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Handy advice for protecting laptops from theft

Absolute Software : 25 June, 2008  (Technical Article)
Mobile security experts, Absolute Software, offer tips on prevention laptop theft from the office or when out on the road
How many laptops and files containing sensitive data will go missing this week? When a laptop is stolen, the data stored on it can very easily fall into the wrong hands, exposing sensitive information such as customer details.

While the cost of laptops has decreased, the value of the data stored on them has become increasingly valuable due to the rising number of mobile workers. The average laptop contains data and files valued at more than £550,000, and as much as £5 million pounds for those containing particularly sensitive information. So it is both logical and responsible to ensure that this data is protected.

Absolute Software, the leading provider of patented computer theft recovery, data protection and Secure Asset Tracking solution, ComputraceOne, can delete data and confidential files on stolen laptops remotely and recovers thousands of missing devices across the globe annually. Its customers include the Swiss Football Association, De Beers, and numerous financial institutions and government departments.

The company has tracked and recovered laptops to locations including Argentina, India and Saudi Arabia. It also has remotely deleted hundreds of thousands of documents contained on stolen computers, sparing companies the hefty fines that unprotected organisations have incurred.

Absolute offers some advice on how to avoid becoming the next data loss headline:

1 Visual deterrents - A laptop in the office environment should be secured with a lock or put into a secure locker when not in use. An opportunistic burglar could be put off by a lock as they have only a small window of time to get out before they are discovered.

2 Don't make it obvious you are carrying a laptop - Rather that a tell-tale laptop bag, laptops should be carried in inconspicuous bags, such as backpacks or tote bags.

3 Avoid leaving laptops unattended - Lock them in cupboards or other secure facilities when not being used. If they must be left in a car, they should be covered up or locked in the boot.

4 Discourage theft by publicising the use of security products such as asset tracking software - If thieves think that they might be caught, they will be less likely to take it in the first place.

5 Add identification to your laptop - For example, adding barcodes or engraving details onto the device will act as a deterrent. Thieves usually steal laptops to immediately sell them on. Obvious identification makes it a less desirable target.

6 When flying, never check your laptop in as luggage - Laptops should be taken onto a plane as hand luggage. Be aware of thieves swapping briefcases coming out of the x-ray machine at security.

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