Fellow PTB blogger J. Angelo Racoma writes in Forever Geek about laptop theft. Unfortunately, the original artcle gave all the tips but didn’t specify the tools. So consider this an addendum to two already excellent articles…
I’d say there are three major heartbreakers if you lose your laptop: you lose an expensive piece of equipment, you lose valuable data, and you risk that your confidential data will be compromised.
The most effective, the simplest, and perhaps the most overlooked tool to prevent laptop theft is the laptop cable lock. Always keep the cable lock with your laptop bag. Use it whenever you have to leave the laptop unattended. It doesn’t matter if you leave it for just a few minutes, in a secure office, in a hotel room, in your car, LOCK IT. A few minutes can save you thousands of bucks.
But disasters do happen. If you lose your laptop, you lose valuable data that can be expensive, if not impossible, to recreate. Imagine losing all your pictures, your downloaded music, your documents, your family videos. The solution, which again is simple but is often overlooked, is to backup your data. Backup solutions need not be expensive or complicated. I use a free software tool called Allway Sync, which can be used to synchronize your hard disk with a USB drive. It only copies the changed files so the syncing routine may not take too long. I have an old hard disk that is in those enclosures that allow you to hook it up to a USB drive, and when I get home I simply plug the drive into the USB port and sync.
But laptops can also contain confidential and sensitive information. I am sure you have heard the news of customer information that were compromised because of a lost laptop. As a further safeguard, it is wise to encrypt the data in your laptop. Fortunately, encryption need not be expensive nor complicated. The absolute, ultimately best tool for encryption is Truecrypt, which I had raved about in a previous post. This tool is simply amazing, completely intuitive, and almost transparent to the user. Every single laptop owner should have this tool if you are keeping confidential or sensitive information on your laptop.