Top 5 Tips For Keeping Your Laptops Secure

As the power and cost of laptops have become comparable to desktop PCs, and with staff increasingly expecting more flexible working conditions, many organisations are choosing to swap the trusty desktop PC estate for a shiny fleet of laptops. But with laptops making the bulk of your office computing mobile, the risk of it being lost or stolen is significantly greater. So here’s five of the top things you should do to protect you. These are really the absolute minimum you should do, so if you’re not doing all of them, now’s the time to act.

1. Keep them in the office (as much as possible)
Sounds obvious, but your laptops are much safer if they never leave the confines of the office. “But we bought laptops so we could take them out of the office” I hear you cry. True. The point here is not to keep them in the office forever, but to put policies in place to ensure they’re only taken out of the office when really necessary (i.e. for work work). Try to avoid the situation where employees get into the habit of taking their laptop home every night for personal use. They’re work laptops, so you’re well within your rights to say they’re only for work, so should only leave the office for work-related activities.

2. Locks, locks and more locks
Provide every employee with a Kensington lock so they can physically secure the laptop to the desk. This will help ensure that even if your office is broken into, any potential thief is at least slowed down. While they won’t stop a determined thief completely, the more time it takes the better. You could even go one better and invest in a lockable laptop trolley, like this one by Charcoal, which can store and charge 20 laptops. Just make sure you lock that somewhere secure too!

3. Use passwords
The most basic level of software security – don’t forget it! Make sure every laptop requires a password to access it, and give guidelines on how to create the most secure passwords possible. Even better, don’t let your users choose their password. It’s not just a pain if they forget, but you can make sure they’re a sight more complicated than their wife’s birthday.

4. Install security software
Security software like McAfee’s Total Protection provide high levels of security for the desktop environment, protecting against threats such as viruses, spyware and Trojans. An absolute must for any computer whether it’s a desktop or a laptop, but perhaps arguably more important on a laptop given it’s increased use out of the corporate network.

5. Backup regularly (or even better, don’t use local storage at all)
The best way to protect corporate information on a laptop is to not store any corporate data on it. But since most organisations use desktop email clients that store a copy of their email on the computer (e.g. Microsoft Outlook), there will always be a bit of data on the laptop. The best advice here is to avoid attaching documents to emails (if they’re internal, send links to their location on the server, as these won’t work without VPN authentication outside the office) or use external services like Dropbox which again require passwords. If data does need to live on the laptop, just make sure it’s regularly backed up on the server so if the laptop does go missing, you’re not left losing a year’s work.

So this is a short list of the absolute bare minimum you should do to protect your laptops. There are many other, more sophisticated steps we would recommend as your business grows (such as data encryption, remote lock & wipe software etc.), but if you’re a small business looking for the basics, this is the best place to start.

How do you think we did? What are your top 5 absolute security essentials?

A booming culture of female entrepreneurs?

There’s good news for budding female entrepreneurs this week. According to the networking community Everywoman, the number of women running businesses should accelerate by 100,000 over the next ten years. Small Business UK reports that there are currently about 620,000 majority women-owned businesses in the UK, so by 2021 this could rise to over 700,000. The Federation of Small Businesses is partnering with Everywoman to champion the cause of female entrepreneurship. 

With such encouraging figures and major organisations offering their support, it feels to us as if there will be plenty more leading female business women taking centre stage over the next decade. Especially as past stereotypes disappear and society becomes more accepting of strong female entrepreneurs.

In the mean time, looking at
the successful female entrepreneurs out there, (Hilary Devey, Sara Murray, Martha Lane Fox, Natalie Massenet, Sarah Beeny and others) can provide fantastic inspiration for those women who esteem to run their own business.

So what are your views? Are we on the cusp of a booming culture of female entrepreneurship or are there still many more hurdles to be negotiated?

UK office workers cut down on printing as firms become more environmentally conscious

According to a survey of 200 business users, Lexmark have revealed that 53 percent have cut down on the amount of general printing they do in the work environment, proving that they are environmentally conscious.

Office workers are printing 73 percent less emails than they were a year ago, and 41 percent claim to be more restrained when it came to printing financial records.

However, only 43 percent of those surveyed believe in the paperless office ideal but even then they still think that it is unlikely to happen.  A third said that modern operations will prevent the idea being implemented.

The survey also found that seven in ten firms recycle paper once it has been used and 40 percent believe that if they manage print needs better they will be able to save between five and 20 percent on costs this year.

Nearly two thirds of those surveyed said that they forget to use the duplex printing function that makes it possible to print on both sides of the paper. From those who print emails regularly, 23 percent said that the last page in the batch of documents usually contains a phrase similar to “please think twice about printing this message.”

How do you feel about sustainable printing? Do you think it has become easier now that we can store information digitally and access it on the-go?

You can read the original article here.