How Home Partners Protect their Devices and their Data with Prey

Home Partners is a visionary business focused on facilitating home ownership through innovative lease programs, learn how Prey helped them secure their data and their devices.

May 20, 2024

Home Partners is a visionary business focused on facilitating home ownership through innovative lease programs, providing stability for renters with a reliable path toward owning a home. Supporting operations that stretch across 100 vendors, their IT department plays a crucial role in ensuring seamless service delivery and operational efficiency.

Leading the IT department is Joe Langreck, a dedicated professional who has climbed the ranks to become the IT Director. Under his leadership, the department has embraced advanced solutions, like Prey, to enhance device security and tracking. This is essential for managing the substantial digital assets that are integral to their business operations

Context: Seeking a tool for data protection in case of lost or misplaced devices

Home Partners manages close to 700 devices across various locations, including the United States (specifically the Chicagoland area and Texas), as well as outsourced teams in the Philippines and China. The company has experienced significant growth, expanding from around 180 employees to nearly 1000, including both onshore and offshore teams.

As the company grew and deployed more devices, the risk of mismanagement and loss increased, highlighting the need for a scalable security system to protect its expanding float of endpoints.

Joe and his team began searching for a robust device tracking and data protection solution after experiencing repeated incidents where multiple devices were not returned after employees left the company. They wanted a system that could instantly protect and manage data and hardware, ensuring such losses wouldn't compromise their operational integrity.

"When we lend out a computer, we expect to receive it back when the loan period ends. However, retrieving computers from terminated individuals can be challenging. To streamline the process, we have a predetermined deadline. If the computer is not returned by then, we utilize the wipe command through Prey, which is a convenient feature.”

Discovering Prey: A tool that ensures both device security and data security

The adoption journey of Prey began with a colleague's recommendation from a company where Joe had previously worked. Impressed by its cost-effectiveness and range of functionalities, he found Prey to be the perfect solution for their needs.

Here are the features that Joe likes about Prey:

  • Automation: The ability to automate tasks such as locking devices, providing convenience and efficiency in managing device security.
  • Mass Actions: Capability to perform mass actions like pushing updates or messages across multiple devices simultaneously, enhancing operational efficiency and communication.
  • Precise locating and Locking Devices: The functionality to locate devices when needed, such as in cases of theft, provides ease of mind.
  • Remote lock: The ability to remotely lock a device in case of theft provides security and control over the devices and their data.
  • Data wipe: Being able to wipe the critical information a device contains remotely ensures that the information it contains can stay safe even if it can’t be recovered.
  • Remote encryption: Joe also likes to be able to encrypt devices remotely.

Besides these key functionalities, Joe and his team at Home Partners discovered Prey could provide crucial information like the Wi-Fi network the device was using, which quickly helped identify its location. He also praised Prey's inventory feature, which provided detailed hardware specifications, thereby reducing time-consuming inquiries to end users or searches through other systems.

“The reports provided by Prey are quite valuable. They offer location information, details about the Wi-Fi network the device is connected to, and user login information, which is all very helpful. With the IP address provided, we've even managed to narrow down the location of missing computers further. Additionally, the inventory feature, which lists details like the machine's specifications (RAM, etc.), is handy and eliminates the need to contact the end user or check other systems for this information.”

The benefits: Prey as a tool to scale data security for more than 1000 devices in several locations

At Home Partners, Prey is primarily used to retrieve devices or protect the data they contain when recovery isn't possible. Given the incidents involving misplaced or stolen devices, this technology has proven indispensable. It provides the team with the tools needed to act swiftly and decisively in protecting their resources.

When employees depart the company, Home Partners now uses Prey's capabilities to lock and wipe machines, ensuring that sensitive data remains secure and proprietary information is retained in-house. This procedure has become standard practice to manage the risk of data exposure and to maintain control over the company’s digital assets.

"Our main benefits are the ability to recover stolen or lost equipment and ensuring compliance, especially regarding data wiping in case of employee misconduct or departure. These are our two biggest benefits.”

A nice story to wrap up: How Prey helped Home Partners solve a crime

The partnership between Home Partners and Prey has proven invaluable, particularly in challenging situations.

"About three years ago, we had an incident at our Texas office where someone entered the premises in a distressed state, apologizing for a recent break-in at their apartment. They explained that their apartment had been burglarized over the weekend, with the thief smashing a window and stealing various items, including a partner's laptop.”

Prey's device tracking capabilities once enabled the IT department to assist in a criminal investigation, successfully locating a stolen device and identifying the perpetrator.

"We sympathized with their situation and assured them that we would mark the laptop as missing to track its whereabouts. True to form, within a day, we started receiving notifications containing the device's location and other details. It turned out that the culprit was the woman's ex-boyfriend, whom she had suspected but couldn't prove. With the geolocation provided by Prey, we were able to assist the police in apprehending him, leading to the recovery of our equipment."

Moreover, Prey provides a reliable safety net when internal communication lapses occur, such as delays in notifying the IT team about employee departures. In these scenarios, Prey's swift activation ensures that sensitive data and devices are secured immediately, mitigating potential risks and reinforcing the integrity of Home Partners' operational framework. This adaptability and responsiveness are key reasons why Prey remains an essential tool for the company.

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