How can I do a remote data wipe of the files on my employees computer?
I have an intern for the first time this semester and (gasp!) her laptop was stolen! I want to help the girl out if possible, but there don’t seem to be many options available (aside from reporting to the manufacturer and police) since we weren’t already subscribing to a service and the machine didn’t have special software installed. I find this hard to believe, and I have a hunch that a crowd of IT geniuses will be able to come up with a solution. Her computer is a MacBook Pro from 2011, if that’s a factor in determining how to locate the machine. She had the latest OS (Mountain Lion) installed. If we're not able to track her computer down is there at least some way to do a remote data wipe?
If you haven't already installed a service that can wipe your employee's laptop; now that's it been lost, there's very little that you can do.
There ARE services that do remote data wipes, designed specifically to help businesses avoid the headache that you’re about to experience. The most credible and economical solution--vetted by Gartner's--is probably Druva's inSync.
According to the company's own sales literature:
"In order to prevent data breach on lost or stolen devices, inSync provides remote wipe capabilities that can be applied either by an administrator or an auto-delete policy.
1. Administrators can initiate a remote decommission operation on a lost or stolen device, so the
device’s data is wiped out the next time time the device connects with inSync.
2. An auto-delete policy can be configured to automatically wipe data out if a device hasn’t
connected for a specified number of days.
3. Data delete meets NSA security standards and protects lost or stolen devices from data breach."
(page 13 of inSync Security Whitepaper, November 2012)
While this product isn’t going to help you out in your present situation, it might be something you'll want to invest in for the future.
Ponemon's major 2010 study showed that the Useful Life Loss Ratio for the wide sample set of companies surveyed was 7.1 percent (p. 2).
Assuming that number is representative, than even at a company with 20 people, it's pretty likely that two of your employees will lose their laptop before its time for an upgrade. Obviously, if you work for a company with hundreds of people, the expense and liability involved go way, way up.
To avoid the expense of doing damage-control on all that lost data, you might consider trying out a product like Druva's inSync backup [check it out here: http://www.druva.com/insync/laptop-backu… ] which (as mentioned above) is able to remotely wipe data from lost laptops in scenarios where you might otherwise be compromised.
They have a free trial here: http://bit.ly/W1OMMB if you’re interested.