Property Management

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Keeping Laptops from Getting Lost or Stolen

April 18, 2017

At Berkeley Lab, each of us have the responsibility to safeguard the property of DOE.  For those of you who have been assigned laptops and other portable IT equipment like tablets and cell phones, we want to take a moment to remind you of a few key physical security steps you should be taking to protect your DOE owned property.

A laptop computer defines convenience and mobility. It enables you to work from home, a hotel room, a conference hall, or a coffee shop.

Maybe you’ve taken steps to secure the data on your laptop: You’ve installed a firewall. You update your antivirus software. You protect your information with a strong password. You encrypt your data, and you’re too smart to fall for those emails that ask for your personal information. But what about the laptop itself? A minor distraction is all it takes for your laptop to vanish.

Chances are you’ve heard stories about stolen laptops on the news or from friends and colleagues. No one thinks their laptop will be stolen– at least not until they find the trunk of their car broken into, notice that their laptop isn’t waiting at the other side of airport security, or get a refill at the local java joint only to turn around and find their laptop gone.

Keep these tips in mind when you take your laptop out and about:

  • Treat your laptop like your wallet. Don’t let it sit out in a public place, would you turn your back on it – even for just a minute? Would you put it in checked luggage? Leave it on the backseat of your car? Of course not. Don’t leave it “for just a minute.” Keep a careful eye on your laptop just as you would your wallet.
  • Don’t leave your laptop in the car – not on the seat, not in the trunk. Parked cars are a favorite target of laptop thieves; don’t help them by leaving your laptop unattended. That said, if you must leave your laptop behind, keep it out of sight.
  • Keep it off the floor. No matter where you are in public – at a conference, a coffee shop, or a registration desk – avoid putting your laptop on the floor. If you must put it down, place it between your feet or at least up against your leg, so that you’re aware of it.
  • Keep your passwords elsewhere. Remembering strong passwords or access numbers can be difficult. However, leaving either in a laptop carrying case or on your laptop is like leaving the keys in your car. There’s no reason to make it easy for a thief to get to your personal or corporate information.
  • Pay attention in airports. Keep your eye on your laptop as you go through security. Hold onto it until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector – and keep an eye out when it emerges on the other side of the screener.
  • Be vigilant in hotels. If you stay in hotels, use the safe in your room if there is one.
  • Excess your old laptop. If the laptop is not your primary laptop and you are not using it, send it to Excess (building 79).

If you find yourself in a situation when your assigned property is lost or stolen, it is your responsibility to take the following steps:

We would ask for your continued diligence and focus to ensure that as stewards of government property, we are doing everything we can individually and as a team to protect the property assigned to us.