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Top ten security tips for mobile workers

Between 1 March 2013 and 28 February 2014, 183,523 laptops, tablets and phones were reported stolen.

1. Use a password, stupid

It sounds so obvious, so why some people often don't take this simple precaution is beyond us: make sure you have a password activated on your laptop. Don't make it too simple either. All it takes is for someone to be looking over your shoulder and they have access to all your files and possibly your company network. 

2. Security at your fingertips

If you want to go a step further, buy a laptop that includes a fingerprint reader. Using this extra layer of protection you can use it on its own or, in Windows 10, double up your defences by using both the fingerprint reader and a password to log in means you'll have the safest laptop around. 

3. Lock up your files

If you use sensitive files, whether that's customer data or information critical to your business, then encrypt them. Ideally, encrypt your whole drive. You can use third-party tools like BestCrypt, but the best option is a laptop with a TPM chip inside this stands for Trusted Platform Module, and you'll only find them in professional grade rather than consumer laptops which you can then tie in with BitLocker. It's only available with certain versions of Windows, so speak to your IT department about it. 

4. Label it, track it

If you lost your laptop, would you even know its serial code? At the very least take a note of this basic information, but also consider using asset labels. Not only do they put off thieves, some are even trackable so that if the worst does happen, you might just be able to reclaim it. 

5. Keep your laptop updated

We know it's tempting to switch off automatic updates, but they often include security features that plug the inevitable holes. And why not go the whole hog: If you're currently using a Windows 7 or 8 machine, Windows 10's security updates alone are a good reason to upgrade.

6. Stop nosy neighbours

If you want to work on secure information when on the move, but you don't want your fellow train passengers to read about it when they get bored of The Telegraph's financial pages, consider a screen protector that doubles as a privacy filter. 3M's range is probably the best known, and are available for most sizes of laptop. 

security private booth

7. Beware the inside job

Many thefts happen in the safety of your own office, so if you can then take your laptop with you (and yes, that's an excellent argument for buying a new light laptop, particularly if it has a detachable screen that you can then use as a tablet). If you can't, consider locking it down using the Kensington slot.

8. Stay aware of your surroundings

Like moths drawn to a monetary flame, thieves operate in all the public places you like to work in. They love to grab bags in particular, so always keep yours in view and be aware that the person asking you for the time might be working in tandem with someone else stealing your bag. 

9. Don't forget your phone

If you lost your phone, what would you do? It might have basic password protection, but that's easy to break. Suddenly, all your company data, your emails, your photos, are there for people to see. Keeping it safe means not only beefed-up passwords but having the ability to remote wipe it if things go wrong. Every model is different but remote-wipe protection is available for all modern phones, so find out how to enforce this on your phone before it's too late.

10. Buy a laptop with professional security features

Ultimately, you need a laptop that's fully protected and that means something designed for use in business rather than the living room. That's why new HP laptops such as the HP Elite x2 1011 pack in a huge number of security features quite aside from the fact that it looks great and even has a detachable screen, making it a true 2-in-1 device.

This can be particularly useful for meetings. Need to have all the info to hand and want to share it with your boss? Detach the screen and use it as a tablet. It's instant and means the HP Elite x2 is always with you, safe from harm.

If you buy the power keyboard which has a built-in battery to extend life there's extra protection thanks to the fingerprint reader and smart card reader. Thanks to a soldered-in TPM chip, you can also encrypt it fully using BitLocker. For extra simplicity, if you opt for the HP Elite x2 with an SED (self-encrypting drive) at time of purchase then everything is done for you. 

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the HP Elite x2's security features. Find out more by visiting HP's website. And to keep up to date with all HP's latest news, head to HP Business Now.

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