My laptop was stolen, now what do I do?

Well, I finally slipped up on one of the habits that has been instilled in me since my first day working for a consulting firm. Never…ever…EVER…leave your laptop in your car in plain site. And try everything possible to just never leave it in the car in general. But at a minimum, put it in the trunk.

Monday night I was joining many friends for a monthly wine tasting gathering at a restaurant off of a well travelled road. A well lit parking lot, and it just so happened that I parked right under a light pole. I had come straight from work so I had my laptop with me. I met my wife at the restaurant. And as we both got out of our cars, I noticed that she had her laptop poking out of her bag in plain sight on her back seat. And I very quickly suggested to her to put it in the trunk. Oh, if only I had just listened to my own words to realize that my bag was sitting on the floor of my backseat.

As we exited the restaurant (prior to 9 PM I might add), I quickly noticed that something looked odd with my car. As I approached, the window had been busted out and my laptop bag was gone. I had that laptop for about 5 years. Because of the initial shock of seeing my window in little tiny glass cubes on the ground and my backseat and my laptop gone, I immediately began to think about all of that data that I had lost. Not because I was worried about the thief gaining access to it (because of the encryption they won’t be able to), but because of the custom development projects I had setup on it. The websites that had been perfectly tuned in a development environment that I would have to recreate. The many, many hours that I would have to assume it will take to get back to normal.

Then I began to think a bit more clearly as the shock (and, honestly, the feeling of being violated) slowly went away. I realized one unbelievably glorious fact. When I joined Polleo almost 2 years ago, I began using our desktop as a service product. I had moved my files over to our network file server that my virtual desktop connected to and most (not 100%) of my development environments had been setup on it. Yes, there are a few things that I had on my laptop that I hadn’t moved over to my virtual desktop at Polleo. But my assumption is that if I didn’t feel it was appropriate to move them almost 2 years ago, then I probably didn’t need it.

So this morning when I came into the office with basically a pen and a pad of paper (which I can’t tell you the last time I took notes on a pad of paper), I grabbed one of our extra thin clients in the office, connected right to my virtual desktop and was off and running. Now, my car is in the shop getting its window replaced. And insurance will obviously cover that, as well as my new laptop. But insurance couldn’t have given me a check big enough to make up for the amount of data I may have lost had I not been using my virtual desktop. Lesson definitely learned.