Although there are ways to physically protect your laptop or other portable devices, there is no guarantee that they won't be stolen or lost. While the theft itself is frustrating and inconvenient, the loss of information on the device could have serious long term consequences to your business.
Portable devices are designed to be easily transported and a lot of sensitive business information may be carried around outside the office, for example, sales information or customer data.
You need to ensure you manage the physical assets themselves as well and the security of the information they contain.
- Ensure all portable devices are secured with passwords. Also ensure that passwords are not written down on the device or a tag or note stored with it.
- Create a register of your hardware and software assets. Make sure you include monitors and other portable assets such as printers, scanners, mobile phones and storage media.
- Create a register for staff to sign out equipment. Audit your register on a monthly basis to ensure equipment has either been returned or is still on loan.
- Establish an action plan in case equipment is lost or stolen. This will help staff to remember what actions to follow.
On this page
- Managing assets
- Secure devices
- Secure your information
- Establish an action plan
Fact sheets and resources
Your equipment is a valuable business asset. Create a register of your hardware and software assets. Include the brand, make, serial numbers and specifications for your equipment. Make sure you include monitors and other portable assets such as printers, scanners, speakers, mice, cameras, mobile phones and storage media.
Also record the name, version number and product keys for your software. Make sure you keep this resister in a secure location.
Lock any portable equipment that is not in daily use away in a secure cabinet. Create a register for staff to sign out equipment. When staff sign out equipment, remind them of relevant security procedures and obligations. Audit your register on a monthly basis to ensure equipment has either been returned or is still on loan.
Mobile devices such as laptops and mobile phones should be encrypted and secured with a password. Software is available to encrypt the hard drives of desktop computers to stop them being accessed in the event that they are stolen.
Ensure that staff don't write down passwords and keep them with the device.
Secure your information
Encryption is the conversion of data into a secret code for transmission over the internet. By encrypting files, you ensure that unauthorised people can't view data even if they can physically access it. Commercial products are available to encrypt information on your network.
There may be a business case to purchase this software to protect sensitive information such as your intellectual property and pricing policies. You may also want to consider options for full disk encryption, which prevents a thief from even starting your laptop without a password.
Establish an action plan
Establish a set of actions to take if business equipment is lost or stolen, and communicate them to your staff. These could include:
- Maintaining a list of serial numbers of business equipment
- Changing all passwords for online account previously accessed using the stolen device
- Advising your bank and/or cancelling the card if a credit card or other information was recorded on the device.
- Reporting the loss to police and insurance company as soon as possible.