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Protect Your Laptop and Your Information

Protect Your Laptop and Your Information


    

Protect Your Laptop and Your Information

by Andrew Verte

According to a study released by the Ponemon Institute, business travelers lose a truly shocking number of laptops at airports every week. About 12,000, by their count and according to the survey by the FBI 97% are never recovered.

This number is even more shocking when you consider that 65 percent of survey respondents indicated they were carrying confidential information - and they weren't taking any measures to protect that information. This is a lot of sensitive, unprotected information that may be up for grabs because someone got careless in the waiting area of an airport.

Remember the following prevention and mitigation tips before your next business trip.

Give yourself plenty of time at the airport. Pack lightly so that you are not overwhelmed by vast amounts of luggage and can keep a close watch on your laptop. Security checkpoints and gates are the two most common places that people lose their computer. Keep careful watch in both of these areas.

Encrypt and back up all of your important files. If you do lose your computer, this will minimize the risk that any confidential company information will be easily accessed by wrong people. With a backup you can quickly rebuild any files and minimize your downtime. Both Windows XP & Vista lets you encrypt folders and files. This is done by right clicking your data, select properties, open the general tab, then the advanced box, and finally check "Encrypt contents to secure data box".

Another safeguard is to use invisible ultraviolet markings so that any recovered stolen laptops will be clearly identifiable as yours to the police. Storing a copy of your laptop's serial number somewhere other than your laptop is also a good idea.

Be certain to set up a BIOS Password on your laptop. Although you can easily replace your hardware, your personal data may take months or years to get back so regularly backup your information.

If you do discover that you have lost your laptop, a theft-recovery system like a LoJack for Laptops can help. The system can automatically call in to the Monitoring Center once a day. You can increase the number of calls to the Monitoring Center if your computer is stolen. Your computer can check in with the Monitoring Center and they can initiate a data delete to remove sensitive information before the thief is able to access it.

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