Monday, January 2, 2012, AM | 6 Comments
Your laptop has become your primary computer especially now that since 2008, the sale of laptops has exceeded that of desktops. So, it is more incumbent upon you to protect not only your data on it but the hardware as well. The following are some of the steps you can take to protect your laptop and more importantly your confidential data on it.
Keep the data confidential – locked
A laptop can be easily replaced. The time has come that its prices are almost at par with the desktops. Companies replace desktops and laptops all the time. That is not a big problem.The big problem is the potentially sensitive company data that can seriously hurt you, your business, or your clients and customers, if it falls into the wrong hands. Keep this in mind when you are traveling with all this corporate info under your arm.
There are software packages available that can protect your data with an “unbreakable” software lock.
Never, ever leave your laptop
At the airport or hotel business centers, always keep your laptop with you. Need to go to the bathroom? Just toss your laptop back into its case and bring it with you. Always keep your laptop in sight.
Lock your laptop when not in use
Hardware solutions, such as the Kensington keyed or combination locks, are a good preventative measure against opportunistic theft. Keep in mind, however, if a thief wants your notebook bad enough they will find a way to get it when you are not around, so a hardware lock should only be considered a deterrent.
Encrypt your data
If you are using Microsoft Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate, or Windows 7, the protection by encryption is available in them. It is called BitLocker. It can protect the data on the laptop if lost or stolen. Specifically, this data-protection tool makes files and folders inaccessible unless the user provides the right password or biometrics ID. Now is the best time as any to protect your data.
integrated biometrics solution
Many business laptops now include an integrated biometrics solution, therefore swiping your finger on a small sensor grants you – and only you – access to your important files and folders. For added security, many businesses have their mobile employees use both a fingerprint scan and password system to access data on the drive. A few third-party fingerprint scanners exist, such as USB-based models from Microsoft.
Secure your email
To send email while you are away from your office, always use your company’s secure network to send messages or files rather than relying on free Web-based e-mail programs which are more susceptible to cyber-snoopers.
Always be aware of fake wi-fi
You may be surprised but similar to e-mail programs with weak security, you should also be aware of fake Wi-Fi networks, which exist only for the purpose of stealing personal, financial and/or corporate data. While it might be tempting to log onto an free network when you are at a hotel or cafe, go with the trusted Wi-Fi networks instead, such as the hotel’s secured connection or one you have used before (such as an official T-Mobile HotSpot).
While it may be more convenient, don’t set your laptop’s browser to automatically log into websites. And if you do have passwords for websites, don’t save them in a text document on your laptop (this happens more often than you think!)
Always back up your data
It’s always a good idea to back up your important information on a regular basis, especially when you are on a mobile computer that can be stolen, lost or dropped. So keep a DVD-RW, USB drive, or memory card handy to continually backup your work every hour or two.
But be sure to encrypt the external media/drive, too, in case you leave your recordable disc or USB stick in the back of a taxi.
Disable the “Guest” account in Windows
Not only should you disable the “Guest” account in Windows, you should also be careful about your administrator password. Make it a long string of random numbers and letters, and change the word from Administrator to something else.
Consider an inexpensive screen guard so people beside you (such as on a plane) can’t read your typed words. Comfortable backpacks are a good alternative to laptop cases you might accidentally leave on an airport chair.
In a Nutshell
You must protect not only data but your laptop hardware as well. Now is the best time as any to protect your data.