Aug 04, 2022 by Team HiddenApp

Laptop Theft Protection: Tips To Keep Your Devices Secure

Laptop Theft Protection: Tips To Keep Your Devices Secure

You'll know that prevention is better than cure. Learn how to proactively protect your devices and data from theft and loss with these simple tips.

Are you wondering how to secure your laptop from theft? No matter whether it’s a personal or company-issued device, losing a laptop can be a very costly experience. Research reveals that a laptop is lost every 53 seconds in the US alone, while 86% of IT teams have had someone in their organization report a laptop theft.

Not only does the loss of your IT equipment incur a financial cost, but it also disrupts your operations and negatively impacts company productivity, not to mention the possibility of having to deal with a major data breach that could have far-reaching consequences. That’s why laptop anti-theft protection and mitigation are essential for every organization, but how do you keep your devices safe? We thought we’d take a look at how to secure a laptop against theft and loss…

Make laptop anti-theft protection integral to your security policy

Laptop theft prevention should be a key priority for every organization. That’s why it’s crucial that you’re setting out clear guidelines on how your users can keep their devices safe as well as what they should do when they either mislay their laptop or it’s stolen from them.

When developing a guide on how to secure a laptop from theft, the main focus should be on physical security. One of the primary points should be ensuring that all devices are stored correctly. For example, leaving them in open view in a vehicle or unattended while out in public at a café can make them highly appealing to potential thieves. That’s why it’s vital that all laptops are kept out of sight or ideally locked away when not in use.

Of course, it’s not only about where you leave your laptop. Using a laptop bag can immediately make it obvious to thieves that you’re carrying something valuable. Utilizing a nondescript bag or briefcase to carry one’s laptop, can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to criminal intent.

If your laptops are going to be storing highly confidential information, then it might also be worth investing in laptop anti-theft training to help staff become more aware of their surroundings. This can help to reduce the risk of laptop theft as well as the likelihood of simply forgetting the laptop somewhere.

Of course, even with the best training and practices in place, it’s still possible to face laptop theft. That’s why when it comes to understanding how to protect your laptop from theft, it’s vital that there’s a clear procedure in place for when this occurs. A company laptop policy should clearly outline exactly what each employee needs to do should they lose their laptop.

Speed is of the essence when it comes to a company laptop policy, and the sooner your IT team can take action, the less the risk of thieves gaining access to sensitive data. Alongside reporting the theft to the IT department, it’s also vital that employees know that they need to also report the laptop theft to the police and any insurance providers. The exact steps that they need to take should be outlined clearly in the organization’s laptop policy.

Tips for laptop theft protection

While having clear procedures and policies are essential, when it comes to laptop theft prevention, there are many steps that you can take to protect the device itself. The first is ensuring that you have an asset register or inventory system in place, whether it’s an MDM, an excel spreadsheet, or a dedicated fleet security solution like HiddenApp. This will ensure that you always know which members of staff have which devices.

However, there are also a number of physical actions that you can take on each device to help decrease the chances of laptop theft and increase the likelihood of recovery should it occur:

Mark each device
One of the best ways to deter criminals is to physically mark your laptops with identifiable engravings or etchings. These could be anything from your organization’s name and logo to the address of your office, but the more prominent they are, the less likely thieves will target them as they’re harder to resell. Apple will often engrave their devices for free, while there are also many other local retailers who can do this for you.

Stickers can also work in this same way; however, they’re easier to remove, making it harder to identify your laptop.

Do you need to upgrade?
While it can always be nice to upgrade to the latest device, this can make you far more appealing to thieves. Older models are far less attractive, so if you do not need to upgrade for functional reasons and your existing products are working, then consider keeping them for longer.

Register the device
Another top tip for laptop theft protection is to ensure that you write down the serial number and register the device with the manufacturer. In the event of laptop theft, you will then be able to report this to the manufacturer and law enforcement; it can then be entered into the stolen device database to help increase the chances of recovery.

Add your contact details
One area of laptop theft protection that is sometimes overlooked is adding contact details to the device. This should include the physical address of your office, email address, and telephone number, ideally on an unremovable security sticker. This will not only deter thieves, but it can also help to aid with recovery.

Utilize laptop anti-theft hardware and accessories

Laptop theft is a major business for criminals, with a survey by the Computer Security Institute and FBI finding that, on average, the theft of a laptop costs businesses over $31,000. That is why anti-theft hardware, software and accessories are quickly growing in popularity.

The market is packed with an array of products, but one of the most effective is anti-theft backpacks. These are a must-have accessory for anyone commuting or regularly traveling around with their laptop.

