Laptop safety questions

Wide range of attendees ask a wider range of questions

Speaking of backup, I'm always surprised how few non-technical people know about online backup services, especially for laptop users. I thought Carbonite and Mozy had penetrated the consumer consciousness, but evidently not. It seems only about 10 per cent of consumer groups I speak to can name either one, or any other online backup service. That's a shame, because for about $50 per year, laptop owners can protect all their data easily and automatically.

I didn't have time to get into how the new security rules for companies taking credit cards might apply to laptops: if you use your laptop for a mobile cash register at events and take credit cards, the disk on that laptop must be encrypted. Well, technically, the credit card information must be encrypted. If the laptop only connects to another location, such as the accounting program back at the office, then the laptop disk doesn't have to be encrypted according to the payment card industry. But since almost everyone with a laptop tells their browser to "save this password" that means anyone finding or stealing that laptop has easy access to the company accounting program. Maybe full disk encryption for laptops carrying such information is a good idea after all.

Laptops remain one of the biggest security problems for companies, because they travel and can therefore get lost or stolen. Try to keep your laptop under control, secure, and avoid hackers in coffee shops.

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James E. Gaskin

Network World
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