Laptop Management For Remote Teams
Laptop management for remote teams is often an afterthought. It’s easy to get distracted by more pressing issues, but here's why you should care. In the traditional brick-and-mortar office, employees' laptops were always nestled behind the company's firewall, but this is no longer the case with remote working.
Although return-to-office mandates have increased, remote work is still going strong. Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2023 report found that 82% of respondents work from home, compared to 59% in 2022.
While remote work has provided many opportunities for employers and remote workers, there are also some disadvantages. For instance, the increase in cloud services makes companies more susceptible to cyberattacks.
Without adequate laptop management, an IT manager can't protect their distributed team's devices or maintain data compliance. That’s why there needs to be a comprehensive solution for managing laptops for remote teams in 3 key areas: onboarding, retrieving, and storing.
For a remote team to succeed, businesses must provide not just the right tool for video conferencing and project management but also IT asset management tools and software.
Common Pitfalls of Laptop Management For Remote Teams
Company data security can be at risk when remote workers use their work laptops for personal purposes. Cybercriminals can launch phishing attacks against personal email addresses, providing access to a corporate network when opened on a work laptop.
One of the important steps companies can take to ensure data security is the regular use of a cybersecurity audit checklist. No matter the size of the company, there are always common pitfalls in laptop management, such as:
- Compliance issues
- Inventory management issues
- Cost optimization
- Ensuring secure access to company data
- Protecting against data theft for a lost or stolen laptop
- Providing users with tools and accessories for proper care
- Retrieving laptops from former employees
A lot of countries have stringent laws in place to compel companies to provide the right tools that their remote teams need to carry out their jobs effectively as well as protecting customer data.
Compliance issues can arise when there are no security measures in place to protect this data or the company doesn't provide its remote employees with secure devices.
Laptop Inventory Management Issues
The primary purpose of a laptop inventory system is to keep an accurate record of laptops owned by the company and to map what assets are with which employees.
This is necessary for managing remote teams and understanding what software is being used on each device. Good IT asset inventory management will lead to an increase in productivity, cost optimization, and team management.
Good laptop management can help ensure disciplined spending habits and cost reduction. An excellent strategy to achieve this is by employing a VMI system that shifts laptop management's responsibilities from a team member or team members to secondary companies such as GroWrk.
Ensuring Secure Access to Company data
It is no news that remote workers are the number one target of cybercriminals looking to access companies' data. While it is important to ensure data is readily available for ongoing business needs, it is more important to prioritize safety.
Protecting Against Data Theft for a Lost or Stolen Laptop
According to Forrester, 15% of data breaches result from a lost or stolen laptop. A common pitfall for data security is misplaced laptops, resulting in data theft. Good laptop management can protect against data theft and ensure that company information is safe when a laptop is stolen.
Issues with Repairing and Maintaining Laptops
Providing equipment to remote employees is only one part of the laptop management loop. Many companies are oblivious to repairs and maintenance.
Wear and tear are inevitable in existence. It is a company's responsibility to plan repairs and maintenance for their remote workforce's devices after prolonged use.
An effective way to do this is by working with third-party companies like GroWrk that have a network of warehouses around the globe that can store and repair laptops regardless of where a team member is located.
Issues with Retrieving Laptops from Former Employees
Laptop retrieval from ex-employees can be difficult, especially when they are disgruntled. According to Gaebler, over 9 million company laptops in 2020 needed to be returned to employers in the United States.
The pandemic and working from home have made the retrieval process further difficult and have emboldened employees to hold on to company assets which cost companies thousands of dollars to replace.
Did you know that in 2021 Asurion paid $300,000 to disgruntled employee who stole a company laptop, exfiltrated data, and posed as an anonymous ransomware hacker?
All these problems can be solved with good digital asset management skills, a comprehensive remote work policy, and an employee equipment agreement. There is no one size fits all solution, as no two companies experience the same laptop management issues.
Laptop Inventory Management For Remote Teams
When onboarding a new remote worker, building a remote first culture or setting up a remote team equipping them with digital assets should be a priority. A few options for solving this include paying employees stipends to purchase one, sending a laptop as a perk, or offering company equipment to ensure security.
While all these are good solutions, none offer insight into delivery and maintenance. These are important parts of remote team management software companies usually can't monitor.
Think about how many laptops and other equipment have been damaged or delayed during delivery - The horror! Keeping track of tools and equipment and running an inventory becomes a problem.
