How to Secure a Laptop – Five Habits to Stay Secure
Enterprise owners, as well as enterprise employees, put a strong focus on security. That being said, security is more than just changing your password every couple of weeks and making sure it is complex enough for people not to be able to guess it. It’s also about knowing how to secure a laptop, a piece of equipment that stores plenty of valuable information. From your work passwords and a vast variety of confidential documents to things like personal or financial information unauthorized access could be catastrophic.
That being said, laptop security is a topic many employees believe is too difficult – and that’s not true. You can make sure your laptop is secure and protected from thieves by following some common security practices that aren’t at all complicated. To make things even easier, we’ll present the five things you need to do if you want to secure your laptop. Let’s go!
1. Passwords Are Crucial for Laptop Safety
This is arguably the first thing that anyone who knows a thing or two about security will recommend, and with good reason. If you want to keep laptops secure, passwords are where you want to start. They’re a crucial element when it comes to preventing thieves from accessing personal information, or gaining any kind of access to your computer. If you frequently use your laptop in public places or leave it in the office, you should have a password.
Now, a potential problem is the fact that people don’t want to remember multiple passwords, which is why they reuse the same password everywhere. But, that can be okay if your enterprise uses a single sign-on solution. That’s a piece of software that authenticates you as a user with any service that’s within the enterprise, so yes, you can access anything with a single password. Data is encrypted, and most enterprises will do two-factor authentication to further boost security.
A single sign-on solution essentially eliminates passwords, and that’s one less thing to worry about with your laptop, and other employees’ laptops too. In any case, avoid recycling the same password, and do not, under any circumstances, share passwords with anyone else.
2. Encrypted Data Equals a Secure Laptop
This should be another one of the first things you do, as encrypted data is incredibly hard to breach, and it’s a perfect way to protect yourself from thieves and anyone else who can access your computer or laptops’ hard drive.
Encrypting your personal data means that all files are turned into code, and without the correct encryption key, it’s unreadable. True, someone might still copy it if you leave your laptop unattended, but it’s going to be useless unless they have the encryption key as well. As a result, you’re looking at a highly secure safeguard that keeps your data away from prying eyes.
If you want to make things even more impenetrable, you should store the key for the encrypted laptop on a separate device. Now thieves don’t just need your laptop, they also need the device that has the encryption key if they want to do anything.
And here’s an additional tip – make frequent backups on laptops. If you change a lot of things on a daily basis, set up an automated off-site backup within the last 10-15 minutes of your work schedule, whether it’s on a different computer or a cloud service. A cloud service is a great way to keep things away from prying eyes, and even a hardware malfunction won’t be able to do much because you can still access all the personal information you’ve backed up.
3. Keep Things Updated
An often overlooked aspect of how to protect laptop from people with malicious intent, keeping the software you use up to date is crucial. We are, of course, talking about your operating system, security software, as well as any programs and browsers you might use daily. Big companies are pretty efficient when it comes to constantly pushing out updates that add security to their products, and many of those updates are made to keep up with breaches that hackers develop routinely.
While we’re talking about updates, you should also “update” the way you work with files – try to exercise more caution in terms of what you download and what you open. Files that have extensions you don’t recognize aren’t a good idea, so be careful with those.
4. Work On Physical Security
It’s not just the software you use and habits you should pay attention to – but you should also know how to protect your laptop physically. We’re talking about keeping an eye on it when it’s outside your home, whether it’s in a hotel, at a conference, at the airport, or when you’re working in a café or a library.
The first thing is to never leave it unattended when you’re out in public, or in any other location that’s not completely safe and thief-proof. The second thing is to look into a Kensington lock (provided your laptop is lockable) that will allow you to tie your laptop to something. Keep in mind not every laptop is lockable, although most business-oriented ones should be. And last but not least, put a location tracking software on it even if it’s Kensington lockable, as it’s going to be a lifesaver if it somehow disappears.
5. Give It an Authentication Boost
Our last tip is all about authentication. You’re probably accessing resources within the enterprise you don’t want unattended access to, and a simple password is oftentimes not enough. True, a single sign-on solution is a great addition, but you also want multi-factor authentication.
There are plenty of solutions to choose from, such as mobile authentication via text message or a dedicated authentication app. If you want to go for something that’s even more secure, a hardware token device is an even better option. You will need to have the device plugged in if you want to access any data, and even if your laptop gets stolen, nobody will be able to access the data on it because knowing how to secure your laptop is something you already took care of.