Recently, I was listening to someone’s tale of woe regarding their lost–or stolen–laptop. We’ve all got where we take our laptops, iPods, Kindles, etc. for granted. We treat them as if they’re no more valuable than a Bic pen or a scratch pad. Of course, that’s not the case. Perhaps we need to be more cognizant of securing our valuable electronics.
Last year Dell issued the results of a study conducted by them and the Ponemon Institute during the first 6 months of 2008 on business travel and laptops. The results were shocking in that they found nearly 12,000 laptops were lost in U. S. Airports every week.
Of these lost laptops, almost 70 percent were never found. Where were most laptops lost? At the good old security checkpoints. (Gee, I always worry about walking off without my shoes!)
Unfortunately, more than 50 percent of business travelers carry private corporate info on their laptops yet 65 percent of users who do this do not taken any steps to secure it when traveling. Oh, and get this. About 42 percent of those surveyed said they don’t back up data.
Some Security Rules
Good security practices are usually just a matter of common sense.
1. Just like your carry on luggage, don’t leave your laptop alone for even a minute.
2. Make it more secure by installing a security cable to physically attach the laptop to your person. You can buy them online or in stores.
3. You can even LoJack your Laptop. Just Google that keyword phrase to find out more.
4. Don’t carry private financial information or other data that you want to keep safe on the hard drive of a laptop you travel with. Just like you don’t carry all your credit cards when you travel, don’t carry all your private information.
5. Use complicated passwords of at least 7 characters: upper and lower case letters and numbers. Be sure to write down the password so you won’t forget it.
6. For heaven’s sake, backup your data. Multi-gig Flash drives are cheap and easy to use. There are lots of choices for making backup copies of your entire hard drive. Choose one and consistently use it.
7. Don’t hang out in suspicious WiFi’s just because they’re free. You get what you pay for, and some WiFi’s may give you more than you want like some neat little worms and viruses.
8. Just like we tell our kids: be aware of what’s going on around you. If someone seems too interested in you and what you’re carrying, keep your guard up.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure even when it comes to securing your laptop and other electronic gadgets.