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How to Prevent Laptop Loss

Pointsec , which provides full-disk encryption for laptops, PDAs and smartphones, was even recently selected by a government agency for encrypting their mobile devices. For the budget-sensitive, free disk encryption products include the open-source product TrueCrypt and Cypherix's free Cryptainer LE , which creates virtual drives up to 25MB.

Finally, find out whether your company has a security policy, and follow it to the letter. Check to see who should be notified in case of a loss -- and have his or her after-hours contact info available, so you can get in touch as soon as a loss occurs.

Laptops Have Legs

The value and size of laptops make them attractive targets for thieves. Since this type of theft is often a crime of opportunity, always keep your laptop with you, and keep your eye on it. If you must leave a laptop or device in your car, lock it in the trunk or make sure that it's stored out of sight.

Though airports are full of security personnel, looking for thieves isn't their primary job. Thefts do occur, sometimes right off the security conveyor belts. Don't be distracted if someone ahead of you sets off the metal detector -- while you're watching the wanding, someone may be helping themselves to your unattended valuables. If possible, wait until it's your turn to pass through the metal detector before placing your laptop on the conveyer belt, and keep an eye on your things as they pass through the X-ray machine.

At your hotel, try not to leave your laptop in an accessible area, such as the front desk. Store your device in your room safe, or invest a few bucks in a security cable and lock. Many laptops have security slots to which you can attach a cable that can be wrapped around something stationary, much like a bicycle lock.

Kensington offers a line of locks with retractable cables ($30-$70); or try the Notebook Security Kit ($20) or PC Guardian's Notebook Guardian ($40-$58).

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