Laptop Security Best Practices

Laptops are a valuable asset for the workforce of companies of any size. They allow employees to stay connected while on the go and can are critical tools to accomplish work quickly and effectively. When work laptops contain important data and client information, it’s essential to take measures to keep them secure. Below are some of the essential steps you can take to protect your laptop from theft and keep your data safe.

Physical Security 

Laptop security begins with physical security. Always keep your laptop in a safe place when you’re not using it. If you’re carrying it with you, make sure it’s in a secure bag that thieves can’t easily access. When traveling, never leave your laptop unattended in a public space, and make sure to always keep it with you. 

System Password

It’s also important to protect your laptop with a strong system password. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols to create a password that would be difficult for someone to guess. Avoid using easily guessed words like “password” or your name. You should also change your password periodically to further reduce the risk of it being guessed with a brute force approach. 

Security Software 

In addition to physical protection and local access protection, it’s essential to take steps to protect yourself when you connect your laptop to the Internet. Be sure to install cybersecurity software on your laptop and keep it up to date. The most sophisticated software is called endpoint detect & respond (EDR). The best EDR software will not only protect you from known viruses and ransomware attacks but will also detect odd behavior and respond to it immediately. 

Personal Awareness

Not all security can be handled purely by software smarts, people need to practice good cyber behaviors online to keep their system and their data safe. Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown sources, which can surreptitiously load malware or ransomware onto your laptop. When using public WiFi networks, be sure to use Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to encrypt all your activity. This prevents other lurking on the network from seeing your passwords and other private information on the network. 

Laptops are a valuable asset and a potentially weak link in your company’s security chain/ They should be protected with the best security practices. At Montra, we understand the importance of data security and have put measures in place to protect the information of our customers and their users. We offer have software and services to help you secure your laptops and other devices, secure your workforce’s identities, and secure your company’s data. If you have any questions about our security measures or how to protect your company’s laptops, please don’t hesitate to email us at

Microsoft OneDrive – Eight Ways to Get the Most from It

When it comes to file storage and sharing, there are a lot of different options out there. Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud-based storage and synchronization service offered by Microsoft. It allows users to store files in the cloud, share files with others, and sync files across devices. With its many features, it can be difficult to know how to get the most out of the service. In this post, we will cover topics such as best practices, how to share and sync across devices, restore files, and collaborate with others. 

Some of the best features of Microsoft OneDrive are: 

1. You can store up to 5GB of data for free: This is a great option for those who don’t want to pay for storage or who are just starting out and don’t have a lot of files to store. 

2. It integrates well with Microsoft Office programs: If you are a Microsoft Office user, OneDrive will integrate well with your programs and make it easy to save files to the cloud. You can also access your files from any device, including phones, tablets, and computers. 

3. You can share files and folders with others and set permissions: This is a great way to collaborate with others. You can give others access to specific files and folders, or you can share your entire OneDrive account with them. 

While there are many great features, there are also some potential downsides. The primary pain points customers have with OneDrive are: 

1. The Interface Can be Confusing 

This is especially true for those who are not familiar with Microsoft Office programs. Whether you’re migrating from another cloud-sharing service or starting from scratch, there are a number of onboarding tutorials your employees can use to become well-versed with OneDrive’s features. 

2. Syncing files between devices Can be Difficult to Setup 

This can be a problem if you have different devices, such as a phone and a computer, and you want to keep the files on both devices. The OneDrive app is the best way to sync all your files, but it can be confusing to setup and often requires a power user or IT administrator to get it going properly.

3. File and Folder Names are different between Mac and
Windows users 

This can be confusing for users who are used to the naming conventions of one OS or the other. OneDrive follows the naming rules for Windows devices and will stop a user who names a file incorrectly. 

  • Disallowed characters include: \, /, :, *, ?, “, ‘, <, >, | 

Assuming you are making the jump to OneDrive, here are eight helpful tips to get the most from it:

1. Use OneDrive on a Mobile Device 

If you are using Microsoft OneDrive on a mobile device, there are a few things you should keep in mind to get the most out of it. First, make sure you have the latest version of the OneDrive app installed on your device – either from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Second, if you are going to be accessing your files offline, make sure you have enough storage space on your device to accommodate them. And finally, remember that you can always access your OneDrive files from any web browser by going to

2. Use OneDrive on a Mac or PC 

If you’re using a Mac or PC, you can access your OneDrive files by going to Simply sign in with your Microsoft account and you’ll be able to view, download, or upload your files. You can also access your OneDrive files from the OneDrive app for Mac or PC, which you can download from either the Apple App Store or the Microsoft website.

