With all of us starting to travel a little more for work – and many of us enjoying the prospect of leaving our 4 walls and the Zoom meetings behind! – it is essential we take steps to ensure our laptops, mobile devices and data remain just as secure as they have been at home.
According to the technology research firm Gartner, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds.
The price of replacing a stolen laptop can run into £1000’s when you consider the expense of new equipment, as well as the cost of downtime, support and management time.
If the theft of the laptop results in a data breach involving sensitive third-party information, the cost to a company can be even more damaging & potentially crippling.
So how do you go about best protecting your laptop – and company data – when on the road?
Before you even leave the office, it’s best to plan ahead and consider these 7 essential security measures.
1. CHECK YOUR INSURANCE
First things first – before taking your laptop out of your office or home do ensure that it is covered by an effective insurance policy.
Not all policies cover your laptop and mobile devices so it’s definitely worth checking, and even fewer cover your data…which leads us onto…
2. PROTECT YOUR DEVICE AGAINST CYBER ATTACKS
Make sure all of your devices are protected by a rigorous anti-malware security solution and ensure that these are updated as regularly as possible.
These filters will help keep most spurious emails at bay but occasionally some sneak through so it is always worth familiarising yourself with the tell-tale signs of spam messages.
3. ENCRYPT YOUR DATA
Any device which travels beyond the four walls of the secure office and network which contains sensitive data (or has the means of accessing sensitive data) should be encrypted.
Without encryption, accessing the data contained on a USB stick or drive is a simple exercise in plug-and-play. Accessing the data on a lost (or stolen) laptop is comparatively straight forward and resetting passwords on a Windows device requires just a little knowledge and some specific tools to gain full access without even removing the drive.
If a lost device contained sensitive company information, a route into the network, a list of passwords, etc. the potential damage to a company or individual reaches far beyond the concerns of a lost laptop.
4. BE CAUTIOUS WHEN USING PUBLIC WI-FI
Data sent through public Wi-Fi can easily be intercepted. If your device or computer is not protected by an effective security and anti-malware product, you could be risking the security of your personal information, digital identity and money.
Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi and, if you do need to access any websites that store or require the input of any sensitive information, including social media, online shopping and online banking sites, it’s a good idea to access them via your mobile phone network, instead of the public Wi-Fi connection.
5. HAVE A BACKUP SOLUTION
Your journey will give you plenty of opportunities to have a disaster, whether it be spilling your coffee over your keyboard, a disk crash or theft.
It is therefore advisable to back up every piece of essential data. This could simply be an encrypted USB stick or an appropriate online service, such as DropBox or Google Docs, which allow you to store and access information through the Cloud.
6. INSTALL REMOTE WIPE SOFTWARE
There are several solutions available which provide a range of features allowing you to trace gadgets, as well as remotely secure or delete data.
This can be very useful if the laptop is stolen to ensure all data is permanently erased and therefore inaccessible.
7. SECURE YOUR LAPTOPS & DEVICES
So, when you’re finally out-and-about with your laptop, it is of course at higher risk of being misplaced or stolen.
Preventing the snatch and run approach is your first line of defence. Always ensure your laptop is in sight at all times, or use a purpose built laptop lock to secure it to the table or yourself. It’s also possibly to buy proximity alarms which emit a loud noise if your bag is moved beyond a certain range.
When your laptop’s not in use, it is obviously best to keep it locked away.
BE AWARE however that, even if your laptop is in a locked vehicle, if it remains powered on the Bluetooth connection can be discoverable which then becomes an indicator to thieves.
So, wherever possible, it’s good advice to always keep laptops and devices that are left in vehicles out of sight (obviously!) AND powered off.
Just in case of theft or loss, we would suggest there is always a spare office laptop set up to enable you or your unlucky team member to be back up & running without delay.
If you have any queries about the above or would like further advice on any of the security measures mentioned, do email us on email@example.com or call 0118 9767111.