Whether you’re taking a business trip across the country or doing some work in a coffee shop around the corner, you want to be sure your laptop—and all the data it contains—is safe.
Here are tips from Alan Henry at Lifehacker.
1. Buy a great bag. Find a bag that’s comfortable, travel-friendly and has a sleeve to protect against inevitable bumps. Also, look for a bag that’s TSA-compliant so you won’t have to unpack your laptop to go through airport security.
2. Take it everywhere. It can be tempting to leave your laptop on the table while you take a trip to the bathroom, but it’s not a good idea. If you’re not with someone you know and trust to watch it, bring your laptop with you.
3. Keep hotel staff out. Use the do-not-disturb sign to keep hotel staff out of your room when you head out for a short trip. When you leave for the day and need your room cleaned, take down the sign and take your laptop with you.
4. Carry a cable lock. They’re easy to break through, but thieves in public places are less likely to take a chance. Your company might offer cable locks, but if they don’t, you can get a keyed cable lock for less than $10 on Amazon.
5. Back it up. Do a full backup before leaving home. If it’s stolen, you’ll have lost a laptop and the work you did on the road, but you’ll still be able to access everything else.
6. Install security software. If you don’t use such software already, install some now. You want full coverage, and no one tool catches everything, which means you should probably have one on-access antivirus tool and one on-demand anti-malware tool.
7. Use a VPN. A virtual private network connects a group of computers over the Internet. When you sign on to one, all of your online communication becomes encrypted and you can perform sensitive tasks such as signing in to your bank or buying items on eBay without worrying about eavesdroppers. Your company may offer one, or you can use proXPN, TorVPN, TorGuard or WiTopia.
8. Encrypt your data. This used to be difficult, but now tools such as TrueCrypt make encrypting local files, folders and volumes easy.