Cisco Blogs

Confessions of a Laptop Owner

February 9, 2010 - 3 Comments

I have a confession to make. I sometimes leave my company-issued laptop in my car when I run errands between work and home. My laptop bag, particularly after I have stuffed it with papers, lunchbox, laptop, cords and other detritus, feels like a sack of bricks on my shoulder. When running into the supermarket with my environmentally friendly cloth shopping bag, the last thing I want is an extra 50 pounds to carry around. Or let’s say I am going into a restaurant for a relaxing dinner. Do I carry my laptop with me or leave it in the car? Remember, if I bring it with me, I have to carry it to the restroom as well.

There’s another thing. My laptop bag is ugly. I minimize the time I have to walk around with it. As a woman, I would like to look professional and feminine, so grungy laptop backpacks or the ubiquitous black vinyl shoulder strap bags emblazoned with tech company logos are out.

But this is a problem. According to the non-profit Open Security Foundation’s DataLoss Database, 64 percent of data loss incidents occur off company grounds, and the single most frequent cause is laptop theft (20 percent of incidents; hacking came in second at 18 percent). This is not only a problem for me, it is a problem for companies, because employees will spend more time outside the office in the future rather than less, and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and intellectual property are at risk. I have no excuse for being lazy about carrying my laptop around. Ultimately, however, companies will need to come up with policies that people like me can live with, if they want to stem the tide of company laptops that are being lost or stolen every day. Here are some ideas for addressing this problem:

  • Most Laptop Thefts Occur From Cars: Anecdotal evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of stolen company laptops are taken from cars. A review of incident reports suggests hiding them in trunks or out of view does not provide much safety, either, especially if employees lock laptops in trunks upon arriving at their destination, giving the thief visual evidence of the prize. Stow your laptop in your trunk before setting out if you must leave it in your car, or lock it to a sturdy part of the trunk such as the trunk hinge.
  • Lighter Options: I have been considering my husband’s laptop bag. It is a humble black vinyl backpack, but it fits very snugly against his back, and has a nice padded shoulder strap. He can easily walk around with it on his back for hours and never seems to notice the weight. If you are unmoved by fashion, by all means, I would recommend buying one. If you do care about looks, however, consider a laptop bag on wheels, or one of the more attractive backpack-type options that can be found on the web. Another option is to invest in one of the recent proliferation of very light, thin laptops next time you trade up.
  • Encryption Protects Your Data Even If You Lose Your Laptop: Ensuring that your disk is encrypted will protect your personal data and your company’s intellectual property from misuse. Anecdotal data suggests that most stolen laptops are destined for quick resale, meaning that unencrypted files could end up literally anywhere. Check your company’s policies on disk encryption. Companies may provide encryption software for free or even require it, and once installed, it requires little to no maintenance. This is a no-brainer.
  • Regular Backups Mean Quicker Recovery: The vast majority of stolen laptops are never returned to their owners. Taking the few extra minutes required each week to back up files can cushion the blow of starting over, and your teammates will not thank you for their lost productivity or missed deadlines because you failed to backup your files.
  • Most Thefts Are Targets of Opportunity: While it is possible that specific individuals may be targeted because of their unique access, most laptops are stolen simply when the opportunity presents itself. Reviewing theft reports suggests that a large percentage of stolen laptops belonged to employees with higher rates of travel and customer interaction. Following theft from cars, the second most frequent scenario involves laptops left at public places such as restaurants or airport lounges. Treat your laptop as you would your wallet. Carry it with you or leave it at home.


