7 Tips to Keep Your Laptop Secure While on the Road
Using your laptop while traveling has become a necessary part of working while on the road, but the increase in laptop usage has made it a target for theft. If your laptop is stolen, your company and personal information will be exposed. These 7 tips will help keep your laptop safe and secure while traveling.
1. Avoid using computer bags
You should avoid using laptop cases. They announce to the world that you are carrying a valuable piece of equipment with you. Instead, use something more common, such as a padded brief case or suitcase.
2. Get smart when it comes to password security
Just like your toothbrush, you should never share your laptop password and you should replace it often. Securing your laptop with complex passwords will make it difficult for a thief to access the information on your computer. A strong password is comprised of a variety of at least 14 characters – numbers, letters and symbols.
3. Carry your laptop with you
Always take your laptop with you on the plane or train rather than checking it with the rest of your luggage. This will prevent it from being damaged during transportation and allow you to keep your eye on it at all times. At airport checkpoints, you should keep your laptop bag with you until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector. Plus, you should keep your laptop in sight at all times, especially when you place it on the conveyer belt to be scanned. Don’t let it get lost in the shuffle, this way you can pick it up as soon as it emerges from the scanner. When you travel by car or bus, you should keep your laptop out of sight – in a suitcase or lock it in the trunk when you’re not using it.
4. Encrypt your data
Protect your data by simply encrypting your files with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. In addition, you should back up your important data on an external hard drive such as a flash drive. And, you should carry this in a separate place from your computer.
5. Avoid setting your laptop on the floor
Placing your laptop on the floor is an easy way to forget and lose it. If you have to set it down, keep it between your feet or against your leg, so that you’ll remember that it’s there.
6. Utilize screen guards
These guards will help prevent people from looking at the sensitive information on your computer screen when you’re in a public place. They are very helpful when you need to work in a crowded airport or train station.
7. Don’t leave your laptop anywhere unattended
The person at the coffee shop may seem nice and so might the front desk personnel at your hotel, but you shouldn’t leave your laptop—even for a minute. Either take it with you, leave it in your room with a do not disturb sign or use a cable to secure it to something heavy such as a table that is attached to the floor. This will make it difficult for someone to walk away with your computer. There are also computer-tracking systems that will report the exact location of your computer if it is stolen, but they only work when your laptop is connected to the internet.
If, even after taking these precautions, your laptop is stolen we also have some steps you can follow to minimize the consequences.
If your laptop is stolen
- Immediately change your network password to help prevent access to corporate servers.
- Notify your company’s IT department and report the theft to local authorities.
- If you have sensitive information on your computer such as your customer’s information, you need to inform the appropriate person at your company so that they can take actions.
- If your personal information was saved on your computer such as credit card information, bank pin numbers and other account information, you should contact the company to cancel, change your password or have them monitor the account.
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