Physical Security

Physical security means taking measures to protect the computer itself and all of the data that is on it. Trust no one when it comes to taking care of your computer and data.

General Best Practices

  • "Lock" Your Computer It is a natural habit to lock your home when you leave for work, or lock your vehicle when you go into a store, but we don't always think about locking our computers. If you don't know how to lock your computer, use these instructions for Windows, instructions for Macintosh.
  • Password Security These days you need a password for everything. Trying to remember all of your passwords can be difficult.
    • You should never write down your passwords.
    • If you are writing down your passwords keep them separate from your computer.
    • For information about how to create secure passwords, go to the password policy page.

Away from the Office: Laptops and Mobile Devices

Employees are often in possession of items (laptop computers, keys, ID cards, etc.) that provide access to important, and sometimes confidential, campus resources. With many people now carrying their computers with them, either via laptop, tablet or phone, it is important to know how to keep the device and your information safe when away from the office.

  • Keep a careful eye on your device Never leave it somewhere – even if you will be gone for "just a second." If you do need to leave it, use a security cable and lock it to a chair or table leg. Do not put your device on the floor!
  • Get it out of the car Don't leave your laptop in the car – not only could this lead to potential theft but the temperature in the car could do harm to your device.


We all travel with our devices and should be extra vigilant when in public places. Here are some good tips for keeping your laptop and mobile devices safe when in high traffic areas such as airports and hotels.

  • Air Travel
    • Keep your eye on your laptop or device as you go through security. The confusion and shuffle of security checkpoints can be fertile ground for theft.
    • Carry it on. Never check your laptop case. Once on the plane always keep your laptop with you; don't put it in the overhead storage bins as most laptop cases look alike and the overhead storage bins also increase the risk of damage to your laptop.
  • Hotels
    • Try not to leave your laptop or device out in your room.
    • Use the safe in your room if there is one.
    • Place your device in your regular suitcase and not a laptop bag.

Lost Laptop or Other Device

Where to turn for help: If your laptop is stolen, report it immediately to Campus Safety and the police.

If your stolen laptop or device was issued to you by the Colleges, also contact the Help Desk.

You may also wish to review the FTC's information for businesses about data breaches. If your personal laptop or device is stolen and you fear that your information may be misused by an identity thief, visit the FTC's Identity Theft page for more instructions.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.