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Six Steps to Train Robust Laptop Security

Six Steps to Train Robust Laptop Security

If you've ever sought security answers like "how to secure my work computer" and "laptop security antivirus," this article is tailored for you. Here, we address common queries regarding company laptop security such as:

How do I maintain my laptop's security on public networks?
What is the best security system for my computer?
Is my laptop password secure?

There are several actions you can take to better protect your work laptop. Keep reading to discover six steps towards securing your company laptop.

Company laptops store various valuable information, ranging from passwords and confidential documents to financial and personal data. This makes them enticing targets for cyber attackers, who can easily exploit unknown security vulnerabilities to access this wealth of data.

As we increasingly work "on the go" from locations outside the office, the physical security of laptops becomes more concerning. These devices attract thieves for two reasons: they typically carry high price tags, and they provide a gateway to valuable files and data.

The big picture? If your company laptop is stolen or hacked, you're vulnerable to extortion, putting you and your company at risk of data breaches and financial losses.

Strong laptop protection entails implementing behaviors, software, and hardware that keep your data privacy and devices secure. Most secure laptops have a better chance of withstanding breach attempts compared to unprotected ones. Here are six crucial laptop security elements, including practices to adopt and avoid.

Step 1: Establish Complex Passwords in Critical Locations

While we don't advocate relying solely on passwords, they serve as a good starting point for enhancing laptop security. Login passwords are crucial to prevent unauthorized access to your files upon boot-up, especially if you frequently use your laptop in public places, including the office. Needless to say, these passwords should be unique and difficult to guess. Consider using numbers, symbols, or complete sentences or phrases as passwords—but avoid using your birth date, for instance.

As you continue strengthening your laptop security, consider not using passwords altogether. By employing single sign-on solutions, for example, you can access multiple different applications with just one set of login credentials linked to your laptop. Your IT admin can also experiment with various passwordless authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication and magic email links, as they all present safer alternatives to storing and remembering passwords.


  • Set complex passwords or passphrases to log into your laptop.
  • Use a password-protected screensaver when stepping away.
  • Utilize authentication solutions and methods that reduce password usage, such as single sign-on.


  • Reuse the same password across different accounts.
  • Share passwords with others, including colleagues.
  • Use password managers or automatic login features in browsers and websites—they're vulnerable to data breaches.

Step #2: Update Your Programs, Browser, and Laptop Security Software

Does your laptop need antivirus software? The answer is yes. Company laptops tend to already have antivirus software installed, which handles heavy lifting for end-users. However, concerning laptop security software, there are several things you can also do to protect your device.

Firstly, monitor what you download—files and updates containing strange words or extensions could spell trouble. If in doubt, use your company's antivirus to scan any files before opening them. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox might update automatically, but occasionally restarting your browser ensures security updates are applied. Similarly, enabling automatic updates or manually updating your operating system and programs will help mitigate vulnerabilities.

Virus detection relies on current signature and virus definitions, so it's best to use software with automatic definition updates. If this feature isn't available, set regular reminders to manually update these definitions on your machine.


  • Scan files with antivirus software before opening them.
  • Regularly update your antivirus software's virus definitions.
  • Enable automatic updates for your browser, programs, and operating system.


  • Download files indiscriminately or visit suspicious websites.
  • Let your security software and virus definitions expire.

Step #3: Encrypt Your Hard Drive and Back Up Your Data

Of all the steps to take, this could arguably be the strongest defense against theft and cyber attacks. The best laptop protection involves encryption. Login passwords alone don't guarantee protection: criminals can remove your laptop's hard drive and directly read files, and specialized hackers can bypass your operating system's login screen.

Encryption transforms files and data into code, obscuring the actual content and making it difficult for attackers to steal your information. By encrypting your hard drive, hackers and thieves won't be able to boot your laptop or access any files on the hard drive without entering the correct encryption key. As a result, encryption provides strong protection against unwanted access attempts—though you may want to store the encryption key on a separate device, such as a USB drive or your phone.

If something jeopardizes your files, having the latest data backup can be the difference between inconvenience and disaster. Cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive provide means for backing up data, as do operating systems like Windows and macOS. You can also use external drives, such as USB and external hard drives.

Regardless of the method you choose, the key is to regularly back up your data—especially after creating files that must not be lost. Just like your hard drive, encrypting your backups is a sensible idea for maximum protection.


  • Encrypt your hard drive.
  • Regularly back up your data, and encrypt those backups as well.
  • Keep encryption keys away from your laptop.


Delay backing up your files, especially when critical work is ongoing.

Leave your backups and hard drive unencrypted.

Step #4: Enhance Your Authentication

Your social, professional, and financial accounts are likely accessible from your laptop, so it's crucial to implement online security measures to protect them. Implementing multi-factor authentication means attackers won't be able to access your accounts even with correct login credentials.

However, not all authentication factors offer the same protection. Online account providers often send six-digit verification codes to users' phones as a form of authentication—but attackers can easily intercept these messages and use the codes themselves.

Hardware tokens, like YubiKeys, provide a more effective laptop security layer. By plugging this security device into your laptop, you can authenticate web logins alongside or as a substitute for your password. Many commonly used online services, from Windows to Google, support YubiKey-based authentication. Attackers can't replicate or interfere with YubiKeys, though you should still keep them secure.


  • Use YubiKeys, authentication apps, and other authentication tokens for logins.
  • If possible, consider biometric authentication (e.g., fingerprint scans).


  • Rely on passwords or SMS codes alone to protect your accounts.
  • Similarly, don't rely on security question answers—they're easily guessed by others.

Step #5: Maintain Privacy in Public Spaces

While the global data privacy landscape continues to evolve, there are several things you can do to enhance your online privacy, regardless of jurisdiction.

Privacy screens that limit viewing angles are useful if you work in public places. Though seemingly unlikely, shoulder surfing attacks can indeed happen, so privacy screens are worth using to block unwanted views of your screen—especially if you deal with sensitive company data.

If your laptop has a webcam, get a physical cover for it. Hackers can use your webcam as a tool to spy on you through remote administration tools. Although the LED light next to your camera should always be on when the camera is active, attackers can disable the LED in Windows and MacOS. Even the best laptop security software can't create a physical barrier: a physical cover is the only surefire protection, only removing it when using the camera.

VPNs add another layer of internet security to your

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