Lost or Stolen Devices with Personal Data

Lost or Stolen Devices with Personal Data

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Lukas Vileikis
22 July 2021

Lost or stolen devices are always a big concern to everybody - it’s of concern to developers, database administrators, security experts, even people not interested in technology at all. What can we do to minimize the damage caused by losing our personal devices? This is what we’re going to go through in this blog post.

What is Personal Data? What are Devices?

Before actually telling you how you should deal with lost or stolen personal devices with sensitive data on it, we should probably tell you what we mean by saying “personal data” and “devices” in the first place. Personal data is any data that relates to a person or an individual. Personal data might include usernames, email addresses, passwords, IP addresses, geographical locations, credit card data, a name or a number of a person too. In practice, such data includes all data that can be assigned to a person in any kind of way.

On the other hand, devices are a pretty self-explanatory thing. A device is anything that is adapted to suit a purpose. A device can be a computer, a tablet, a phone.

Since both devices are related to each other (devices usually store our personal data), both devices and personal data must be protected at all times.

Lost or Stolen Devices with Personal Data

Let’s face it, nobody wants to lose their devices, even worse so get them stolen. Lost or stolen personal devices with personal data on them pose a number of different challenges:

  • Completing everyday tasks could be more difficult - if you lose a phone, you don’t have a way to call or message people, if you lose your computer too and they’re the only two devices you used, you don’t even have a way to reach your friends on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, etc.)
  • You might not be able to use your credit or debit cards, log in to websites.
  • If your devices are stolen, attackers can steal your identity, steal the money you have in your cards, skim through your contact list and possibly contact a person close to you to scam them, read and possibly disclose sensitive personal messages, etc.

What can we do in this scenario to minimize our risk?

  • First of all, we must ensure that we do not store too much sensitive personal information on the devices themselves. If there is no information to look into, we have less probabilities of getting our identities stolen or sensitive messages disclosed to third parties.
  • If our devices are lost, we must initiate a search for them immediately.
  • If our devices are stolen, we must inform friends and family about the fact that they might receive unsolicited messages or calls, inform our bank to let them know there might be some unauthorized transactions on our cards, potentially change our passwords we use to log in to websites if we stored them on the device that was stolen etc.

Following the steps above should set us on a pretty good path to minimizing our risk posed by losing our personal devices or getting them stolen.

Backups and Backup Ninja

Now that you know how you should protect yourself against the risks posed by getting your personal devices stolen or losing them, you should bear in mind the importance of backups too.

Backing up your data is important because of a few core points:

  • Properly taken backups of your data can be quickly & easily restored which means that if disaster strikes your business any time now or in the future, your data (and your business!) is safe.
  • Backups can help you recover your data if you lose your devices.
  • By backing up your data you can minimize the risk of attackers doing a lot of damage if any of your devices are stolen. If damage is done, backups can help you lessen their impacts.

Backup Ninja can help you in this regard. Simply log in to the service and you will be able to observe the status of your backups:

Overivew

On the dashboard you will be able to see how many backups are running, how many are inactive and how many have errors.

Backups can also be restored or deleted (on the Backups page you can also see their status, their duration, what server they are made on, information about their schedule and whether they are compressed, encrypted or uploaded to the cloud):

Backup Settings

Backups can also be scheduled by specifying a backup name, its schedule, selecting a backup server and a backup type. When scheduling your backups you can also enable PITR or backup a database per file.

Backup Ninja also has a bunch of cloud providers you can use - AWS, Backblaze, CityCloud, gridscale, Scaleway, Safespring etc.:

Cloud Providers

Summary

Losing a device or getting it stolen is something none of us wants to encounter. If our devices are lost or stolen, we could have problems so it’s important to know how we can protect ourselves from such things. One of the ways we can begin protecting ourselves is by backing up our data - by backing up our data with services like Backup Ninja we can solve problems if we lose our devices or they get stolen because then we can make sure our data can be quickly and easily recovered.

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