The following is a list of tips to help safeguard your laptop while traveling or conducting business.
1. Never leave your laptop unattended. Keep your laptop in your physical possession at all times and pay particular attention at the following locations: airports, hotels, car rental agencies, offices, restaurants, college campuses, restrooms, payphones, libraries, bars, hospitals, conferences centers, train stations and bus terminals.
2. Record your laptop's serial number, make and model information in your purse or wallet so if your computer is stolen, the information will be readily available when you file a police report.
3. Disguise your carrying case. By carrying your laptop in a case designed specifically for computers, you alert thieves to the fact that you are carrying something valuable. Instead, consider carrying your laptop in an ordinary piece of luggage, satchel, briefcase or other inconspicuous bag.
4. Lock it up! Use computer- locking cables to secure your laptop to a desk or table.
5. Etch, engrave or permanently mark your computer with your name and phone number. You might also consider placing several of your business cards inside carrying case pockets.
6. Never place a computer in checked luggage.
7. Identify your carrying case in some unusual way. Brightly colored tape, yarn or tags will help you to locate your bag in the event it comes up missing. When traveling, you might also consider affixing something brightly colored to your actual laptop ( in light of new security measures at airports, travelers are required to remove their laptops from their cases at security checkpoints).
8. If your laptop must be left in your car, store it in the trunk of the vehicle prior to arriving at the final destination.
9. Regularly back up information. Make sure you store this information separately in case your computer is stolen.
10. Report it stolen as soon as possible. In the event that your laptop is lost or stolen, make sure you report it missing to your employer and local authorities as soon as possible. This will help to speed up the recovery process.
Johnny May, CPP is an independent security consultant/trainer and the executive producer of the video production "Now You See It, Now You Don't: Preventing Laptop Computer Theft". For more information visit http://www.security-videos.com