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One Step Ahead
December 8, 2009, Volume 56, No. 14

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth A Lot

You may be among the many who will purchase a laptop computer to give as a present this holiday season. These devices offer considerable—and increasing—convenience, but can also be lost or stolen with relative ease. You can add to the lasting value of your gift by reminding the lucky recipient about these basic safety tips for laptop owners:

• Never leave your laptop unattended.

• Don’t leave your laptop visible on the seat in your vehicle.

• Make sure that the data stored on your laptop is backed up. The cost of replacing a lost or stolen laptop is considerable, but looks small in comparison to the cost of losing months or years of work.

• Avoid storing sensitive personal information on the laptop unless you encrypt the information.

• Consider installing Computrace software, or another similar product, on the device. Computrace enables tracking the location of a lost or stolen laptop by causing it to “call in” via the Internet. With assistance from law enforcement officials, the information “called in” can often be used to locate the device. In addition, Computrace software can enable remote wiping of sensitive data if a device is lost or stolen.

Of course, these tips are equally valuable if you’re buying the laptop as a gift for yourself!


To receive OneStepAhead  tips via email, send email to listserv@lists.upenn.edu with the following text in the body of the message:  sub one-step-ahead <your name>.

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - December 8, 2009, Volume 56, No. 14