At GroWrk, we solve laptop inventory management for remote teams by offering a dashboard that handles the procurement, delivery, and storage of devices.
With GroWrk’s solutions, companies do not have to think twice about hiring employees from any country in the world.
GroWrk can deliver laptops and other work from home equipment to over 150 countries. We also provide a platform for inventory management to help onboard and offboard employees in minutes.
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Laptop Inventory Software
Laptop inventory software can track and manage laptops and other accessories.
Growrk stores and monitors company devices on behalf of companies so they won't have to store devices in an employee's apartment or the infamous "IT closet" on-site. GroWrk also manages the logistics and all laptops come with remote access and security software.
This takes away the stress and work hours that can be spent in setting up new hires around the world while also helping to build a solid company culture.
Businesses can order laptops and other equipment through the GroWrk catalog for their distributed teams. The unique thing about GroWrk is businesses can track their laptops with its laptop inventory software.
GroWrk customers can see when laptops are delivered, stored, or retrieved through the dashboard. This software is digital asset management for Mac and Windows users and provides 24hrs IT support.
Laptop Agreement Form for Employees
A Laptop Agreement Form for employees is a document to be completed by the employee who uses a laptop owned by the company for work-related purposes.
This document will guide the usage, maintenance, and retrieval of the laptop if needed. Here is a Laptop agreement template for employees:
Employee Laptop Agreement
Name: Jennifer Aigbini
Position: Content Manager
Employee Number: 123456
Make and Model: DESKTOP-GOE6V4T
Serial Number: 123456789
- Product Number: 1234567
- Microprocessor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-1035G1 CPU @ 1.00GHz 1.19 GHz
- RAM: 8.00 GB (7.70 GB usable)
- Comment: The laptop has minor scratches
The equipment listed above is owned by [Company Name] and will be used only for work-related purposes during my employment with the company. This laptop is only intended for the use of the company employee to whom it has been assigned.
As a borrower of the company's laptop, I understand and accept the following responsibilities:
- I will follow the below-listed guidelines for proper care of the laptop.
- I will use the laptop only for work-related purposes. I will not install any software the company has not approved on the laptop.
- I will not write on, intentionally damage, or place any labels or stickers on the laptop.
- I will not disable or uninstall the virus protection program provided with the said laptop.
- Suppose an accident occurs, and said laptop or accessories are stolen or stopped working under reasonable wear and tear conditions, I shall immediately notify my supervisor and IT department.
- In the event the equipment or its accessories are lost or damaged due to my own fault, I will report as soon as possible to the IT support team and be willing to bear the cost of replacement
- Any modiﬁcations I make in the computer's settings will be for usability or cosmetic reasons only.
- Additionally, I fully understand and accept that if I am fired, promoted, or resigned from my position, I will, without fail, return the assigned laptop and every other piece of equipment issued to me.
- If the equipment is not returned at the time given by my supervisor, the company has the right to delay my final payment until the equipment is successfully returned.
- Failure to return equipment will be considered theft and may lead to criminal prosecution by the company.
Guidelines for Proper Care of the Laptop:
The laptop is assigned to you only for work and work-related uses and shall not be loaned to anyone.
You are responsible for the laptop and should not allow usage by 3rd parties, including other employees, family members, and friends.
The laptop should be properly taken care of using but not limited to the following guidelines:
- Give care appropriate for any electrical device
- Use a surge protector or unplug the laptop during electrical storms.
- Keep food and drink away from the computer.
- Do not leave the laptop exposed to direct sunlight or extreme cold.
- Position the laptop on a safe surface so it does not drop or fall.
- Do not attempt to repair a damaged or malfunctioning laptop.
- Do not attempt to upgrade the computer or software.
- Keep the laptop away from moisture and liquid spills.
- Do not use the laptop in environments where you ought not to use an electrical device.
- When not in use, always keep your laptop in a safe place
- Do not leave the laptop in an unlocked car.
- Do not leave the A/C adapter behind when moving the laptop.
By signing below, I acknowledge I have reviewed each point of this agreement and agree to all the conditions above.
Company data security can be at risk without good laptop management, which is essential for the growth of any company with or without a virtual team. Anthea Turner once said, "The first rule of management is delegation. Don't try and do everything yourself because you can't."
GroWrk can help your organization by providing inventory management for IT assets on a global scale. Whether you have team members with company-owned hardware in one or 18 countries, you can seamlessly manage all of them using our platform. Book a call today to get started.