12 Tips to Secure your Laptop

Many businesses are moving away from the desktop-only office model. If your employees are free to roam with their company laptop, you will want to make sure all of the below tips are implemented. Trusty IT tech professionals, like us here at Frontier IT based in beautiful Colorado Springs, can help set you and your team up right. Here are 11 tips to secure your laptop.

Update antivirus. We’ve said it once, we’ve said it twice, we’ll say it again. Make sure your antivirus is updated. Do not, I repeat, do not turn off automatic updates. These are essential to make sure you have the latest security patches against new trojans, viruses and worms.

Update firewall. Just as importantly, you need to make sure your firewall is both enabled and up-to-date. A firewall helps prevent people, robots and malicious software from accessing your private network without authorization. Who wouldn’t want a fire-breathing dragon protecting their castle?

Encrypt your Wi-Fi. When it comes to your office Wi-Fi or your employees  Wi-Fi at home, you want to make sure it is encrypted. WPA2 is the strongest encryption method and will keep unwanted strangers out. Make sure to choose a strong, hard-to-guess password.

Lock your screen. Now you have all this fancy software installed, but none of that will really help if someone can physically get their hands on your laptop and its data. Make sure every time you leave your workspace, even if just to refill your reusable water bottle, you lock your screen.

Careful with public networks. I love banging out some work at my local coffee shop as much as the next, but there are some things you should keep in mind:

  1. First, of course, enable firewall.
  2. Also, turn off file sharing in your system settings.
  3. Check for the https lock on your browser to ensure the site you are visiting is secure.
  4. Enable two/factor authentication for added security.
  5. Do not access or type in any personally identifiable information (PII) whatsoever. PII includes:
    1. Full name
    2. Home address
    3. Email address
    4. Social security number
    5. Passport number
    6. Driver’s license number
    7. Credit card numbers
    8. Date of birth
    9. Telephone number
    10. Log in details
  6. When finished, forget the network in your network settings.

Consider VPN. If you are going to be working on the fly at airports or cafes or friend’s houses, go the extra mile with a VPN. A VPN is a virtual private network. This means that even if you are on a public network, you will be further housed by a secure, private network. This masks your IP and encrypts all internet traffic, as if you’re browsing from your secure home network. Pretty cool!

Think before you click. Don’t click whatever ad or pop-up comes your way. It may be a really cute dress or alluring celebrity gossip article, but these can contain malicious software and the sites are usually super annoying to navigate anyway. Save yourself the headache, it’s not worth it.

Beware of suspicious emails. This goes along with the above tip. With emails, also think before you click. It may be an email that appears to be, for example, from your bank. But if you then hover over the email address, you will see that it actually came from a scammer. Better to go right to your official bank URL to login if you think there may be a message for you there. Same with all other senders. Unless it is from someone you definitely know and definitely trust, don’t click it. 

Invest in a laptop bag. You have to physically take care of your laptop as well. Don’t throw it into whatever bag, exposing it to items that can scratch it (your keys) or soak it (your water bottle that you didn’t quite screw closed properly). Get a nice bag with a separate, snug, waterproof compartment for your laptop. You can also look into anti-theft laptop bags with locks.

Insure your laptop. No laptop is immune to mechanical failure, theft or accidental damage. Rather than pay up another $1000+ every time something goes wrong, cover all the laptops in your office with insurance. This way you can get free repairs and replacements when necessary. It is totally worth the extra money up front.

Backup your data. In the end, if all your efforts to protect your laptop have fallen through, you should at the very least protect your data. Do not keep all of your documents and archives only on your laptop. Be sure to have your data on an external hard drive as well as saved to the cloud (the internet). This allows you to access your files from any device.

Encrypt your hard drive. Most people keep sensitive personal information or work information on their hard drive. If the laptop gets lost or stolen, knowing that the drive is encrypted would serve as peace of mind for protection of personal data and save a lot of headache if it’s work data.

If you need help, we can help you secure your laptop and those of everyone in your office. Call us today at 719-888-HELP or visit frontierit.com.