PYDA–Physical Security

This is the first part of the Protecting “Your Digital Assets” series of articles.  Today we are focusing on the simplest and most overlooked part of computer security, the physical security of the device itself.  If your computer or smartphone is stolen, well, it can be game over for your personal information.

Back when I was in computer school, we were admonished to “start at the physical level” when troubleshooting a computer problem. You know – is it plugged in, is it turned on? This is important advice when it comes to computer security, too. Your computers need to be physically secured from simple theft by an outsider or even a disgruntled employee. This means your server is in a dedicated closet or room, not out in the open office area, and there is a lock on the door. If you have security cameras, one should be pointed at the server location.

Desktop PCs can be physically secured with simple cable and lock kits. You should be using a user name and password to log in to your computer so that someone cannot just sit down, turn it on, and have unfettered access to your computer files.

Laptops, tablets, and smartphones need to be secured when mobile. Leaving your laptop visible on the backseat of your locked car is not secure; put it in the trunk if you can’t take it with you.  Using something like LoJack for Laptops or Prey is advised.

Leaving your phone out on a table or bar top is an open invitation to a snatch and grab artist. And ladies, the purse can be an easy place to lose your smartphone, too.  An interior zipper pocket can be your best solution, rather than carrying it on the outside pocket that was designed for it.  A software tracking and/or device wiping program is a particularly great addition to any mobile computing device, so you can find and recover your device, or delete your personal information and files remotely if your computer or smartphone becomes lost or is stolen.

And then there are the ubiquitous flash drives and external backup drives.  Here you need to keep your wits about you and don’t leave these little gems out in the open for anyone to snatch.  There are flash drives that come with password protection and encryption, and if your data is important, you should be using this type of media for storage.

So this is the first step in the process of creating a strong security profile for your business or personal information.  Please stay tuned for Part Two – Internet Security.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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