was previously written blog posts, some generic test data (Enron, anybody?) and various marketing materials or downloaded articles.

Nonetheless, losing that data would be inconvenient, so I’m a big proponent of cloud-based backups, which will back up data in the background while you’re working.  I also back up to a local external hard drive, so I’m a “belt and suspenders” backer-upper.  With a handful of exceptions (that I’ll unfortunately have to re-create) most of that data was backed up to one or both locations.

Lessons to learn: 1) Make sure to implement strong security on your laptop, with strong BIOS passwords and hard drive passwords.  Encryption and/or biometric security (through fingerprint identification) is even better.  2) Make sure your data is backed up regularly.  Cloud-based backups, like Dropbox and other services, are great because they back up data in the background so you don’t have to remember to do it.

Oh, and don’t leave your laptop in the car.  It only takes one time, as I unfortunately found out.

So, what do you think?  What measures do you use to protect your laptop data? Please share any comments you may have, or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.