It will never happen to me. I live in a nice neighborhood. I have a bunch of great friends. I do all the “right” things to make sure I am safe.
And then two Fridays ago, I came home from a great night out with my girlfriend to find my rear sliding door broken, my bike missing, a jar of change missing and my laptop (life) missing. I had been robbed and along with my missing laptop was the data that I use to run my business.
After the police left, I sat down to assess my next move and determine how much professional damage was done. Thankfully, I learned a lesson a long time ago about security and backing up data.
The backup is not an issue. I have a script set up to back up several times a day, so I have not lost anything in terms of data.
Security was a brief concern. I never maintain any passwords in any files on my computer—I have three complex ones that I use. Why three? Because most websites will bounce you out after three. This insures I am not locked out, and I simply rotate the long complex passwords as needed. Were there any off-color jokes or semi-sensitive emails? Maybe, but nothing that would be earth shattering if they got into someone else’s hands.
I spent an hour on the phone with Apple and could not have been more impressed. I explained that I utilized a complex password on the log-in which was good. It essentially prevented anyone from accessing the laptop. It could be hacked, but face it, I am not the CIA and my data is not that much in demand. I set an alert that if it went online, that my other Apple devices would all notify me. The recommendation was to hang tight and see if it went online and if/when it did to immediately remotely lock it down and potentially erase it. I watched my tracking software for a week to see if it connected to the Internet—it didn’t. And transmitted an erase command for whenever it did go online. I have come to terms that my laptop is a goner.
But the ordeal is not without inconvenience. The hardware must be replaced and that takes some time—it is on order. So, in the interim, I am working off my daughter’s laptop and pulling individual files from the backup as needed. I cannot restore it fully because there is not enough memory for her data and mine. I liken it to trying to do 100% of your job with 40% of the resources; but we are chugging along.
5 Lessons learned
- Backups are critical. Ideally they need to be done multiple times per day. Even more ideal, back them up to the cloud and have them off-site. The thieves did not take either of my back up discs.
- Have some level of redundancy. Without a spare laptop to do some of my work, I would have been essentially dead in the water and relying on the public library for computing power.
- Consider Dropbox or other online storage. When my new laptop comes in, I will be modifying it to store 100% of my data (My Documents) on Dropbox. With the raw data there, I will have instant access from any computer, my phones or tablets.
- Realize that it can, and likely will happen to you. At some point, you will lose a critical piece of your business. It could be fire, theft, or forgetfulness.
- Insure yourself. Make sure that your equipment is properly insured. Pro-tip if you are not experiencing a very strong cash flow: pay the extra and insure for replacement value.