Top 10 Ways to Prevent Laptop Theft
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
Contributed by Cindi Pearce, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Your laptop is missing. It was sitting on that bench, right over there, a minute ago, but it’s gone.
You turned your back and it’s gone. IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD. Your laptop is the means by which you earn your living and keep in touch with your family and friends who live on the other side of the country. In panic, you look under the bench, although you can clearly see that there is nothing there. You look behind it, around in and then burst out into tears. It’s almost as bad as losing your kid. Okay, not remotely THAT bad, but it’s bad, really bad.
Terrible things can happen when the wrong person gets his hands on someone else’s computer. Breaches occur all the time and when this happens, confidential information, medical records and credit card numbers end up OUT THERE and up for grabs.
When a laptop is stolen from a businessperson a data breach can cost a company on average $268,000 in reporting expenses. Oooh, that hurts! A huge security breach can put some businesses completely out of business for good. The thought makes you cringe.
Here are the top 10 ways to prevent laptop theft (and save yourself from a minor (or major) breakdown and loss of income):
Use a typewriter. No takers? Just trying it out for size.
Instead of carrying your laptop in a regular laptop case put it in something that doesn’t advertise that you are carrying a laptop within. Try a messenger bag or military surplus bag instead.
8. Hide it
Don’t leave your laptop in your car in plain sight. Put it in the trunk. Do this discreetly.
7. What laptop?
Don’t use a computer. Yeah, THAT went over like a lead balloon.
6. Lock it up
Use hotel safes or cable locks when you are at a hotel, in a dorm room or working from a remote office.
5. Hang on to it
When you are standing in line at the airport, put your laptop computer back in its case and hold it between your feet for safe keeping. Don’t lean it up against your waiting lounge seat, or leave it on top of your pile of luggage. The airport is a great place to get your laptop ripped off.
4. ID tags
A company should put an identification tag on all of its equipment, including laptops. You must know what the serial number is on the piece of equipment. If you don’t, it’s impossible to track it. Keep track of purchase receipts in case you have to make an insurance claim.
3. Protect your data
Encrypt the information on your laptop and your USB hard discs and flash drives, which, apparently, is not very difficult to do if you use security tools that aren’t very costly. Regularly back up all of the information on your laptop. Use a flash drive or disc to do this but remember to encrypt these gadgets as well. Yeah, yeah, it’s a time suck and a pain in the butt, but you’re going to be seriously glad that you took the time to do it if your laptop comes up missing. Remember that security, despite encryption, is only as robust as your password. In other words, don’t use your name. Even though a thief doesn’t know your name, he can probably figure it out in short order. If you are a company owner insist that all company computers are encrypted.
2. Safeguard important info
If the laptop is yours, write down all the pertinent information, such as serial number, model number, brand, date of purchase, and anything else that is relevant the very first day that you get your computer. Store this information in a safe place. Remember where that safe place is. There is nothing quite as frustrating as knowing you have the information, but you can’t remember for the life of you where you put it for safekeeping.
1. Install tracking software
According to PC World you can purchase software that tracks your laptop, as well as recovery software that enables you to get your computer back if it is stolen. The tracking service hooks up periodically to a central server. If you lose your laptop this service can determine the location of your laptop on the Internet and call the police to go and recover it. Absolute Software says that its Computrace system will survive, even if the person who stole it reinstalls the operating system, reformats the hard drive or swaps it out. Now, that’s pretty remarkable and is well worth the investment, which is something along the lines of $50 a year. Heck, you spend THAT much on cappuccinos in a month!