3. Save Files to OneDrive 

To save a file to your Microsoft OneDrive, simply open the file in its respective application (Word, Excel, etc.), and then choose OneDrive as the location to save it. That’s it! Now you can access your file from any device with an internet connection by going to from your browser.

4. Upload Files 

Uploading files to Microsoft OneDrive is easy! Simply open the OneDrive app and click on the “Upload Files” button in the sidebar. From there, you can select the files you want to upload from your computer. Once the upload is complete, you’ll be able to access your files from any device with an internet connection by going to

5. Sync Files Across Devices 

If you are using Microsoft OneDrive, you can easily sync your files across multiple devices. To do this, simply sign into your OneDrive account on each device. Once you are signed in, your OneDrive files will automatically sync across all your devices.

6. Collaborate with Others 

Share Files 

Sharing files with others is a breeze with Microsoft OneDrive. Simply select the file or folder you wish to share, and then click the “Share” button. From there, you can enter the email addresses of the people you want to share with and decide whether they can view or edit the file. You can also add a message to include with the invitation. 

Share Folders 

If you’re collaborating with others on a project, Microsoft OneDrive is a great way to keep everyone on the same page. To do this, simply share your OneDrive file or folder with the people you’re working with. Once they have access to the folder, they’ll be able to view or edit them from any device with an internet connection.

7. Restore Older Versions of a File 

If you make accidental changes to a file or want to look at an older version of a file, this is a great feature of Microsoft OneDrive! You can easily go back to up to 10 prior versions of your file. To do this on a Mac or PC, simply right-click on the filename and choose “Browse Version History”. Once drive will provide you with a list of the dates and time of prior versions of the file. Select one and it will be opened in the appropriate application to view and save.

8. Access Your OneDrive Files Offline 

If you need to access your OneDrive files while you’re offline, there’s no need to worry! Microsoft OneDrive App on your device automatically makes a local copy of your files on your device, so you can always access them even if you don’t have an internet connection. To access your offline files, simply go to the OneDrive app and look for the “Available offline” section. 

Microsoft OneDrive is a great way to sync and share your files across multiple devices. It’s easy to use and has a variety of features that make it a valuable tool for both personal and professional use. We listed just a few of the potential benefits of using Microsoft OneDrive. If you have any questions about how to use OneDrive or would like help implementing it in your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 

6 Steps to Great RMAs for Your Devices

If you are in the business of making and selling computers, phones, tablets, IoT, or other devices, you know that eventually some of your devices will get returned. If your devices are being used in critical applications for your customers, you know how hard it can be to process returns well. Handling the returns in a systematic manner will help your company to keep your business running smoothly while ensuring your customer satisfaction numbers do not take a hit. 

What is Return Materials Authorization? 

Return materials authorization (RMA) is part of the process of a customer returning a device back to the manufacturer to get the unit fixed or replaced. On the manufacturer’s side, it is processed by verifying the device returned properly and initiating appropriate actions to troubleshoot, repair, or reimage, the device. This process includes data collection, return eligibility verification, software troubleshooting, reimaging, or issuing a replacement. 

Ultimately, an RMA process exists to make the return seamless to the customer and cost-effective for the manufacturer. However, not all RMA processes are created equal, and there benefits to understanding best practices for device RMAs is different than other product types. Without the right process in place, companies tend to spend an unnecessary amount of time on returns. A well-designed and automated process will help reduce the risks and increase the overall efficiency. 

It is also important to establish expectations for warranty terms, follow-up actions, and return policies. Implementing such a systematic process will also help in keeping track of the various defects across categories and suppliers while leading to quick resolution of issues. 

What is a Device and Why is the RMA Different? 

What we mean by a device is typically anything with a smart chip, some firmware or software, and the ability to communicate over the Internet. Devices are typically covered by warranties and the RMA process is primarily executed when some part or all the device stops working. This is as opposed to something like clothing, in which RMAs are typically executed for an unliked or defective item. The RMA process for devices is inherently more complex and includes data collection, warranty eligibility verification, cross-shipping of devices, and troubleshooting and repairing of returned devices. 

6 Best Practices for the Device RMA Process 

An effective device RMA process can improve the reputation of your company and keep your customers up and running when your devices are being used in important applications. With the right process in place, you will be ready when inevitable defects and returns occur, so your customers can be served quickly and cost-effectively. Here are some of the best practices that can be put in place to create an efficient device RMA process: 

1. RMAs Should Be Integrated to Customer Systems 

If you transact the rest of your business online, then you or your customer should be able to initiate an RMA online also. At a minimum, a good RMA process will include a platform that you or your customer can use to initiate an RMA. In the best case, your RMA process should be directly integrated into the systems and processes you already use. If you use Salesforce Service, for instance, you should be able to generate an RMA request from that application. Once the process has started, RMA updates should flow back to your system also. 

