Remote Wipe for Laptops – Is it Worth It?

by Roberta Piket on July 12, 2013

in News, Tech Thoughts and Tips

Most smart phones now have a feature to wipe your data remotely in case the phone is lost or stolen. Now some companies are offering such a service for your laptop in case it goes missing. Is it worth paying a monthly fee for such a service?

A big problem with remote wipe is that the computer has to be connected to the internet in order for the wipe to succeed. If the person in posession of your laptop simply waits to connect to the internet until he or she has accessed your files, the remote wipe, even if it does eventually occur, will be useless, as your data will already have been compromised.

This model makes more sense for a smart phone: it’s extremely likely the phone will remain connected to the internet until you deactivate it, as most smart phones are connected to the internet by default.

I think there are less expensive and more reliable ways to protect your data. One excellent method is hard drive encryption. Even if someone removes the encrypted drive from the computer and tries to access it, they won’t be able to. More advanced versions of Windows (such as Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 8 Pro) come with Bitlocker encryption included (although the user must turn it on). However, make sure the computer’s hardware supports encryption (or ask us for help).

If your computer is not compatible with Bit Locker, there are third-party options available such as the excellent TrueCrypt. It’s a bit tricky to set up and there are several set-up options you will want to consider before getting started. So again, feel free to contact us for an appointment if you need help with that.

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