A couple of nights ago someone broke into our office (and the office across the hall) and stole a laptop computer. Since they left everything else and didn’t ramsack our offices, we assume it was a quick smash-and-grab for drug money as opposed to corporate spying.
Originally I wasn’t going to blog about this, but since the reprocussions will be with me for the next few weeks, I figured I’d share some of what I learn so that all small business owners can protect themselves, or, if it’s too late, know what to do next.
The doors to our building lock at night automatically, but all anyone has to do is wait for someone to leave and grab the door before it closes. (We’ve all seen that a hundred times on Law & Order.) Or, they could come in during regular hours, wait in the rarely-used stairwell and come out once everyone’s gone home for the night.
We also have locks on our office door, but not a deadbolt. I wish I had asked my landlord for deadbolts when we moved in, or just spent the money myself. That in itself probably would have convinced the burglar to move on. $50 or so bucks would have saved me a lot of headaches.
The burglar didn’t take the hard drive with all of our backup material, which was good news. However, it made me realize how vulnerable we are to that. I’ll begin to look for online, remote backup services asap.
State Farm, our insurance agency, was a pleasure to work with. Steve Trombley’s our guy…if you’re in the greater Portland (ME) area, give him a call at
(207) 799-3321. Minus the deductible we’re getting a new computer that’s actually a little better than the one that was stolen. Of course, I still lost time to ordering it, plus all the time to reinstall the software, etc. Ryan backed up his email database and other work before he left, but it will still be a pain to reinstall everything. Plus, you know there are things you didn’t back up the way you should have.
- Improve security. A simple deadbolt might have prevented this crime. A webcam or 3rd party security system may be required, if it’s affordable. The new MacBook Pro will ship with a security chain. I may let the company python out of it’s cage after hours.
- Better backup. We need to find a remote storage facility where we can regularly backup our work. We need to put the office hard drive in the safe.
- Document all computer info. We had started an excel spreadsheeet on who was on which computer, the purchase date, specs, software installed, installation numbers, serial numbers, etc., but didn’t make a habit of finishing it or updating it. Since both the police and your insurance company may need this information, make sure you have that all in a safe place. (Read: not on the computer that you no longer have.)
- Don’t touch anything. Although the local police decided not to dust because of the (relatively) low cost of the loss, they did consider it. Had the burglar taken more than just a laptop, we could have contaminated the crime scene inadvertently.
- Have insurance. I’m sure you have to have some insurance by law, but State Farm really came through for us. I know it was just customer service coaching, but the rep kept on telling me that she understood that we needed to get back up and running as quickly as possible, but she called several times to move things along, securing permission for me to just order the computer online, since I could get it done faster that way. Even if it did just come from a coaching session, teaching your customer service reps why they should be helpful helps them focus on that goal.
I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what I have right now. I’ll post some helpful links as we continue our research into securing our office.