Laptop theft is a huge problem. It is common nowadays to use a laptop to get work done away from your home or office. Unfortunately, the mobility and technology that make laptops so valuable also make them the target for theft around the world.If your laptop is stolen, company information can be exposed, as well as your personal information can lead to identity theft. In this hack, we’ll show you 5 essential tips to learn how you can keep your laptop more secure.

Tip #1: Never leave any passwords in your laptop case. If you do keep your passwords with your laptop, it’s much like keeping the keys in your car. Remember that without your passwords, it will be more difficult to unlock your computer and access your personal information.

Tip #2: Laptop theft is a crime of opportunity. Always take your laptop with you, and always keep your eye on it. For instance, if you’re meeting someone, lock your laptop in the trunk and make sure it’s stored out of the sight. Further more, try not to leave your laptop in an accessible area, such as your hotel’s front desk. If you do have a safe or a security cable, use it.

Tip #3: Have sensitive data? Encrypt it. If someone gets your laptop and gains access to your files, encryption can give you an extra layer of protection. Programs such as TrueCrypt make the job very easy. Windows users can use Encrypted File System (EFS) to encrypt files and folders.

Tip #4: Password protect your systems. Every laptop user should protect their laptop with startup passwords. Set a BIOS password to lock the system before the operating system even starts. Windows users can set a password to start Windows. Remember that startup passwords will prohibit any access to the computer at all.

Make sure you choose a good password – make it a long one and complex. Only hard-to-guess passwords will prevent thieves from guessing your password. If your laptop supports biometric authentication, you should use your fingerprint in place of a password.

Tip #5: If the worse happens, and your laptop does get stolen, wouldn’t it be great if you could trace it? There are companies that offer tracking software, allowing the stolen laptop to send its location (for example, LaptopLock). Unfortunately, those programs work only when the stolen laptop connects to the Internet.

Use these 5 tips to keep your laptop more secure when you’re on the road and off the house or work.