With summer coming up, you’re probably making plans for a well-deserved vacation. However, for many people, it is impossible to take a digital detox and completely break off contact with the guys at work. You’ll see them lugging their laptops around checking emails and updates, and issuing instructions from time to time. If this is you, know that you need to protect your laptop and other devices carefully when on vacation.
According to a report released by Gartner, a technology research firm, every 53 seconds a laptop is stolen somewhere in the country. Further, Kensington reports that the losses incurred because of the loss of a laptop can go up to $49,000. If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who can’t bear the thought of being apart from your new company, it is understandable that you’ll need to touch base with managers and other employees to ensure that things are progressing well.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep your laptop protected and enjoy every minute of your vacation.
1. Buy an Economical Device for Traveling
If you absolutely need to have a device to keep in touch with the folks back home, avoid carrying expensive gadgets. Instead opt for economical refurbished laptops, cell phones, and other devices that don’t cost much but allow you to stay connected. In addition to ensuring that you don’t lose a precious investment, getting these gadgets can help you in more ways than one.
2. Lock up Your Laptop Carefully
Most hotel rooms have electronic safes where you can store your laptop safely when you’re out. If you do intend to carry it with you, stow it in the trunk encased in a bag that does not look like a laptop carrier. Take care that you’re not watched when you carry the bag to your car, especially if you plan on visiting a bar or restaurant. If you place your gadget in the car, cover it with a jacket or any other item so it is hidden from plain view.
3. Install a Laptop Locating Software
Get a laptop locating software and install it in your computer. In case your device gets stolen, you only need to call the listed number and the software company will track the exact location of the device. You’ll also receive emails and screenshots of the activities being conducted on your laptop. You can also install key functions so you can lock down your device making it impossible for the thief to use. In addition, advanced software allow you wipe the hard drive from a remote location.
4. Keep a Careful Note of Your Device Specifications
Protect your laptop by making a note of the serial number and all other information on the service tag attached to the bottom of your device. Consider taking and saving a picture of the tag so that the barcode can be scanned and used to locate the laptop. You could also take pictures of any identifying scratches, dents, and other features that can help prove your ownership.
5. Protect the Data on Your Laptop
Since you’re using an alternate device for emergency use, you need not save important company files and passwords on your refurbished laptops. If you must enter passwords, make sure you don’t save them. Logging in again and again is no doubt an inconvenience, but it will keep the sensitive data secure. Use cloud based file sharing as far as possible and make sure you encrypt all the information that passes through the device. Having updated firewalls and antivirus protection are also must-haves.
6. Access the Internet Using Secure Networks
Most travelers make the mistake of using the Wi-Fi services provided by the hotel, restaurant, cafes, or any shopping mall they’re visiting. Since multiple users are accessing the network, they can deliver malware to your computer without your realizing it. Protect your laptop by using the secure Wi-Fi hotspot created by your smartphone. If you absolutely must use the hotel internet service, check if the network is encrypted with WPA2. If you can’t be sure, contact the front desk for detailed information.
7. Never Download Software or Updates through Unsecure Networks
You might receive a pop-up message asking you to download an update. Or, you may be asked to install software to access a particular email or open a website. Such malware can break into your company digital systems back home and steal sensitive data. Or, they can record the happenings in your room by turning on the webcam. Never rely on official looking banking sites requesting for personal information. Check back with your bank over the phone if they have authorized any requests.
8. Avoid Transporting Your Laptop in the Sleep Mode
When you put your laptop in the sleep mode, it will continue to generate heat. If you place it in a laptop bag or carryall, you may end up closing the vents that keep air circulating to keep the inner mechanisms of the laptop cool. Ultimately, you could end up damaging your computer by letting it overheat. For this reason, it is essential that you protect your laptop by shutting it down and placing it in a padded bag to shield it from knocks and damage.
A laptop could be an indispensable item in your luggage even when you’re vacationing. for this reason, you must take complete precautions to ensure that you carry it safely and use it responsibly so you don’t bring back more than memorable moments and holiday souvenirs.