Tip of the week: What to do if you lose your laptop or smartphone

Device security

No matter how careful we are, sometimes our digital devices get lost or stolen. And while this is never a fun experience, it’s not as terrifying as it once was. Now that you have the cloud at your disposal, not everything has to be stored on your hard drive alone — so a lost computer doesn’t mean permanently lost data, or having to deactivate all your accounts. This is especially true if you use Dropbox for Business, which offers a variety of ways to help you recover from losing your device. So next time you lose a laptop or smartphone, just follow these steps and you’ll be back up and running in no time.

Let your company know

Before you do anything else, notify your company’s IT team, security team, or your Dropbox for Business account admin. Often, they can take immediate steps to protect all your accounts faster than you can. Since you won’t have your lost device handy, memorize the contact info for the people at your company who can help you out (or keep it in a safe place like your wallet).

Secure your device

This is something your IT team can do for you, but if you can’t get a hold of them, make sure the lost device gets secured. Start by unlinking the lost computer or phone from your account, which stops Dropbox from syncing to and from the lost device. There’s also an option to use remote wipe, clearing all the files and folders from the device’s Dropbox folder (the next time it connects to the Internet). You’ll also want to make sure you or someone else disables any active sessions, which signs you out of Dropbox on any web browsers where you’re currently logged in, requiring a password to log in again.

Get up and running again

Start by having your admin review the activity logs for your account to see if there was any activity after your device went missing. If they see anything suspicious, they might need to take action on certain files — like disabling shared links, for example. But if everything looks good, link your new devices to your Dropbox account, and install the desktop or mobile app to start accessing your files again.

Review your security settings

This is a good opportunity to get your IT team’s help setting up your new device with the best possible security measures. Our experts suggest: full-disk encryption, password or passcode to unlock your device, idle screen lock, auto lock-out or wipe after repeated failed unlock attempts, and the ability for full device remote wipe. We also strongly recommend that you enable two-step verification on your Dropbox account if you weren’t already using it.

Losing your laptop or smartphone is a pain. But with these recovery features available, it doesn’t have to be a catastrophe.