Laptop Security Part 2

Laptop security tips for attorneys.

Laptop Security Part 2

One of the biggest risks for law firms is the lost or stolen data through employees’ laptops.  Last week, we discussed five items that will help prevent your data from being stolen.  This week we want to present the remaining five items.

6. Protect yourself from other users

Connect your laptop through a travel router plugs into an Ethernet jack for additional protection against malicious users connected to the same business center or hotel network.

A travel router acts as a highly effective hardware firewall that helps keep your computer isolated from other users on the network. (Most computers have a software firewall installed, but viruses and other malicious software can disable these.)

7. Check for known vulnerabilities

When you connect your laptop to the internet when travelling, you may not be protected by any security systems your company uses to filter out malicious emails or to keep you from malicious websites. That can result in hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in the software on your computer to infect it with malware.

To reduce the chances of this, it is important to check that your computer’s operating system and other software have been updated with the latest security patches.

8. Don’t lose it in the airport rush

Tens of thousands of laptops are lost in airports every week, and only about one-third are ever returned to their owners, according to research carried out by the Ponemon Institute.

One way to avoid leaving your laptop behind when you go through security or get called for your flight is to attach a proximity alarm to your laptop bag.

These inexpensive devices send an alert to your smartphone if they detect that they have moved more than a few feet away from you.

9. Keep your USB sticks secure

If you carry a USB memory stick to make backups of your work or store other data, it’s important to make sure that it is as secure as the data on your laptop.

You can do this the same way that you can encrypt a computer hard drive.  Once encrypted, the memory stick can only be accessed after supplying a password.

An alternative is to use a USB drive with encryption hardware and other security features built-in, available from companies like IronKey. Its secure USB drives self-destruct if the wrong password is supplied 10 times in a row, making it all but impossible for a thief to access the data it holds by repeatedly guessing the password.

10. Lock it up

Perhaps the most obvious piece of advice, but frequently ignored, is making it hard for an opportunistic thief to walk off with your laptop.

One way to do this is by using a Kensington lock – a metal cable that you can loop around a suitable fixed object and which attaches to any laptop equipped with a Kensington slot.

Kensington locks certainly don’t provide total security, as the cables can be cut or they can be ripped out of the laptop, but it is enough to make many thieves move on to easier pickings.

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