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Posted by Chris Chase on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 in IT Blog

How to Prepare for Laptop Theft

We saw a statistic the other day that really boggled our minds. LoJack, a security firm that specializes in theft, estimates that two million laptops are stolen each year. That's about a one in ten chance that your laptop will fall into someone else's hands. What can you do to prevent that?

If you have stumbled upon this article and your laptop has just been stolen, you will want to take some immediate steps.

  1. Change your passwords on all of your accounts, starting with your email. Be sure to update passwords on bank accounts, social networks, instant messengers, ecommerce websites, and any other website or service you log into.
  2. File a police report and inform your company if the laptop is used for business.
  3. Monitor your bank accounts and put out a fraud alert.


If you are currently still in possession of your laptop, there are plenty of things you can do to help protect yourself and possibly get your laptop back in the event it is stolen.

Record the Model and Serial Numbers

This will help you when filing a police report in the event any electronic device is missing.

Security Cables

Most laptops have a slot for connecting a security cable that you can lock and secure your laptop. This is a cheap, yet reliable first defense. It isn't to say that an ambitious thief won't cut through the cable or destroy the desk that the laptop is affixed to. Think of this as the equivalent of locking a screen door - if they really want to they can bypass it.

Tag It

Apply a label to your devices with a toll-free number in the event the device is found. Sometimes a laptop might get picked up when found unattended but not by a theft, but an actual honest human being (they do exist!). Giving them the capability to contact you easily will ensure a swift return of your laptop. There are plenty of services that can help you facilitate this, such as www.boomerangit.com and www.trackitback.com.

Utilize Tracking Software

Advanced software can be installed on the laptop that is very difficult to detect by thieves, but can be used to locate, lock down, and recover your stolen device. Depending on the solution, the software can be a one-time cost per device or a yearly fee, but expect to only spend a fraction of the cost compared to actually having to purchase a new laptop and install all of the software (not even considering the cost of lost data). We've experienced a few different solutions for different needs, so contact us at 607.433.2200 if you want to implement antitheft software.

Encrypt your Data

Password protecting your laptop isn't enough - it doesn't take much technical prowess to crack the Windows User screen. There are numerous tools that can help you encrypt your data so without your password, the data can't even be read. Give us a call for this too, setting up data encryption is a fairly simple procedure that can protect your sensitive information effectively.

Back it up

Don't trust your laptop to be the only device that stores data. You should always have a backup solution and your laptop needs to be backed up to it. Data loss is more expensive in the long run than hardware theft. Save your data remotely, sync files to the cloud, or employ a remote backup solution that coincides with your company's current backup solution.

Common Sense

Just be careful! Keep your laptop by your side at all times, and don't just leave it in a conference room at an event. Don't leave a laptop sitting on the car seat in plain view in a parking lot. In airports, guard your laptop bag carefully. If your company issues laptops for employees, train and educate them on common sense and employ other precautions so in the event the device is stolen, your company can recover it and not risk data loss.

Looking to secure your company's data, hardware, and network? Give Directive a call at 607.433.2200 to talk about your business technology needs.

Chris is a Trusted I.T. Advisor, Computer Fanatic, Web, Graphics & Software Designer. He's also an Amateur Photographer and Filmmaker. Chris lives with his wife Charlotte and their 2 sons in Upstate NY.

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