Tools to safeguard laptops have come a long way. With an increase in cyber-attacks, portable devices such as laptops can be a great attraction to criminals. They want the data stored as much if not more than the resale value of the hardware. According to one study, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. A quick internet search will provide links to instructions and purchase options for the tips below.
1. Auto-lock your laptop with a password
If you aren’t using the built in feature of a password on your laptop, you should take a few minutes to activate it. It is simple and may make it harder for an unauthorized person to access your data. If you have a wipe feature (see Tip 6 below), a password increases your chances of having time to delete sensitive data before it is illegally accessed.
2. Back up to a separate storage location
Make sure you have your data backed up to another location – either a portable hard drive or a cloud service. You should think about interim backups as well as a full back-up at least monthly.
3. Encrypt your files
Be sure that your sensitive files are encrypted. Files on your hard drive as well as any sensitive files on any portable storage devices you use should be encrypted. Portable storage devices include USB flash drives and portable hard drives. Think about keeping your portable devices separate from your laptop case. Then if you laptop case is stolen or lost, you will still have your portable storage devices with your data.
4. Store software registration numbers separately
If you have software that has a registration number, store the number separate from the laptop so you can reinstall the software on a different laptop or computer. It is helpful to keep the purchase date and merchant name also.
5. Use a laptop security lock
Laptops can easily be stolen from many places when unattended. Consider a simple but effective lock for your laptop. The cable and lock approach is a good option. You can also get security alarms for your laptop that go off if the cable is cut.
6. Use remote tracking or wipe software
Investigate software that allows you, or a designated person such as an administrative assistant or Human Resources employee, to remotely track the location of your laptop. Depending on the software service used, the laptop can be wiped of all data. And since you backed up your data, you can later reinstall if the laptop is found and returned to you.
7. Never, ever leave the laptop unattended in public places (or the car)
Many crimes occur because the opportunity arises. Leaving a laptop in a public place unattended, including your favorite coffee place, or in a car, is an invitation to a criminal to steal. Don’t make it easy for the theft of your laptop. Keep it with you or physically locked to reduce the chance of theft.
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