The security measures described in this post have been proven to be effective in use when properly implemented and used in conjunction with other measures such as normal building security.
Although generally supported and recommended by Police and Insurers, as with all security measures the ultimate responsibility rests with the user to ensure that the options chosen are appropriate for the environment in which they will be used.
A number of inexpensive products are available to physically restrict access to, or prevent the unauthorised removal of individual items of equipment.
Designed for use in conjunction with existing building security measures, when installed and used properly such products offer an excellent second line of defence against the thief and your Insurers or Local Crime Prevention Officer will be pleased to offer advice on what may be suitable for your environment and to provide details of reputable suppliers.
For convenience it will be helpful to consider the available options under the following headings:
Traditional safes and locked stationery cabinets can be used to protect equipment against theft, however these units generally offer no more than a secure overnight storage area for equipment and are therefore of limited practical use – the physical action of repeatedly plugging together and unplugging electrical connectors is likely to result in early failure of the contact points.
Specialist ‘enclosure’ systems for items such as PC’s and projectors are available at a fraction of the cost of a good safe.
These will typically allow such items to be secured in place, preventing unauthorised removal of the equipment but allowing access to all main controls even whilst the unit is secured.
Enclosures are normally designed to attach directly to the desk or floor via screw or bolt fixings and can facilitate individual PC’s and towers to multiple individual compartments to multiple group storage. Mobile trolley type multi-storage modules for laptops are also becoming increasingly popular.
PC’s and Towers
Individual PC’s and towers can be contained in a variety of different ways, from fixed to the floor, on top of the desk, the side of the desk, under the desk to even capturing the flat screen with the PC in one.
Laptop Computers have a high initial value and are popular targets for thieves. They command a high second user value as they are readily disposable on the second hand market. In all probability a stolen unit will also have at least some personal data stored on the hard drive which could be embarrassing or commercially costly should an external party gain access to it and could possibly even lead to prosecution under the Data Protection Act. Individual Laptop Security is broken down into multiple options.
In Car Laptop Security – essentially a safe large enough to accommodate a laptop bag which is secured in the boot of the car, either by fixing directly to the chassis or by using no damage heavy duty tethers. Easy access hinges and locking is preferred to allow quick access and security.
Individual Laptop Security (Shared Spaces) may be an individual box provided in a system which can be expanded by adding and securing additional boxes into a unit. Alternatively, individual laptop security may be in the form of a cabinet which has hinged doors. These usually come in a pre-set number of compartments.
Individual Coin-Operated Laptop Security and Charging in Public Spaces. Individual laptops can be secured in public spaces using coin-operated cabinets. These allow storage and charging facilities in public spaces and the cost charged by the owner for storage and re-charging, contributes towards the electricity used. The coin-operated facility normally comes in a bank of units, allowing convenient storage and good fixing against a wall.
Group Laptop Security and Charging may provided by Laptop Cabinets which are secured by one door. The cabinets have multiple shelves inside and may incorporate charging facilities and networking solutions. It is important to remember that power surges may be caused by the owner turning the units on at once – 30 laptops starting at one time may trip the mains electricity. A phased or ‘soft start’ system is essential, as well as surge protection from external sources.
Laptop Cabinets (Fixed or Mobile)
Fixed cabinets are similar in size to a standard filing cabinet and therefore fit nicely in an office environment. They are used where compartments are allocated on a permanent basis for the use of one room. Fixed laptop cabinets are available in a large variety of sizes.
Mobile Laptop Trolleys are generally used to secure laptop computers when they are being shared by user groups, i.e. 16 or 32 compartment laptop trolleys being wheeled between classrooms or in training centres. They are available in a large range of sizes.
Advantages of these are numerous when dealing with large numbers of laptops, and can facilitate charging and networking whilst locked in the cabinet. The trolley itself may be secured via a docking system attached to the fabric of the building.
An obvious advantage of a specialist enclosure system is that in addition to the equipment being secured against unauthorised removal, access to internal components (such as PC expansion boards, memory, etc.) is also prevented. Check the trolley base and wheels for durability. Heavy duty chassis and trolley wheels will be able to withstand the rigours of regular transportation.