Protecting Your Digital Lifestyle

If you are anything like me, you love your gadgets! I would go crazy without my Samsung Blackjack. I keep music on it, my E-mail is there, not to mention all my contacts! This is my central hub of communication! Even my Internet access – when i am not on the office network, i use my Blackjack to connect. Beautiful! Now this brings me to my laptop, what if i lose this? Both are synchronised with our Exchange server, but what about sensitive documents on the local disk?? Hmmm… Here are some suggestions!

The Almighty Insurance

Your insurance should cover your digital gear, but take the time to ensure that your coverage is adequate. Laptops, cameras, and audio players (iPod etc.) are often used on the go. Ask your insurance company if the gear is covered when you are using it outside of the house. Coverage amounts and deductibles are also important. Insurance should cover the full value of your gear: preferably, replacement value versus the cash value when you bought it. Yet keep in mind that your deductible may be higher than the cost of smaller items, and your plan may only cover certain events. Ensure that any loss is covered under your policy. You’ll probably pay extra for flood insurance.

Register Your Products

Many people overlook product registration, or refuse to do it because they fear that their information can be used for marketing purposes. Take the time to mail in the warranty and register your new gear.  One advantage of completing your product registration is that the company can contact you in the event of a recall. After the battery recalls of the past few years, this should be a no-brainer. While registration won’t help you recover something in the event of theft, it will help you prove ownership.

No, not cereal… Serial!

If your camera or computer were stolen, would you know the serial number? Probably not-unless you wrote it down. A serial number will help if you report a stolen item. The police can match serial numbers on recovered property. Your insurance agent may also need the serial number for claims. So make a list of serial numbers and product information, including brands and model numbers. Store the list in your safe-deposit box. You may also want to include photographs.

Please Call Me

Many gadgets let you enter your contact information. Make sure the address and phone numbers you enter are current. If the gadget is found, it can be returned easily. You can also create a Read Me file containing your contact information. Put it on memory cards for cameras and other gadgets. This assumes, of course, that the person finding the gadget is honest. You can’t count on that. So consider buying a product such as STOP (Security Tracking of Office Property) tags. These tags can’t be removed without damaging a gadget’s case, and further, the tag leaves an indelible mark on the case in the event it is removed. This makes reselling your gadget difficult if not impossible. Another benefit is that STOP can return recovered items to you, for a nominal one-time fee (about $25) for the service.

Laptop Security

You’ve probably installed anti-spyware and anti-virus software. You should also think about physical theft. Protect your data with encryption software which prevents thieves from accessing sensitive data on the stolen laptop. Tracking software is also a good idea. When connected to the Internet, a stolen laptop sends a signal to the software’s publisher. This helps police locate the laptop. Computrace and XTool are just two of the vendors that make tracking programs.

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