Allow me to paint a scary picture for you. You’re on the road for work and answering some emails from a client at the airport. Then you get thirsty, but you see that there’s an overpriced drink stand just a few steps away and you make the sacrifice of spending $4.00 on a bottle of water. As you break out your wallet and pay up, you turn around to see that your laptop is gone! You only stepped away for about 60 seconds and were just a few steps away. However, a thief saw this as a window of opportunity, and took it.
Now you and your boss are freaking out about confidential company information potentially getting into the wrong hands. As the world starts to spin, you find yourself asking “how could this happen?”
Now, we can snap back to reality. In order to prevent this unruly situation from happening to you, check out the three quick tips below for increased laptop security while you’re on-the-go.
1. Physical Security
There are ways to lock your laptop down from outside of the machine. First, be sure that your laptop bag is always on your person, or that you use a padlock to keep the zipper securely closed. Most work benches at the airport have legs that you can easily secure the carry strap to. Or you can utilize a cable lock to secure it to something like a chair fastened to the ground or a building pillar.
Second, always keep a Kensington lock in your bag, and break it out every single time that you use your laptop in a public area. These are inexpensive, and you can always ask your IT provider if they have any spares. Trust me, if you’re showing initiative to protect company assets, your company will listen.
If you are in a hotel, a good way to keep your belongings safe is to put the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door. If that is posted, then the only foot traffic that should be in your room is your own. If something turns up missing and you and the Hotel are the only people with keys to your room, then this helps narrow down the search for the thief.
2. Software Security
I'm not talking about McAfee or Norton here, but something more along the lines of location software. Some examples of this may be Lojack for Laptops if you have a Windows machine, or Find My Mac if you are an Apple user. To help protect your information, these applications will setup passcodes that the thief will have to hack to bypass. Also, they can provide the location of your device if it’s missing or stolen.
3. Backup Solutions
If, in fact, your device does go missing, you know as well as I do that your work can’t be put on hold. It will continue to pile up – causing a mess of inconveniences – but the world doesn’t stop, even if your laptop is stolen. You need to be able to back up your most valuable data and recover it at a moment’s notice with a legitimate backup solution. And I'm not just talking about a file backup like Dropbox or Google Drive. A truly reliable backup solution allows for virtualizations of your laptop, so you can log in to this virtual copy of your machine and it’s just like you’re sitting in front of it again.
All in all, it’s important to practice safe tech habits wherever you are. Always lock your computer when you walk away from it. Here at the office, we call this “lock before you walk.” And be sure to secure your laptop in a desk drawer when you leave for the day, or take it with you. So, folks, be safe out there, and I hope these tips help in keeping your machines safe and protected while you’re on-the-go!