2. Make the RMA Simple to Track 

It must be an easy task for your and your customers to log and track the return requests. It is always good to keep the customer informed at each stage of the process. This makes the entire process clear, easy to track, and provides the customer with confidence in the process. 

Since most devices have serial numbers, your RMA process should use them. By also capturing accurate address information directly from a CRM, your RMA system should generate shipping labels and schedule a pickup of the device from the customer’s site. Efficiencies such as these eliminates time and possible errors that manual RMA processes routinely incur. 

3. Priority Returns Need Cross-Shipping 

When customers deploy your devices into mission-critical applications, they usually expect limited or no downtime when an RMA is being processed. This requires cross-shipping of a working device to the customer site to replace the RMA’d unit before it is shipped back. This may seem simple, but to execute this process well some important things need to happen: 1) the customer site information needs to be accurate; 2) return labels need to be included outbound, and 3) the RMA’d device should be able to fit in the box being used to ship the replacement unit. That requires accurate information about the field unit to get it right! 

4. Return Reasons Must Be Validated 

Your customers may have any number of reasons for returning a device. It may be a hardware issue, software issue, or it may be damaged from weather or third parties. However, as is often the case with complicated devices, the customer’s rationale for returning the device often does not match the actual condition of the device upon return. When the device arrives at the return center, workers must examine and boot the device to verify the return reason matches the actual issue. In best practices, both return reasons are logged for future reviews of the RMA process. 

5. Allow Manual Intervention 

Automation is great and most parts of an RMA process can be automated, but without human oversight at important steps in the process. It is easy to get the process out of control. Certain RMA processes allow the end-customer to initiate urgent returns without approval of the manufacturer. These kinds of returns require oversite during the process, if possible, and certainly after the process to make certain that the returns were truly needed. Inventory in the RMA system and in the warehouse can get off count quickly. Best practices require regular human inventory counts to look for discrepancies. 

6. Proactively Await the Returned Product 

Once a notification of a returned device or devices is in process, best practices have the return team preparing for the returned device(s) before arrival. This may include verifying parts inventory of known replacement parts, or for large returns, preparing space and time to process the returns en masse. If the devices include RFID tags or scannable marks, those IDs should be fed to the receiving system before they arrive to streamline the process and avoid exception handling. 

Download our Device Return Materials Authorization Process Infographic Here. 

Need a Partner to Help? 

Finding the answer to RMA management can seem daunting, but Montra is here to help. With our VIA DX Device Logistics software, you can automatically track and manage your devices from fulfillment to field repairs, to RMAs and warranty tracking. Talk to us today to learn how this invaluable tool and the team that backs it can help your business optimize and streamline the way you handle all the lifecycle processes for your devices.

Six Things to Look for in Modern Remote Management and Monitoring Tools

If you are a managed IT services provider or a company that gets services from one, you are likely very familiar with remote management and monitoring software. RMM has been a mainstay application used by managed IT services providers for years. It provides several important functions that enable the cost-effective and secure delivery of the end-device services by IT service providers. 

The past two years have rapidly changed the breadth and frequency of remote work. Whether this is a permanent change in work habits or not, the remote worker needs to be supported as a standard part of IT service delivery, not as an exception – what people call hybrid work now. 

For modern RMM software to keep up with the changing nature of work and the applications and systems being used, the following items need to be addressed: 

1. Remote Updating Needs Rock Solid Reliability 

All RMM clients have supported remote patching and other software updates for years. Not all of them have supported remote updates effectively. The challenge in this new hybrid work model is that a remote user whose device gets bricked by a poorly executed update is especially adversely affected. The RMM client also needs to not only give users the option when to update, but also needs to warn them if they should be doing an update because maybe they are not plugged in, are in a public hotspot, or are on an unreliable internet connection. This approach will help minimize the times a user goes down and IT needs to scramble to get them running (typically at a high cost!) 

2. Top Rate Remote Policy Enforcement 

Policy enforcement needs to be included in any modern RMM. This is needed for a variety of reasons including 1) compliance to frameworks like HIPAA or NIST CSF; 2) security from a user making poor decisions like plugging in an unknown USB drive, and 3) intellectual property loss from users copying files or deleting files. The policy management importantly needs to be integrated with a centralized policy management system, so the policies that are enforced by the RMM are always in lockstep with the latest corporate policies. 

