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What is a remote wipe & when to use it?

Updated on 5 August 2022

In this digital age, more and more businesses are allowing their employees to work remotely. This can be a great way to increase productivity and flexibility, but it also comes with its own set of risks. One of the biggest concerns for remote workers is what happens if their device is stolen or compromised in some way. That’s where remote wipe software comes in.

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In this article, we will define remote wiping, explain how it works, and discuss some scenarios where it might be needed. We’ll also take a look at the benefits of using remote wipe software and list some popular solutions. Finally, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about remote wipes.

What is a remote wipe?
Simply put, it’s a way to remotely delete data from a device. This can be useful in a number of scenarios, such as if your device is stolen or if there is a data breach. Remote wipe software can also be used to remove all traces of your data from a device when you no longer need it, such as when an employee leaves your company.

How does a remote wipe work?

There are two main ways that remote wipe software can delete data from a device: by overwriting the existing data or by deleting the entire device. To do this, the software needs to be installed on the device before it is lost or stolen. Once the software is installed, you can remotely activate it from any internet-connected device. When activated, the remote wipe software will either overwrite the existing data on the device or delete the entire device, depending on your settings.

Pipedrive logo The CRM platform to grow your business
  • Great for entrepreneurs
  • Powerful data analytics
  • Manage sales and data
Rippling logo Manage all your employee data
  • Run in 90 seconds
  • 100% error-free
  • Automatic tx filing
Wix logo Powerful web builder and advanced business tools
  • Great for startups
  • Powerful web page builder
  • E-commerce available
Planable logo Supercharged content planning
  • Great for marketing
  • Better than lists or sheets
  • Manage social media
Webador logo Create a new website in 10 minutes. Easy.
  • Launch your website fast
  • Powerful data intuitive
  • No coding skills needed

When is a remote wipe needed?

There are three main scenarios where you might need to use remote wipe software:

Stolen device

A recent survey showed that 58 percent of Americans had the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week. This means that more people are working in coffee shops and other public spaces. While this can be great for productivity, it also increases the risk of device theft. If a laptop or smartphone is stolen, you may not be able to get it back. However, if you have remote wipe software installed, you can delete all of your data from the device so that the thief cannot access it.

The sooner a device can be located or wiped, the better, as it reduces the amount of time that a thief has to access your data. The ability to act quickly is one of the main benefits of remote wipe software.

Data breach

Another scenario where remote wiping can be useful is if there is a data breach. If your company’s systems are compromised, you may need to delete data on some of your devices to protect your information. This can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but with software, you can do it quickly and easily.

End of employment

When an employee leaves your company, they may take sensitive information with them. To prevent this, you can use remote wipe software to delete all of the data on their device. This will ensure that only authorised people have access to your company’s data.

It is important that organisations have policies in place regarding the remote wiping of data before an employee leaves. This will ensure that the process is carried out correctly and in a timely manner.

Benefits of remote wipe software

There are many benefits of using remote wipe software, such as:

  • Protects private data – one of the biggest benefits is that it helps protect your private data. The ability to remotely wipe can help ensure that your data is not accessed by unauthorised individuals. This can be especially important in cases of identity theft or corporate espionage.
  • It can help protect your data if your device is lost or stolen – remote wipe software can help protect your data by remotely erasing all the information on your device. This can help keep your data safe and prevent any unauthorised access to your information.
  • Prevent a data breach – when an outside source has gained access to critical systems, a remote wipe is a necessary step. Wiping any devices that may be impacted by the attack mitigates damage as much as possible. In this situation, be sure to document every step of your process for any future investigation or audit.
  • Keep control of your data when an employee leaves your company – If you fire an employee or they quit, you can easily remove business data from the individual’s devices.
  • Respond immediately to an issue – you can respond quickly and efficiently to protect your organisations data from falling into the wrong hands.

Limitations of a remote wipe

There are a few limitations to consider when using remote wipe software, such as:

  • Devices must be online – there must be an internet connection for the remote wipe to work, if a device is turned off or not connected to the internet, then it may not be able to erase all of the data on the device
  • Take time to complete – the amount of time needed is dependent on the amount of data that needs to be erased. This means the process may be interrupted if the device is turned off or the internet connection is lost.
  • Only protects against known theft – remote wiping won’t protect your data if you don’t know if your device has been lost or stolen. The process is initiated manually by someone within the organisation and this won’t happen unless there is a suspicion that the device is no longer in the rightful owner’s possession.

List of remote wipe software

Here is a list of businesses that offer solutions that can help protect your organisation’s data:

  1. DriveStrike
  2. Prey
  3. Absolute

1. DriveStrike

Pricing: Between $13 – $20 per device per annum and they offer a 30 day free trial.

DriveStrike’s can be activated quickly and easily, and it can help protect your organisation’s data from falling into the wrong hands. It’s software is available on Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and Linux devices.

2. Prey

Pricing: $14 – $24 per device per annum.

They have an app that allows you to easily lock or wipe each device, as well as allow you to retrieve information about the device to help recover it. Allows you confront theft and passively monitor your devices, by using control zones, which highlights odd locations.

3. Absolute

Pricing: $12 – $30 per device per annum

Absolute is the only endpoint security solution factory-installed by every major PC manufacturer. Embedded in the BIOS of over half a billion devices so all you have to do is activate it. It allows you maintain control over your IT security, keeping your sensitive data protected.

FAQs

What is a remote wipe?

A remote wipe is the process of deleting data from a device that is not physically accessible. This is usually done in the event of a theft or data breach, as it can help prevent the unauthorised access and use of sensitive data.

How does remote wiping work?

It works by deleting data from a device that is not physically accessible. This is usually done through a remote management system, which allows an administrator to remotely delete data from a device.

When is a remote wipe needed?

It may be needed in the event of a theft, data breach, or other incident where sensitive data may be at risk of being accessed by unauthorised individuals.

What are the benefits of remote wipe software?

It can help organisations protect their data in the event of a theft, data breach, or other incident. Additionally, remote wipe software can be quick and easy to use, and it can help keep sensitive data safe from unauthorised access.

What are some remote wipe software options?

There are a number of software options available on the market, such as DriveStrike, Absolute, and Prey to name but a few.

How much does remote wipe software cost?

It usually starts at around $1-$2 per device per annum. Remote wipe software can be expensive, and not all organisations may have the budget to invest in such a solution. However, the cost of remote wipe software may be worth it to organisations that handle sensitive data on a regular basis.

Limitations of a remote wipe?

It requires the device to be online to be able to erase all of the data on the device, and it can take some time to complete, meaning there is a chance it could be interrupted. Additionally, it only protects against known theft, meaning if you don’t know a device has been stolen then the data will not be wiped. Finally, remote wipe software can be expensive for organisations to invest in.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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