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Technology Safety Matters: Preventing Laptop Theft

Laptops and other small personal electronic devices are desirable items for thieves. They can easily be resold, and thieves can make a quick profit.

If your personal laptop is stolen, it may only affect you. But if your stolen laptop contains work information or is owned by the company you work for, your customers, your job and the security of your company could all be affected. Additionally, if your stolen laptop contains personal data of customers or prospects, your company faces fines and prosecution under the GDPR.

Use these tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of laptop theft and to keep your laptop (and all the data it contains) safe.

  • Use strong passwords, change passwords frequently and avoid setting up automatic sign-ins. This will make it more difficult for thieves to log on to your computer and access your personal information.
  • Do not write down your passwords. If you must write your passwords down, do not keep the list close to your laptop (for example, on a sticky note kept in your laptop bag).
  • Never leave your laptop in an unlocked car.
  • Never leave your laptop in plain sight in your locked car. Lock it in the boot and make sure no one sees you put it there.
  • Carry your laptop in something other than a laptop bag. This may seem unusual, but using a laptop bag makes it very obvious to thieves that you are carrying a laptop. Use something more inconspicuous, such as a rucksack or messenger bag.
  • Lock up your laptop with a security cable. Attach it to a desk or other heavy stationary object. This visual deterrent will make your laptop less appealing to a thief.
  • Always keep your laptop in your sight. Don’t leave a meeting or a conference room without your laptop—always bring it with you. You never know who could have access to that room, even if you’re only gone for a few minutes.
  • Be especially diligent when travelling—airports are a common place for laptop theft. Also, be careful in taxis, hotel rooms, restaurants and coffee shops.
  • Encrypt and back up data and information. The loss of important data and information would probably be more devastating than the physical loss of the laptop.

If your laptop is stolen, report it straight away. Tell police the make, model and serial number so a complete report can be filed and the chances of getting your laptop back are greater.

The content of this document is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. © 2010-2013, 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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