3. Remote Revocation of Rights is Critical 

Since employees can be anywhere when they leave the company, the traditional process of “hand me your computer” doesn’t work. Typically, laptops are mailed back after an empty box is shipped to the employee, or the system is just kept by the exiting employee. In either case, the user’s rights to access data on the device need to be removed remotely and preferably the data wiped. Not all RMM software does this well or in coordination with other HR and IT offboarding processes. 

4. Remote Control Is No Longer Optional 

To solve some issues remotely, it is often easier for the support engineer to take over control of the user’s system. This has been an optional feature in a lot of RMMs, but modern RMMs need to support this feature and support it well. It needs to work through consumer-grade firewalls and in typical co-working spaces, airports, and coffee shops. 

5. Need to support Macs and PCs 

Mac devices have continued to make inroads in the corporate environment. The new M1 processor Macs have provided a new price-performance benefit that is noticeable to every user/ Additionally, with more employees working from home, there are more employees that are doing work on their personal Mac. To properly support these users, RMM software needs to either support Mac and Windows equally well or managed IT service providers need to use two RMMs – one for Mac and one for Windows.  

6. Location Information Needs to Be Accessible 

Location information is available on most modern laptops. It can be GPS-based or WiFi-based, but it should be made available to the RMM. This is a necessary feature in a hybrid working world for many reasons. Employers need to know where employees are in emergencies, info-security needs to know where the device is for login and data usage rights, and it is helpful when a device has been lost or stolen. Modern RMMs need to tap into that information so that managed IT service providers can use it to track assets, data, and people. 

Montra successfully manages thousands of remote devices across all the hybrid workplaces of our customers. If you would like to learn more about how we can keep your workforce productive and secure, please email us at 

5 Reasons Why Employee Information Management is Hard

1. HR, Finance and IT All keep their own Databases 

Employee information is kept by many groups within a company. It starts with information gathered by HR during the recruiting and hiring process. Finance also maintains employee information for payroll or equity information, and IT keeps employee information for user credentials for email, single sign-on (SSO), employee notifications, and other core IT services. These groups all maintain their employee information for different reasons and in different systems. 

Most of the information, though, is redundant and often incomplete. This quickly leads to a drift in information accuracy as the information in the systems are inevitably not maintained in the same way and same time. 

2. The data is sensitive to store and access 

Employee information is inherently sensitive and private, whether it is medical, financial, phone numbers, personal email, or home address. Employees expect a certain level of privacy in the way their information is handled by their employer. If the data is not stored and shared properly, this can lead to an unhappy employee at best and a legal and financial issue at worst.  

3. No Single Group Owns Employee Information 

Like a lot of information of other types within a company, no one completely “owns” employee information. HR is the logical owner of a lot of employee information, but IT is usually information security so it owns employee credentials to all or most systems and applications within the company. Similarly, finance also maintains sensitive stock ownership information that logically belongs with them. This creates complexity in how and where employee data is maintained. Mobile numbers and personal emails, for instance, are typically stored in every system that asks for employee information. When conflicts inevitably arise, which data is correct? 

4. Employee information changes rapidly 

Every time an employee moves, changes banks, changes their personal email, works on a new customer, gains a new certification or skill – their information changes. As employees come and go from a company, their information needs to be added and removed also. The number of small changes per employee and across all employees adds up quickly and different systems get of out sync rapidly. Traditional approaches create multiple portals or web forms for “Change of Address”, “Bank Change”, “Password change” – employees get overwhelmed with too many places to update the same information and usually only update what is easy and necessary. 

5. Regulations and compliance are tough to navigate 

There are a number of other regulations that govern employee data including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Most people think of General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are privacy regulations for consumer data but they apply to employee data also. There are also regulations covering employee data privacy that are in the law-making process in state governments across the U.S. Tracking these regulations and implementing the information systems that follow the regulations puts tremendous pressure on updating all the disparate systems and services used by a company. 

What to do? 

Companies need to declare an owner of the employee information repository and the rules for which groups have access to what parts of the repository data. This reduces the cost complexity of maintaining the information and can enable the ROI of applications that are important but hard to justify – such as an employee mass notification system. 

Technically, implementing a hybrid integration layer (HIL) that consolidates data and applies dynamic transformations and security policies provides the basic infrastructure needed to put the company policies and processes into operation. An effective implementation includes connectors to all the systems used by HR, IT, finance, and any other group using the employee information. It also should provide the capability for employees to review and update their own information, while also enabling others within the company to securely and privately access data to enable better collaboration and information sharing across the company.