Security Concerns for the Laptop and Notebook Computer

There is no doubt that security is one of the most important concerns for any computer owner.  Any person who owns or uses a computer must always take the steps necessary to secure the valuable information it contains, but laptops and notebooks can be far more susceptible to theft, damage and data loss than desktop PCs.

If you think you do not need to be concerned about the security of your laptop or notebook computer, take a minute to think about the information it may contain.  If you have ever shopped online, chances are good that your credit card number, debit card number and PIN number are hidden somewhere within it.  If you have ever checked your bank balance or paid a bill online, your bank account number, Social Security number and password may be on the hard drive.

To this vital personal information, add the valuable business information that may be lurking on the laptop or notebook.  More and more laptop owners use their computers to connect to the office network, and that means that downloaded files, passwords, account ids and the like may be vulnerable to prying eyes.  There have been many high profile accounts of laptops containing information on tens of thousands, or even millions or customers and clients, and the companies involved in those losses may be subject to substantial fines and penalties, in addition to all that bad publicity.

The good news is that securing your laptop or notebook computer is not as difficult as you may think.  In many ways, securing your laptop is merely a matter of common sense, knowledge and planning.  The common sense part is making sure your laptop is securely on your person at all time.  The laptop or notebook should never be left unattended even for an instant, and it is important to always keep a close eye on the laptop as it travels through airport security.  Many laptops are stolen off the conveyor belts at airport security checkpoints, so it is important to keep one eye on your laptop as you endure the ever increasing security lines at the airport.

Of course physical security is only one part of the equation, and the other part is securing the valuable data the laptop or notebook contains.  One of the simplest to implement, yet most often overlooked, aspects of laptop security is the power on password.  Establishing a strong power on password is one of the most effective ways to keep prying eyes away from your computer, and to render it useless to many thieves.

Implementing strong virus protection is another important aspect of securing your laptop or notebook PC.  Every PC, whether desktop, laptop or handheld, should have a good virus scanning program installed.  After the virus scanning program is in place, it is important to have the software check for updates on a daily basis, as there are always new viruses being released.  This protection is even more important if the laptop will be connecting to the office network.  After all, no one wants to be responsible for bringing down the office network through an unprotected personal laptop.