Tips for Laptop Security When You Travel

Rugged laptops are a high commodity capable of withstanding abuse and extreme temperatures. Although tough notebooks are valuable themselves, the data inside your laptop is priceless, giving thieves access to all kinds of sensitive personal information and accounts. Laptops become even more attractive targets when you’re far from home, so here are some security tips for when you travel with your laptop.

Secure Laptops

  • Back up all your data to an external hard drive prior to leaving for your trip. On the road, use a cloud storage program (Google Drive, Dropbox, Carbonite) to back up any work you may have updated. This ensures that even if you lose your laptop, you still have all the important files.
  • Don’t let your laptop out of your site or control. When you’re at an airport bar or café, don’t leave your laptop on the table when you get up to get a refill or pick up some napkins. It’s inconvenient to lug your laptop everywhere and you may lose your seat, but it’s better your seat gets taken than your laptop. Furthermore, don’t let a bell hop take your laptop to your room. Don’t let a cabby stow your laptop in the trunk. It should be in your possession at all times.
  • Though it might be natural when you’re at home, on the road, don’t save any passwords on your browser or in any programs. Doing so only opens the door to your life if your laptop is actually stolen. Rugged handheld computers can put up with a lot, but none of that durability will matter if you have all your passwords saved.
  • A continuation of the above, set a password for just about everything, from getting onto the computer to accessing the primary disk drive. Use an exceptionally strong, but easy to memorize password.
  • If you’re not using your laptop during your flight, stow it at your feet or in your bag in the overhead bin. Keep a lock on your bag.
  • Disable file and printer sharing. It’s a convenient and essential function when you’re at home or at the office, but on a public network, file and printer sharing makes your laptop vulnerable to unauthorized access.
  • In your hotel room, keep your laptop in the room safe. If the room doesn’t have a safe or the safe is too small, consider securing your laptop to a pipe or a desk with a security lock. Kensington and Pacsafe offer some affordable and effective laptop locks that can easily anchor to existing structures.
  • One of the best ways to prevent data loss is to have no data at all. You can do a lot remotely, via email, browser, and cloud storage, without ever actually keeping any files on your laptop.

Unless you’re traveling for business, it may be best to leave the computer at home. If you must use a computer, many hotels these days have public computers available, but try not to worry about computers and just enjoy your trip!

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