Locking Down Laptops

Laptop and mobile security is part of any institution's physical computer security effort. For some people, a laptop is their travel buddy and losing it or any data on it would be disastrous to your institution as well as to the employee.

Even if you've heard some of these before, it never hurts to refresh your memory and protect your computer: - Store your laptop in a locked drawer, out of sight, when not using it. - If you use your laptop as your primary computer, secure it to your desk using a laptop security cable. - If you have to leave your laptop in your car, secure it with your cable, again around something solid like the steering wheel, child restraint bolt, spare tire, etc.

If you can, however, secure it out of sight in the trunk, or possibly under a seat, before you arrive at your destination. Thieves watch for people stashing their valuables in a trunk after parking. - While traveling keep your laptop with you at all times. Always have it in your carry-on luggage, not in your suitcase (this is better for your laptop anyway).

Don't use an obvious laptop bag, use one of the new laptop backpacks or a bag insert for your laptop. An obvious laptop bag can make you a target for thieves. - Never take your eyes off it! Don't lose visual contact of your laptop when going through security. Better yet, keep your hands on it until you have to walk through the metal detector, walk through the detector, and then immediately pick up your laptop. Many laptops look alike and can be swapped in an instant.

If your institution isn't already using cable locks or hasn't enacted a policy for proper security measures to be taken to secure laptops, including encryption, now would be a good time to bring this to the attention of your information security team.

About the Author

Linda McGlasson

Linda McGlasson

Managing Editor

Linda McGlasson is a seasoned writer and editor with 20 years of experience in writing for corporations, business publications and newspapers. She has worked in the Financial Services industry for more than 12 years. Most recently Linda headed information security awareness and training and the Computer Incident Response Team for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC), a subsidiary of the NYSE Group (NYX). As part of her role she developed infosec policy, developed new awareness testing and led the company's incident response team. In the last two years she's been involved with the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), editing its quarterly member newsletter and identifying speakers for member meetings.

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