Protect your devices

Your devices act as a gateway to your data. It is important to secure your device(s), both physically and digitally as well as the data accessed online.

Securing your device physically

Whether it be a laptop, mobile or tablet, any portable device is vulnerable to theft, loss, or vandalism so below are a set of precautions to ensure your device doesn't get left exposed to such threats.

  • Never leave your laptop or small device unattended, whether it is in the library, office and especially out in public.
  • If you are going out for coffee or lunch, either take your device with you or lock your device in a location out of view. However if there is a need for you to leave your device in an unsecured area, consider using a cable lock.
  • When transporting your device, it might be worth using a low-key shoulder bag, briefcase, or backpack. Avoid expensive bags that attract attention and may highlight you have expensive contents inside.

Locking your devices

One of the best security measures you can put in place to protect your information is to use a screen lock on your devices. This can be applied to all modern-day technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

Laptops and desktop computers

Most computers and their operating systems allow for password protected screen savers. This means that after a period of inactivity, not only does your screen saver kick in, but when the computer is awoken, your password is required before access to your data is afforded. It’s advised you have your screen saver set to initiate after a sensible period of inactivity for your needs.

The University have provided a guideline on how to do this for both Windows and Mac OSX.

Mobile phones and tablets

Mobile phones and tablets can be secured in many ways. Whilst PINs are simple and easy enough to remember, usually a four number sequence isn't enough as this can be guessed. Technologies such as pattern recognition, finger print scanning and facial recognition are more unique to you which provides increased security. 

Setting your devices to lock automatically after a short period inactivity will ensure that you are minimising the risk of unauthorised access to your device and its information. This will also reduce the amount of pocket (or bag) dialling carried out without your knowledge.

Also, modern devices either encrypt their storage by default, or provide this feature. This can protect your data and should be set up. More information can be found about encryption on the Protect your data page.

Lost or stolen

Losing or having your device stolen can be scary and potentially dangerous, which may result in unauthorised access to your data. However, there are a set of precautions you can take to protect your device(s).

  • Install a 'Find my device' software/app client on your device. For Apple OS device users, iCloud provides this functionality natively.
  • Keep your devices with you.
  • Know your environment.