May 25, 2017
For many business, laptop computers and notebooks are crucial to remaining competitive, getting work done away from the office and transporting data.
But this has opened up a Pandora’s Box of security problems, including theft and the possibility that your company’s financial and other information will fall into the wrong hands.
To help keep a lid on the box, instruct your employees on these 14 basic loss-prevention techniques:
1. Keep your laptop in a nondescript case. It should never look as though you’re carrying a computer. However, make sure the case protects against bumps, drops, rain and other damaging factors.
2. Carry your laptop with you at all times and do not check it with your luggage if you are traveling by train or plane. When you go through airport security, hold the bag until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector. Then take the laptop out of the case and hand it to the guard before walking through.
3. If you travel by car, keep the laptop out of sight, but don’t put it in the trunk unless there is no other alternative. Thieves assume valuables are in a trunk and that’s often the first place they look.
4. Secure your laptop in the hotel safe when it is not in use. (You might want to call ahead and make sure the hotel safe is large enough to store it.) Keep in mind that when the maid is cleaning your room, anyone could walk in unnoticed and take the computer. If you must leave it in your room unattended, take the removable storage disk with you.
5. Be aware of your surroundings. When attending meetings, secure the laptop during breaks. Make sure the doors are locked and take notice of the various ways to enter the room. If you are unsure, take your laptop with you.
6. Store files on a removable CD, DVD or flash drive that plugs into the computer’s USB port.
7. Engrave or permanently mark the computer with ID information.
At the Office
A laptop’s portability also makes it a security risk even in your own office, where you should:
8. Secure the computer when you aren’t using it.
9. Lock it up or take it with your when you go to lunch or a meeting, or use a laptop security cable;
10. Keep a record of the make, model, and serial number.
If your laptop is not insured, check into buying a policy that provides coverage in the event of theft, accidental damage, vandalism and other losses. However, the value of the information on your laptop computer is often much greater than the cost of the equipment itself. That information can include bank account details, credit card information and Social Security numbers, as well as confidential company data such as salaries, new product plans, customer lists, pricing models and finances. Even worse, stored passwords may enable thieves to hack into your company’s network.
To help minimize the risk, take these steps:
11. Backup data regularly so that you won’t lose valuable documents in the event of a theft or an equipment failure.
12. Minimize the amount of proprietary data or intellectual property you store on your laptop’s hard drive.
13. Encrypt data stored on the hard drive.
14. Develop a two-tiered password system.
When issuing laptops to employees, make sure they realize how much the company could lose if the equipment is misplaced or stolen.