March 27, 2009, 12:04 PM — PC Magazine reprinted an article from last October in a newsletter the other day. The article, 10 Laptop Security Products, focuses strictly on physical security. Part of the reason for the focus may be their mis-quoting of a Ponemon Institute study with the headline Laptop Losses Total 12,000 Per Week at US Airports that made news last fall. PC Magazine's story said that 12,000 were stolen, but that's not true. About 10,200 are just left behind at the X-Ray checkpoints. Many of us are so worried about our shoes we leave our laptops behind. Two in three forgotten or stolen laptops from US airports are never recovered.
While a list of 10 security products, including alarms and locks of various types, are good, they won't help you when you leave your laptop on the floor after you put your shoes back on. Even the privacy screens that keep your seatmates from reading over your shoulder won't help, nor will stealthy surfing software and fingerprint readers. What you need are labels, and they cost less than any of the mentioned products.
Since PC Mag ran a reprint, let me point you to one of my previous posts for ITWorld entitled Label That Laptop. Isn't that a great to-the-point title? And the need for laptop security tools notwithstanding, if you leave your laptop behind in the airport restaurant, the lock in the laptop bag won't help your laptop find it's way home. Labels do that.
PC Mag also ignored my other laptop safety pet peeve, full disk encryption. How many news headlines do you need to see about lost customer records before you encrypt your laptop's hard disk? More help in that area will be here next month, so keep checking back here.
Do you have labels on your laptops? If so, pat yourself on the back in the comments section.