Laptop security basics
To help protect your laptop against data loss and computer theft, follow these security basics.
Back up your data
It's important that you regularly archive your documents, folders, and settings so that you can retrieve the data if your laptop is stolen or the hard disk fails.
How often you should back up your files depends on the number of files you create, how often you create them, and how often you change them. If you create files every day, you might want to back them up weekly or even daily. You can back up your data to a CD or DVD, a USB flash drive, or another computer if your laptop is on a network. It's best to schedule regular, automatic backups that run even while you're working on your laptop. For more information, see Set up or change automatic backup settings.
Encrypt your data
Data encryption helps defend against misuse of information if your computer is stolen. Data encryption scrambles the contents of a message or file so that it can be read only by someone who has the appropriate encryption key to unscramble it.
You can encrypt a subset of files or folders, or an entire disk. Doing this can help protect the data stored in files and folders, the operating system, and any installed programs.
Use an anti-theft device
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to help secure your laptop is to use a security cable, with or without an alarm, to attach your laptop to a stationary object. Most laptops have security slots in the side or the back of their case.
Use a security cable wherever you leave your laptop, such as a hotel room, a conference room, a co-worker's office, or a trade show booth. Never leave a laptop in an unlocked room, even if you think that the room is secure.
Insure your laptop
The insurance policies for most businesses, homeowners, and renters don't cover laptop damage or loss, and the few that do offer limited coverage. If you travel frequently with your laptop, consider buying coverage from a company that specializes in computer insurance.
Rates vary widely depending on where you live and the extent of coverage you purchase.