We've put together five tips workers can use immediately to protect their laptops and data from loss and theft.

Laptop thefts are spiralling, and the consequences - both in terms of finance and data loss - are huge.

These two disconcerting realities are attested to by survey findings from a range of different organisations:

  • More than 81 percent of companies reported the loss of one or more laptops containing sensitive information between 2005 and 2006 - Ponemon Institute
  • US financial losses from laptop theft exceed $6.7m. Around 97 percent of stolen computers are never recovered - FBI Computer Crime & Security Survey
  • A data breach involving personal customer information can cost a company $268,000 in reporting expenses, a recent survey by McAfee and Datamonitor indicates.

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Despite the irreparable harm such losses/theft - and potential data breaches that result from them - can cause to a company's reputation and bottomline, research indicates north American businesses aren't doing enough to protect themselves.

Around 73 percent of companies surveyed by analyst firm Gartner Group in Stamford, Connecticut didn't have a specific security policy for their laptops.

And it's not so much the cost of securing mobile devices - and the data on them - that is the issue, according to one analyst.

There isn't any shortage of easy to use, inexpensive laptop security tools in the market today, says James Quin, senior research analyst at consultancy firm Info-Tech Research Group.

Commercial encryption software can be purchased for as low as £25, he notes.

The real issue, the analyst says has to do with a lack of employee awareness and education.

To remedy this we've put together five tips workers can use immediately to protect their laptops and data from loss and theft.

Some of these may seem self-evident, but it's amazing how little they are practiced.

NEXT PAGE: dock it or lock it up > >

  1. Five simple ways to thief-proof your laptop
  2. Dock it or lock it up
  3. Use tracking software
  4. Back Up and encrypt data

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