Using your laptop to get work done away from your office or on the road is becoming widely accepted. But this rapid growth in laptop computing has made portable systems the target for theft around the world. If your laptop computer is stolen, company information can be exposed, as well as your personal and financial information.
Use these 9 tips to learn how you can keep your laptop more secure when you're on the road.
1. Avoid using computer bags
Computer bags can make it obvious that you're carrying a laptop. Instead, try toting your laptop in something more common like a padded briefcase or suitcase.
2. Never leave access numbers or passwords in your carrying case
Keeping your password with your laptop is like keeping the keys in the car. Without your password or important access numbers it will be more difficult for a thief to access your personal and corporate information.
3. Carry your laptop with you
Always take your laptop on the plane or train rather then checking it with your luggage. It's easy to lose luggage and it's just as easy to lose your laptop. If you're traveling by car, keep your laptop out of sight. For example, lock it in the trunk when you're not using it.
4. Encrypt your data
If someone should get your laptop and gain access to your files, encryption can give you another layer of protection. With Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 you can choose to encrypt files and folders. Then, even if someone gains access to an important file, they can't decrypt it and see your information. Learn more about how to encrypt your data with Windows XP, encrypt your data with Windows Vista, or encrypt your data with Windows 7.
5. Keep your eye on your laptop
When you go through airport security don't lose sight of your bag. Hold your bag until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector. Many bags look alike and yours can easily be lost in the shuffle.
6. Avoid setting your laptop on the floor
Putting your laptop on the floor is an easy way to forget or lose track of it. If you have to set it down, try to place it between your feet or against your leg (so you're always aware it's there).
7. Buy a laptop security device
If you need to leave your laptop in a room or at your desk, use a laptop security cable to securely attach it to a heavy chair, table, or desk. The cable makes it more difficult for someone to take your laptop. There are also programs that will report the location of a stolen laptop. They work when the laptop connects to the Internet, and can report the laptop's exact physical location. One such tracing program is ComputracePlus.
8. Use a screen guard
These guards help prevent people from peeking over your shoulder as you work on sensitive information in a public place. This is especially helpful when you're traveling or need to work in a crowded area. This screen guard from Secure-It is just one example of a screen guard you could use.
9. Try not to leave your laptop in your hotel room or with the front desk
Too many things have been lost in hotel rooms and may not be completely secure. If you must leave your laptop in your room, put the "do not disturb" sign on the door.
What to do if your laptop is stolen
- Change your network password to help secure access to corporate servers.
- Report the theft to local authorities (police, etc.) and to your company's IT department.
- If customer data was on the laptop, contact your account representative, legal representative, or appropriate person at your company so they can take the appropriate actions.