Ask Tech Effect: What To Do When I Lose Technology?
One of the biggest fears of any person is losing a device that they use every day, like their smart phone or their laptop.
These devices, among others, are a dominant force in our lives. Sometimes the devices can be so dominant in our lives that if we lose them, it could mean the imminent collapse of our lives as we know it.
If we use those devices at work, losing technology can have a wide range of repercussions. If your employer has paid for it and provided it to you, you’ve just lost company property. Even worse, company information and data are now in the hands of someone who could use that for the wrong reasons.
Thankfully, technology has advanced to the point where losing your device isn’t the end of the world. Having recognized that technology is easy to lose, people around the world have been creating software applications that make security even better than before.
You can now even track your technology (although you are going to need another device that can do the tracking) and find your lost device within a few feet from you. You can even lock your PC down to make sure information isn’t taken and falls into the wrong hands.
Of course, we’re all about positive thoughts, so under no circumstances will I write as if you’re never going to get your device back. But it is also helpful to know what you can do to prepare your device in the unfortunate event that your device cannot be found or retrieved.
First, Don’t Panic (Too Much)
It’s tempting to believe that your technology is lost forever and you’re going to be helpless without it. That statement is only partially true. While a large part of your capabilities are often enabled by technology, you are by no means helpless without it.
Calm down as much as you can. If you’ve just noticed that your technology is missing, there’s a good chance that it hasn’t been too long since your technology has disappeared.
Positive thinking helps a lot. Yes, it is possible that you might not find your device and it has to be considered lost, but you shouldn’t immediately think about that option until you have exhausted all of your possible search areas.
Besides, approaching a lost item with the thought that “it’s already gone, it’s hopeless” isn’t going to help your situation get any better. You might actually find it again (there is a big reason we have a lost-and-found) so don’t dampen your hopes.
Turn On Tracking Technology
You might have thought that now would be the perfect time to go back to every location you were at and frantically search for your device.
That’s not a bad idea, but there are tools that can assist you with finding your lost belongings (outside of the rare Good Samaritan).
In the unlikely event of a loss, app and software developers have created tracking software that will allow you to trace a device. Each device has their own method of tracking, but it all has to do with an Internet connection (preferably wireless) and in some cases, geographic tracking.
You’ll need another device in order to track your device (it sounds weird but is more obvious than it seems), so hopefully you installed this software on other devices too.
As soon as you realise that your device is missing, and you have calmed down, the first thing you should do is turn on your tracking software. Odds are that your device still has power and access to an Internet connection, so tracking the device shouldn’t be a problem.
I won’t get into the details of every single tracking program (since that would be a long list and each usage is different), but they all have their instructions and requirements that you need to follow.
The bad news is that it sounds like a bunch of preparation beforehand, as if you actually bet on yourself losing the device.
I realise that it does sound a bit patronizing to ask people to prepare as if they will lose their technology, but I’m sure it happens to a lot more of us than we are willing to admit. That’s why these apps and software were created in the first place.
Even if nothing happens (and I do hope you never lose your device), it won’t hurt to install tracking software on your devices if they can accommodate them, because in the worst-case scenario, you will be thanking yourself.
Work On Device Security
Our technology has many capabilities, which brings benefits to everyone’s lives.
However, just because it’s your device doesn’t mean that the benefits are restricted only to yourself. There are many people out there who would also benefit from your devices, namely the information stored on it.
If you’ve found passwords and other security measures to be a complete waste of time, do keep in mind that it was meant for preventing other people from breaking into your technology while you weren’t looking.
Passwords, finger recognition systems, even data encryption are some of the ways that people have created to protect your data so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
In some devices, mainly phones, there’s even an option to remotely disable the device and/or render the phone unusable.
While no one wants their device to remain unusable if it’s been broken into, sometimes that is the best course of action, especially if it is company property.
It doesn’t always have to be this drastic though. Two factor authentication is becoming a popular security term, both in name and actual use. This is where you have a combination of passwords/passcodes and other security measures, such as email or text codes in order to do anything.
It seems excessive (and it can be) but if you have confidential information or important data, bolstering device security should be a natural first step.
If you’re locating your device, this will give you the peace of mind that no matter what happens, your data is still going to remain as secure as possible.
Run To The Most Likely Location The Device Is At
Whether your tracking application or software has pinpointed a location, or you are running off of memory, losing your technology requires you to move your location to the spot where the device is most likely to be.
Get friends and/or family to help you out, because you could use as many people as possible. If no one is available, colleagues are fine too.
People usually don’t touch technology if it’s been left behind, so there’s a good chance it might still be there. If it isn’t, if there are venue staff at your location, they may have taken the device for security reasons. Check with them.
If you have a tracking application, check that. Hopefully, your device has been located and you may be able to pinpoint your device. Do be careful if the device location looks like it is changing; it may indicate that someone has your device, and it may be moving away from you.
When you do catch up to your device, do be aware that things may not go down as well as you thought. But also keep in mind that this could be someone who genuinely tried to do the right thing and you might have caught them at a bad time.
It’s a tricky situation however you choose to approach it. But at the end of the day, you should have your device back.
What If I Can’t Get It Back?
The unfortunate truth of any lost device is, it might never be seen again.
When that happens, you have to take this as a learning experience and try not to let the blame drag you down. It’s something that would happen to many people, and in some cases it isn’t always preventable, despite popular opinion.
But there are steps you can take to make sure that your next device is as secure as possible, and make sure that you are also teaching people how to make your devices secure.
Always put tracking software on your technology where you can. It will give you the peace of mind you need to carry out your day-to-day life, and help you to remain calm if your device ever goes missing.
Double check your belongings before you leave a destination, especially if you are leaving a destination that you aren’t able to go back to very quickly. This helps you check where your belongings are, and narrows down the possible locations where your device may be.
Also, remember to practice security measures such as passwords and email authentication. This will prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands should you not be able to find your device.
Don’t Give Up Hope
You might have noticed that in this article, I haven’t actually detailed a magic solution to getting lost technology back. I’ve only outlined common sense advice that almost everyone should be doing, apart from tracking software that you may not have been aware of.
The sad truth is, there isn’t much you can do if your technology is lost. We haven’t made a “find object button” or some mysterious teleportation technology that will bring your device to you immediately.
We also won’t advertise any technology as being better for lost items because there isn’t any technology that I think people would say “we prefer to lose”.
However, with advances in technology, there are still things you can do. And whenever you lose technology, you shouldn’t give up hope.
You can retrieve your technology, and you have a higher chance of doing so. There is no magic button for retrieval, but all is not lost, and listening to some common sense practices will help you find your device, even when you think it is gone.
And if you can’t retrieve your device, you know how to prepare yourself for the next time it happens.
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