Business and charity

Laptop security guide for charities

Published: 20/11/2020

Is working from home the new normal? Who knows - but for now our laptops have become critical to keeping operations running and staying connected with friends, family and colleagues.

But with so much riding on the survival of our laptops during the pandemic, have you considered the potential impact should disaster strike - such as a cyber attack or coffee spill?

Here are some easy ways to make sure your organisation’s laptops stay protected.

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1. Install security software

No organisation, big or small, is immune to the impact of a cyber attack. In fact, a 2019 survey found that over 20% of organisations had experienced at least one data breach in the previous 12 months, with the average cost totalling £9,470 per charity.

The first thing to do is make sure you have robust security software installed on the devices to protect them from viruses and malware. Sometimes anti-virus software will be included with the laptops - but if not, it’s best to download some virus scanning software straight away.

2. Regularly clean your hard drive

It can seem like a lot of hassle to clean and defrag your hard drive, but it’s actually really important to make sure you do this regularly, and encourage your staff and volunteers to do the same - if for no other reason than to make your laptops work a lot faster!

3. Keep an eye on your surroundings

If you’re logging into your laptop from a remote location, keep an eye on what’s going on around you. Not only can connecting to a public Wi-Fi network make you more susceptible to hackers, but pretty much anyone will be able to take a quick glance over your shoulder and learn your account password.

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4. Don’t leave your laptop unattended

It’s a good idea not to leave laptops unattended unless you absolutely have to - even for short periods. This includes leaving your laptop at your business premises overnight.

If you have to leave a laptop unattended, you should either secure it in a purpose-built store or security cabinet, or - failing this - leave it out of sight in a locked room. If you’re staying in a hotel, they should have a safe you can stow your valuables in.

If you need to leave your laptop in the car, keep it locked in the boot rather than on the passenger seat. Be aware of people around you, especially when loading or unloading the car in a public place.

5. Regularly update your asset register

An asset register is a detailed list of all your assets, including information such as the serial number and name of the person the asset has been issued to.

Regularly updating your asset register will ensure you can make informed decisions about when to decommission and/or replenish your business equipment based on their current condition and value.

6. Invest in physical protection

Aside from the general software updates and hardware maintenance, it’s a good idea to physically protect your laptops as well. Purchasing sturdy cases and screen protectors will help to keep them laptop safe from spills, drops and scratches – particularly if your staff and volunteers are currently working from home.

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7. Back them up

Even if you do everything right, downloading all the right protective software and maintaining your hard drives every month, things can still go wrong. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a data backup, either on an external hard drive, online cloud (such as Google Drive or iCloud) or a shared space (such as SharePoint or Drop-box).

Protecting your charity (and your laptops)

When all else fails and your protective efforts have gone unrewarded, having suitable charity insurance in place will ensure you’re not left too out of pocket should you have a digital disaster.

With over thirty years’ experience and over 3,000 not-for-profit customers in the UK, we work with market-leading insurers to provide competitive coverage, expert consultation and specialist advice for charities, community groups and not for profit organisations.

Find out more about charity insurance with Endsleigh or get a quote.

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