So, what can you do?
Besides the use of software or firmware like Absolute Software's Computrace that is set up to automatically report and track a stolen computer, you're most likely going to need to educate your employees and reassess your security plan.
Livingston, who hears about more than his fair share of computer thefts, says there are really some simple things that employees need to do:
- When your employees go mobile, they have to keep their belongings in sight.
- Vehicles are a prime target; remind staff not to leave laptops in vehicles.
- Employees should be encouraged to take laptops with them once they leave a meeting.
- Laptops and computers have slots for adding locks and cables - use them to eliminate the crimes of opportunity.
- It's undoubtedly part of your security plan already, but unaccompanied visitors in a work area is a recipe for computer theft disaster.
Try as much as you can to change access control procedures and visitor management, it will only go so far, especially now that many computers live their lives "on the road." As Livingston notes, the real danger of computer thefts today aren't the large-scale work station thefts. Rather, it's the slow, continuous shrink of your laptop computers. A survey by Kensington in 2001 put the average number of laptops stolen from medium- and large-size companies at 11.65 per year. Multiply that by massive data recovery costs and the hardware costs, and it's surely something to make our industry wake up.