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

5. Back Up and encrypt data

Always make sure to back up sensitive data. This doesn't have to take a long time you can use built-in backup utilities that come with most operating systems.

If your network doesn't have disk space for back ups, you can consider other offerings such as external hard drives, CD-Rs, tape back-up, even USB flash drives or online storage service.

There are also numerous vendors now offering data encryption tools that render information intelligible to anyone who does not have the proper decryption keys.

Another option is to employ a company virtual private network that encrypts data.

Info-Tech's Quin said there are also many free alternatives available. For instance, Microsoft offers an encryption tool native to its operating system.

"Users only need to activate the Windows encrypting file system (EFS) on their laptop but many people are not aware of it".

The EFS previously suffered from negative publicity because of a reports that it had an inferior management system.

But Quin said this has improved over the years to match many commercial encryption tools.

Another option is Truecrypt - an encryption tool available for free downloading.

"This is a very powerful tool but it is hindered by the lack of central management capability," said Quin.

Companies deploying a large fleet of laptops might skip Truecrypt but the tool would be ideal for individual professionals or small businesses, he said.

  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

Visit Security Advisor for the latest internet threat news, FREE net threat email newsletters, and internet security product reviews

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs