Laptop theft has become very common. It is estimated that over half a million laptops are stolen every year, not to talk about the financial losses which run into millions of dollars. It is not just about losing the physical machine – you also lose the information stored on it which at times could have irreplaceable commercial value. Here are a few basic precautions you can take to protect both your intellectual and physical property.
- When traveling, make sure you keep your belongings in sight at all times. This may sound too elementary, but the fact is this is the reason for most people losing their laptops.
- Similarly, while going for conferences and meetings, keep your laptop in view at all times. If you do have to leave it, ask a colleague/friend to watch it for you.
- Always keep a good laptop lock in your laptop case. If ever you have to leave your laptop alone, you can lock it up to your table or any such stuff. But remember that a lock is only a lock and can be picked or the chain cut.
- If you have to leave your laptop in your car, keep it in the boot or keep it covered – even covering it with a newspaper will serve the purpose.
- Do not use flashy cases to carry your laptop – make it as inconspicuous as you possibly can.
None of the above are fool-proof methods. So here are a few things you can do to give you some peace if ever you find that your laptop has been stolen or lost.
- Make sure that you have an external backup device and get into the habit of taking regular backups of important data.
- Consider storing your sensitive data in a pen drive. Needless to say, ensure that you keep your pen drive safe.( No tips for that !!)
- Most leading manufacturer let you register the laptop with them. This will help in recovery if a stolen laptop is returned for servicing or repair.
- There are tracking softwares available like ComputracePlus or zTrace which can help you track your stolen laptop as soon as they are connected to the internet. The software operates in stealth mode, sending information using which help police or security agencies to track down the location from where the laptop was used.
I have only listed some of the basic precautions for the safety of your laptop. At the system level there are more things you can do to ensure the security of your information stored in your laptop. We will discuss that some other time.