How do anti-theft laptop bags work, though? While no backpack or bag is completely able to protect the contents from theft, they’re designed to make things as difficult as possible for thieves, discouraging them from targeting the user.

Most typically, thieves will either try a clumsy attempt to grab the bag from you and run away or will try to cut the strap before running away. They might also try to discreetly unzip the bag and remove the contents without you realizing. Anti-theft laptop bags utilize cut-proof materials to prevent the bag straps from being slashed, while many will also feature locking cables so the bag can be locked to things such as chairs, preventing thieves from being able to get away with the device.

Anti-theft laptop backpacks will also feature hidden zips that can be locked, preventing them from being able to unzip the contents or easily access the belongings. Criminals are always looking for the easiest targets, so utilizing these features can be a major deterrent that can help to reduce the risk of laptop theft.

Of course, alongside anti-theft laptop bags, there is a range of additional accessories such as laptop anti-theft cables and locks. These are a great way to ensure that devices are protected whenever they’re in public, allowing users to securely lock their machines and prevent thieves from running off with them.

One of the most popular types of laptop anti-theft lock is a Kensington lock. Almost all laptops come with a compatible lock hole, allowing users to securely attach the device to a table leg, chair, or any other more permanent structure.

Make sure to protect your data

While the physical loss of your property can be a costly exercise, it’s the data contained within that can be a lot more valuable. That’s why securing your information is a critical part of laptop theft prevention.

There are many methods of protecting your data, with some of the most effective including:

Data encryption
One of the first things that you should do is to ensure that all of your data is encrypted. This is the process of encoding your information to prevent it from being accessed or read by unauthorized users.

This is a relatively simple process, and any IT department will be able to ensure all information is secure. Alongside protecting client information, encrypting your information will also be able to help prevent ID theft of your team.

Backup your data
One of the most frustrating aspects of laptop theft is losing access to valuable information. That’s why another aspect of prevention is to ensure that you have a robust backup process in place.

You want to ensure that all data is being automatically backed up and synced with the cloud, ensuring it remains accessible even if a device has been stolen. This ensures that businesses do not have to face costly operational downtime while systems are restored.

Incorporate strong password practices
An incredible 67% of Americans use the same password for all of their devices. This is why it is important that users understand the importance of regularly changing their information and using unique password solutions for each system.

Utilizing a password manager and enabling Two Factor Authentication (2FA) will help bolster security even further, making it significantly tougher for criminals to gain access to your laptop and its files.

Incorporate authentication processes
When it comes to understanding how to protect your laptop from theft, authentication processes are a fantastic way to reduce laptop theft. Biometrics is an increasingly effective method of preventing criminals from accessing your systems and devices.

Businesses should also ensure that users are always logging out of each device when not in use.

Don’t save financial information
While it can be tempting to store credit card information on your device to save time when making online purchases, this can quickly allow criminals to gain access to your financial information.

Consider insuring your devices and data

Laptops can be a very expensive investment for any organization, which means that when they go missing, it can be a financially costly process. That’s why you may want to consider taking out laptop theft insurance on every device. This is a tried and tested method of financial loss mitigation, allowing individuals and businesses to protect themselves against incurring a loss from laptop theft.

Of course, it’s not just about the physical loss. For businesses dealing with confidential information and data, it may be worthwhile to take out data insurance to protect your operations in the event of thieves using this information for criminal activities.

Make sure to install an anti-theft recovery software

Alongside the physical locks and protection products, there are also a host of laptop anti-theft apps and software that organizations should use to keep their devices and data secure. One of the best features of laptop anti-theft software is the ability to track the location of your devices. Most laptop manufacturers include a free, albeit generally functionally limited, recovery solution that will allow users to identify where the laptop is currently located when it’s switched on, which can help law enforcement track criminal behavior and increase the likelihood of getting your devices recovered.

If you’re taking security seriously, you may want to invest in a dedicated anti-theft security solution such as HiddenApp that goes that extra mile to help you recover that missing laptop. You can also use it as an asset register for your fleet of devices, and set up threat detection rules that will send you alerts, for example when a device leaves a designated area or connects from an unauthorized wifi network. Furthermore, you’ll get the ability to respond to incidents quickly and efficiently, and remotely run appropriate security actions such as sending on-screen notifications on devices, externally locking or wiping devices, and a whole array of investigative tools to help you with the recovery of your devices.

Final thoughts

No matter whether it’s a personal device or a corporate computer, laptop theft can be a very time-consuming and worrying experience. Taking the time to incorporate the right strategies and procedures to keep your property and information safe can help you to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercriminals and ensure you keep your data secure.