Using your laptop to get work done away from your office or on the road is becoming widely accepted. But this rapid growth in laptop computing has made portable systems the target for theft around the world. If your laptop computer is stolen, company information can be exposed, as well as your personal and financial information. Use these tips to learn how you can keep your laptop more secure when you're on the road.

  1. Avoid using computer bags. Computer bags can make it obvious that you're carrying a laptop. Instead, try toting your laptop in something more common like a padded briefcase or suitcase.

  2. Never leave access numbers or passwords in your carrying case. Keeping your password with your laptop is like keeping the keys in the car. Without your password or important access numbers it will be more difficult for a thief to access your personal and corporate information.

  3. Carry your laptop with you. Always take your laptop on the plane or train rather thaen checking it with your luggage. It's easy to lose luggage and it's just as easy to lose your laptop. If you're traveling by car, keep your laptop out of sight. For example, lock it in the trunk when you're not using it.

  4. Encrypt your data. If someone should get your laptop and gain access to your files, encryption can give you another layer of protection. With Windows XP and Windows Vista you can choose to encrypt files and folders. Then, even if someone gains access to an important file, they can't decrypt it and see your information. Learn more about how to encrypt your data with Windows XP or encrypt your data with Windows Vista.

  5. Keep your eye on your laptop. When you go through airport security don't lose sight of your bag. Hold your bag until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector. Many bags look alike and yours can easily be lost in the shuffle.

For more tips, read the full article at www.microsoft.com/atwork/stayconnected/laptopsecurity.mspx.