How you can take stock of your devices

These days, we are connected to technology through so many different types of devices that trying to keep track of them all can be tough.

That’s where taking stock of your devices can help. By creating a list of all the devices in your possession, you can come up with a plan for making yourself more cyber secure.

Here’s how you can take stock of your devices.

Think about the devices you haven’t used in a while two people sitting outside working on a table, looking at a laptop; text: Take stock

Back in the day, we basically had one device to keep track of: A laptop or desktop computer for doing work.

But over the last 20 years or so, that has changed a lot.

Now we have different types of devices (e.g. laptops, phones, tablets, video game systems) and maybe even multiple versions of the same device (say, a laptop for work and then another one for home).

The result is that we end up acquiring so many devices we lose track of them and end up putting ourselves at risk if we don’t manage our devices properly, such as by updating them regularly or disposing of them properly.

The best way to combat this? Think about devices you haven’t used in a while.

Maybe it’s an old laptop that was replaced when you got a new one last Christmas. Or maybe you’re still hanging on to every phone you’ve ever owned. Or maybe you have an old Mp3 player collecting dust somewhere.

By thinking about the devices you maybe haven’t used in a while, you can come up with a comprehensive action plan for becoming more cyber secure.

Keep a “device diary”

We interact with so many devices throughout the day that we sometimes forget they’re even connected to the internet. After all, even our fridges are now frequently connected to the internet these days.

The best way to combat this: Keep a device diary.

It’s simple.

Every time you use a device, make a note of it. In your phone, in a notebook, on your computer, or just in your mind – it doesn’t really matter where, just start a list and stick to it.

Think about devices you might not consider to be a risk

The internet is everywhere in 2020. Devices that used to be unconnected – think printers, thermostats and ovens – now run on wireless connectivity.

You might not consider these to be a risk (or even think regularly about how they are connected to the Internet), but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to take stock of them.

To develop a full list of devices, think of devices you might not even consider are connected to the internet.

You may be surprised at what you come up with!

Dispose of any unwanted devices safely  

Sometimes, it’s just time to say goodbye. Once you’ve taken stock of your devices, you might find that there are some that you don’t need anymore.

If that’s the case and you decide to dispose of these devices, you’ll need to ‘sanitize’ them properly to ensure that any sensitive or personal data is removed. This is not the hand-gel type of sanitizer. You should go beyond simply deleting information or moving it to the trash or recycle bin where it could still be recovered.

Ensure that your data is actually removed from your device or made inaccessible. There are a few fairly easy things you can do when you’ve decided to say dispose of a device.

  • You can perform  a factory reset on your device.  This way, your personal data can no longer be accessed if your device falls into the wrong hands.  Your data won’t be recoverable from the user interface . However, a factory reset does not truly erase the data, but instead  makes it inaccessible.
  • You can also dispose of external media, such as memory and SIM cards separately as they may still have traces of your data, even if you have done a factory reset. Disposing of it means crushing it, shredding it, or finding a way for it to disintegrate.
  • You could try overwriting and secure erasing your device. This method is damaging, though, and could shorten the life-span of your device, which might affect how long it can be reused.

Once you have removed your sensitive information from the device, you can dispose of it by repurposing, selling or donating your device for reuse or recycling.


Taking stock of your devices can be a great way of staying cyber secure. Follow these steps to develop your own list of what you need to take stock of.


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