As we travel through busy airport terminals, we carry our coffee in one hand, purse on the other and bags from the duty free but let’s not forget the laptop bag. Believe it or not, some passengers just forget their laptop sometimes. Some travelers stuff their carry-on bags with shoes, makeup, clothes and laptop, all in one. However it is not a wise move to put your new Lenovo with all the other things in your carry-on bag. No, don’t pack all this in your laptop bag either. We often forget that laptops and their data are extremely vulnerable when traveling. So make use of below checklist to keep your laptop and data protected at all times.
Laptop Protection Tips For Travelers
1. Back-up, Back-up, Back-up!
I can not stress enough the importance of making an up-to-date full back-up of every bit of data on your laptop before you leave on your trip. In case you don’t back-up your data and your laptop gets lost or stolen, odds are you won’t get it back. This way at least you get your data to carry on your work.
2. Never, Never, Never
Never let your laptop out of your physical control while in transit or during your trip. Don’t hand it to bellhops, porters, taxi drivers and others, even if in a laptop bag.
3. Security Gates
Keep an eye on your laptop at airport security gates. Put your laptop in your last bin on the security conveyor belt, just before you go through scanning. You can also use a TSA approved checkpoint-friendly laptop bag. You’re allowed to keep your laptop in these bags, instead placing them in a bin.
4. Password Protect
Password protect your laptop to prevent others from accessing your data, if your laptop gets lost or stolen. Laptops normally have the ability to use a BIOS password, which prevents access to the laptop hardware. Use a strong password and make sure your password does not use real words, names, phone numbers, birth dates, etc.
5. Disable File & Printer Sharing
While traveling, your laptop could get exposed to open wireless networks. Anyone else connected to that same network could access your files, if you have the file and printer sharing on. Therefore be sure to disable it to protect your data from unauthorized access.
6. Remotely Access Your Primary Computer
If you have another computer at home or office, which is your primary computer, consider running it remotely via Internet from your laptop when you are traveling. That way your emails and data will be saved on your primary computer. GotoMyPC.com is a good software to achieve this.
7. No remote access? Back-up your data
For the ones who cannot utilize remote computing, it is important to back-up your data while traveling. Services such as Google Docs give you free storage for up to 1GB of data, and 20GB’s for only $5 per year.
8. Make use of Cloud Storage
Consider using an Internet accessible cloud storage for transporting your sensitive documents. You should not keep any sensitive documents on your laptop at any time while traveling – until they are needed. Then you download it, edit and use them, then erase it when not needed. As many are aware, deleting a file from your laptop doesn’t actually erase it, even when emptied from recycle or trash bins. If a file is sensitive, use a program like File Shredder which uses a Guttman algorithm to erase files.
9. Keep Your Laptop in Hotel Room Safe
When storing your laptop in your hotel room put it in the room safe, if it fits. If not, in the hotel’s safe, given the facility is available. While this does not guarantee 100% security, it is better than just leaving your laptop in your hotel room.
10. Use Antivirus & Spyware Removal Software
Don’t forget to install and use traditional protection every computer should have. Public wireless networks in hotels and coffee shops are not secure. Therefore use a good and up-to-date antivirus and spyware removal software. Also use a personal firewall, which will protect both inbound and outbound traffic. If you must use public wireless, set up a VPN like Hotspot Shield.
Now you are aware of the risks, never ever put your laptop with all your other traveling gear. Also remember these tips to protect your laptop from unnecessary loss or damage. Any other tips I have missed?
Excellent suggestions, Shamis! These are great tips not just for laptops, but also for any type of gadget we bring while traveling.
It’s also a good idea to get some form of insurance for your laptop in the event that it either gets lost or it gets stolen while you’re traveling, and in the event that it gets damaged by improper handling by the people at the airport. You may not be able to get your laptop back, but the insurance will compensate you enough that you will be able to get a replacement right away.
Thanks Adeline for your tip on getting insurance for laptops when traveling. That is a very good idea indeed!
Thank you very much for posting this, it's really useful to me