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Tips on protecting your laptops

By: Rex Inego | Sep 20, 2011 09:01 AM

Laptops as you know, is quite popular nowadays. It is highly portable and offers the same functions as a desktop, also running on same software, sometimes. Being easily portable, you are able to connect to the internet using the laptop, as well as use it for your work, even while travelling. Hence, it is equally useful and valuable for those who have to be in touch with while in travel and for also the thieves. This article gives you the tips on how to prevent the laptops from getting stolen. We can also see how to save the data, in case it does get stolen. How much is the laptop worth? Instances where your laptops get stolen, while you are busy elsewhere is a common enough occurrence, mostly with those who have some important or sensitive information stored in it. Most people are not that careful and often may leave their laptops, unguarded at some public place, where it is easy to get stolen. In the meantime, if we look at the Computer Security Institute survey reports of about 520 experts of security, we would know that computer crimes were on the rise, led by virus threat, at the peak, followed by laptop thefts. At the same time, one Safeware Insurance Group claims that if we see the year 2000, the number of notebook pc theft was up at 387,000units, showing a rise of nearly 20% from the 1999 estimate of 319,000 units. On the other hand, about 57% of the businesses had to suffer loss, due to the theft of computer equipment in the year 2000. If this was the situation almost 10 years back, one can easily imagine what the situation today is. In short, laptop theft has only increased drastically. It is not necessary that all the thefts were an attempt to get the vital data stored in it. Some are stolen, so as to get the money they could from selling it or going to a pawn shop and such. Nevertheless, if we look at the casual reviews conducted by vice president and information security research director, at a market researcher Gartner Group, William Mallik, then we find that around 10% to 15% of these laptops were stolen, mainly in an attempt to get hold of the confidential information in it and sell it. One example can be stated on the theft of the laptop of Irwin Jacobs, the CEO at Qualcomm, where the hardware cost was about GBP 2550, while the confidential data in it was worth millions. How to protect your laptop? Let us see some tips on how prevent laptop theft. First, you could make use of a security cable for your laptop, so that you could secure it to some steady object, thus discouraging theft. For this, confirm that your laptop has a Universal Security Slot (USS)? It is believed that mostly about 80% of the laptops, brought out recently can accommodate the security cable, attaching it to the laptop chassis. In case, the laptop does not feature a USS, then make sure the cable has some adhesive pad in it, thus enabling you to fix the cord to it. It is better to use, at least one of this. Cable as well as the lock should be pretty durable. For this reason most may opt for the tubular cylindrical locks, in opposition to tumbler locks as most of the thieves may find it difficult to pick it. Disadvantages of cables Laptop cable can also prove insufficient, at times. For example, let us assume that some company had warnings of laptop theft in their area, so they opted for security cables to secure their laptops. Despite this, the laptops were stolen, without the cables being cut. The thieves had opted to attack the desks, in the stead to steal the laptops. This caused a lot of damage for the company, resulting from data and laptop loss, in addition to the damage of the various desks and work stations. Another loss that can occur, even with security cable on, is the inability to access the network, due to the loss of their network cards from their PCMCIA slot, or even some other problem with the external CD-ROMs. Second, you could use laptop safes. A company, Paradise Systems has come out with a Car-Safe, made to protect the valuables, at the time that it is being put in storage or transported via the vehicle trunk. In the meantime, another portable safe that can be easily connected to any work surface such as Anchor pad Sentry is also introduced by the company Anchor pad Security. This ensures that not just the laptop or pc, but the network cards and other accessories also are safe. Another aspect to look at is that in case, laptops are kept overnight at office, then you could opt for a laptop computer strong box. Third, opt for motion sensors and alarms. You can now find compatible alarms, apt for portable computers. These alarms, in the meantime will have similar signalling mechanism, even as the triggering mechanism is unique and different. The Track IT Corporation comes out with device, which could also provide the “utmost separation zone” around the user and the laptop, thus making sure that the alarm will make noise in the instance, that the user moves away from the range of the device, or vice versa. The user would have to move back to range, to terminate the alarm. In case of any attempted theft, the alarm will sound. It is normally used in busy or crowded regions like the airports and train stations, where it is otherwise, quite difficult to track the stolen device. Factors that could affect this device, in the meantime includes the limits of the signal strengths, the expected impediment from the environment covering the metal beams, other radio sources, electromagnetic sources and such. Other alarms to be used are once that rings, only if the device that it is connected to is moved. Once you get back the stolen object, you could disable or reset the alarm by entering a three digit code. Another option to go for is anti- theft PCMCIA Card by Caveo. Using this you could track down, where the device is placed. Once, it is activated and if the laptop is moved away from its protected area, then you can hear alarm, as well, Caveo will also close the system, not allowing it to boot, without the apt verification. Your encrypted documents will also have secure keys. Featured anti-theft cards normally have motion sensors that record the position of your system. With the help of this, you can also make use of an authentication code to activate the alarm. You can also opt for certain other solution, such as to keep the laptop safe, away from sight; make sure that your laptop case does not attract attention; ensure that it is kept quite close to you; label the laptop and accessories, also making sure that the label is visible, thus ensuring that the thief can be caught midst of his job. Make sure that the employee, whoever handles the laptop, should be held responsible for the loss of the device, also may be asked to replace it. The rules of the employee responsibility and liability are expected to be different for each company. It is also necessary that each company makes all its employees to sign this policy, during the time that they take along the portable laptop from the office, during their travel, thus making them accountable for the protection in addition to replacing the device, if required.




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