Laptop Theft: Costs & Prevention
A 2003 Computer Security Institute (CSI) / FBI Computer Crime and Security survey found that companies had $7 million in losses from laptop theft in 2003. Seventy-five percent (75%) indicated that they experienced financial losses.
Safeware, a computer insurance expert, estimates that in 2002, U.S. PC owners filed 620,000 claims for computer thefts—most of them for stolen laptops. And those numbers only promise to increase. International Data Corp. (IDC) predicts that, by 2008, 50 percent of the PCs in the United States will be laptops (up from 29 percent in 2004), which means there’ll be plenty of targets out there. Many PC owners seem oblivious to the risks surrounding their equipment; a good number of thefts occur because people carelessly leave their computers in places where they are likely to be stolen.
Tips To Keep Your Laptop Safe
- Always be aware of your surroundings and the people in them.
- Utilize a laptop security cable. Numerous reports of laptop theft occur when the owner leaves his or her office or cubicle for just a moment to go down the hall or to get a drink of water. Another time to be cautious is during meetings, laptops are used, a quick break is called and when everyone returns, some of the laptops are missing.
- Treat your laptop just like you would treat cash. Don’t leave it where others can see it and steal it.
- Do not leave your laptop in public view in your vehicle. Locked car doors do not deter most thieves.
- Purchase insurance coverage for your laptop. If it is company property, be certain under what conditions a theft is covered. If the laptop is your property, check with your insurance agent and determine if it is covered under your homeowners or renters insurance. Also what theft situations are covered, such as on business or pleasure travel. If coverage is not provided, obtain additional coverage as a rider to your policy.
- Be certain to back up all important data daily. Remember the hardest thing to replace when a laptop is stolen is the lost data. Protect the data and access of the computer with strong password and or a hardware key device. Hardware key products include fingerprint identification devices or other access control devices that plug into the USB port.
- Put a label or tape your business card to the top of your laptop. Too many business travelers are using the same brand and model of laptops leading to confusion and in some cases the picking up of someone else’s laptop when going through security. The business card or label provides identification quickly when retrieving your laptop or trying to prove ownership in a mix up or attempted theft.
- Record your serial number. If your laptop is stolen, the police can enter it in the national stolen property computer and identify it if it is recovered.