The same can be said of the number of senior executives whose laptops get stolen. Generally, they are seen as highly attractive items as they are top of the range technology. While there is an increasing market in Intellectual Property, there are no statistics kept as to whether such information is actually traded and for what sort of money. It is more likely that such information will be stolen by hackers.
Protecting against laptop and data theft would appear to be relatively easy but, in a business sense, is rarely so. Some basic steps for employees to follow in order to protect laptops include:
1. Never leave the laptop unattended in a public place.
2. Never leave a laptop on a desktop at lunch, while in a meeting or overnight.
3. Never put a laptop in hold baggage.
4. If in a restaurant or bar, always ensure that the bag containing the laptop cannot be snatched. Put the shoulder strap under your chair leg.
5. If you need to visit the bathroom, take your bag with you unless you are with a trusted colleague who you have asked to “mind” your laptop.
6. Laptop bags might look like the ideal place to keep you laptop but they stand out a mile. Try and keep the laptop in a less obvious bag such as a briefcase.
7. When in a hotel, store the laptop in the room safe, even when just going for breakfast, dinner or to use the gym. If the room doesn’t have a safe, take it to the front desk and have the hotel store it for you.
8. Never leave the laptop or the bag containing the laptop on show in the car, even if you are in the car with it. Many a bag has been snatched through a car window while stopped in traffic.
9. If you need to leave the laptop in the car, conceal it in the boot.
10. Never leave it in the boot for long periods and never leave it overnight.
These might all seem like commonsense items but for every single entry in this list you will find people who have lost their computers by not taking precautions.
What about data? Protection of corporate data is critical today. You could argue that employees should not have sensitive information on their laptop when out of the office. While this would be nice, the reality is that the laptop is a working environment. This means that the person carrying the laptop needs that data in order to do some form of work.
So what can you do?
By subscribing to our early morning news update, you will receive a daily digest of the latest security news published on Help Net Security.
With over 500 issues so far, reading our newsletter every Monday morning will keep you up-to-date with security risks out there.