Brick Level Computer Protection

If you have ever had a personal or notebook computer stolen, or feared theft of your investment in technology, I'm sure the greatest concern to your loss is concern about the accessibility of your confidential data. If this is your employers confidential data, I'm sure you'd want to run for the hills.

Many businesses provide their employees with notebook computers to conduct day-to-day business allowing these employees and sales staff the ability to save and store confidential company information.

Consider for a moment that a laptop computer containing 100,000 graduate students confidential personal information complete with student social security ID's was stolen from a campus. If this notebook computer had integrated brick level protection, the thief would never be granted access to the confidential information contained on it.

While there are tools available from the internet to provide further protection in allowing lockdown, file deletion or authorities the ability to track and locate a stolen devices, here are some simple safeguard methods you can easily setup, in to protect your confidential data.

Password Protection:

Let's face it. In the small business world, how many of you actually password protect your computer(s)?

Over 60% of the small business users that install and setup our online data backup and recovery services, do not password protect their computer. This is truly alarming! While many are concerned about the security of our data protection services, they fail to protect their computer from retrieval of confidential information.

Many simply leave their computers accessible to anyone who wishes to compromise their sensitive and confidential records.

How To Protect Yourself:

While surely it is recommended that you password protect the ability to logon to your operating system, many will leave this blank, use the same name as their login, their first name, the name of their first born child or the name of their dog. All we can say, is "Stop doing that!".

If a person is going to hack into your computer, they likely use a hack tool that will divulge your password in a relatively short period of time. Furthermore, you should always rename the Administrator login to something other than Administrator, because again this will be the first attempt of a hacker.

If you really want to protect your notebook or small business desktop computer(s) from thieves being able to view your confidential data, we recommend setting up two separate logins and passwords.

The login and password in both locations can be exactly the same, with the exception being that if a thief can't get access through the first required login and password, they won't be able to get onto your system with the second login.

BIOS Flash Login Protection

Depending on the age, model and manufacturer or your computer, there is a function key that you can press when your computer boots up to go into setup mode.

You will notice when you boot up your computer, the option to press a key to get into Setup Mode: Insert Key, PageUp Key, F1, F2, F10, F12, etc.

Once you boot the computer up into setup mode, there is an option to password protect your computer requiring a login before the computer will actually launch the operating system. If your not sure and a little leery in setting this up yourself, ask your vendor or your computer support technician to set this up for you. There is the risk, if this is not setup properly, you could prevent your computer from booting up at all. Don't play with any other settings in the BIOS unless you are a professional and know absolutely what you are doing. PLEASE BE SURE TO DOCUMENT THIS AND KEEP IT IN A SAFE PLACE!

This is one simple way of protecting your computer from the worry of confidential data falling into the wrong hands. With this BIOS protection, a thief will not even have the ability to re-image the computer so they can go and sell it somewhere. With any luck they will anonymously drop it off at the nearest police station and if you have reported it stolen with a serial number, there is a good chance that you will get it back.

Along with the login credentials to bypass your BIOS, why not record your model and serial number of your computer? If you are serious about protecting your business asset, these steps should help you adequately protect yourself.

Best Password Practices

To create a password that is difficult to guess or hack with utility tools, is to create a password that is as long in character length as you can comfortably remember.

Make your password at least 7 characters if not longer in length.
Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters and some numbers, as well as some control characters.

Examples of control characters include: @ # _ ) ( ! $.