In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. I've always found it somewhat amusing that when stopping at Motorway services in the UK one can see a procession of road warriors toting hefty great laptop bags around with them because they've been told, probably on pain of dismissal, that leaving the laptop in the car is not permissible.Isn't it ironic that a device designed to be 'portable' has become such a burden in such a small period of time. I can see that the iPad could well be the start of a whole new world of truly portable computing for the road warrior and that someday sson we'll be looking at laptops in the same way we now look at the first mobile phones and thinking how on earth did we carry those around!"""^0^1^^^0^0 30342^7293^Alan^^^^2010-06-04 16:42:50^2010-06-04 16:42:50^Very good write up. One question, will the current 6500 chassis and modules support the new Supervisor engine that will provide 80Gbps per slot ?^0^1^^^0^0 30722^8992^Stamp Catalog^^^^2010-06-07 18:16:17^2010-06-07 18:16:17^thus, if you have videos don't host it in your website. Better yet upload to youtube then just put it your website. When someone views it, they are consuming the bandwidth of youtube^0^1^^^0^0 30560^8992^Jim Strutzin^^^^2010-06-04 15:59:35^2010-06-04 15:59:35^The 51 percent annual growth rate for Latin America is a low estimate in my opinion. After living in Mexico and areas of South America for the past 3 years, I have witnesses an explosive growth rate yet internet penetration statistics show this region in the low 30 percent range. The number of websites in Spanish are currently growing at an exponential rate.^0^1^^^0^0 36769^9275^Marcus Taylor^^^^2010-08-12 16:09:03^2010-08-12 16:09:03^Awesome video! Loving the autotune going on by the Cisco rappers! Next up T Pain ft. Cisco ;)^0^1^^^0^0 30140^8983^Doug Taylor^^^^2010-06-01 17:00:04^2010-06-01 17:00:04^No, I personally think Facebook was going way too far originally. You could Google search someone and find out things that person probably didn't want you to know. I feel the more options Facebook gives it's users to choose and select what they want public and what they want private is the best way to go.^0^1^^^0^0 23997^8711^MMerryman^^^^2010-03-27 20:54:30^2010-03-27 20:54:30^How refreshing to get away from digital technology! I hope to do this on vacation soon!^0^1^^^0^0 23998^8711^Louisa L^^^^2010-03-27 20:54:30^2010-03-27 20:54:30^We had a 3 day power cut the other day and everything I went to do I realised relied on the internet or electricity. Same when just the internet is cut off say when you move into a new house, I don't even realise how much when I have any little problem I use the internet to solve it.On the other hand as others have said there is something horribly addictive about the internet. There is no 'I'll just check my emails and that's it' cos you always end up doing something else! Like right now I'm supposed to be studying for uni! Argh better go and do it!^0^1^^^0^0 36933^9275^SoGood^^^^2010-08-12 19:39:22^2010-08-12 19:39:22^I like the style, suit with sneakers to go with the music. It may become a trend.^0^1^^^0^0 24000^8213^Josh^^^^2010-03-27 16:19:05^2010-03-27 16:19:05^Really amazing, I want to go New Zealand^0^1^^^0^0 24002^8546^Jay Courtland^^^^2010-03-27 20:59:28^2010-03-27 20:59:28^Keep it up Cisco! I love it. I'm involved in the information industry with Dish satellite TV, this all is of great interest to me.^0^1^^^0^0 24003^8711^Cara Menggunakan ^^^^2010-03-27 20:55:07^2010-03-27 20:55:07^Absolutely dependent. It’s funny, what I notice most when my Internet goes down, or I am in an unplugged area for a while, is not that I can’t do specific tasks, but that I don’t have the constant reassurance of being online. Every half and hour or hour, I’d get up, go to check my email or online stats, and be thrown in to a tizzy when I couldn’t.^0^1^^^0^0 24026^8711^Adam^^^^2010-03-28 23:30:27^2010-03-28 23:30:27^I would have a tough time if I couldn't go to the office for a month. I do most of my work in an office of some sort. It is either in my home office or my other work office. I love both and i guess I could do my work at a resort with internet, but I can do more work in my own office setting.^0^1^^^0^0 24006^8711^muhammed^^^^2010-03-27 20:56:39^2010-03-27 20:56:39^I could actually do my job without going to office as I only work through the internet, and I ´m allowed to work where I want If I work good. But I wouldn ´t like to work at home for a long time, maybe one or two weeks, not any day longer. I would miss my colleagues to much. A day without coffee would also be very horrible, but I think it would work. I could do my job without IM, but not without e-mail or^0^1^^^0^0 25903^8689^Tim^^^^2010-04-22 23:28:22^2010-04-22 23:28:22^Very well done video. I can't wait until everyone has something like this for personal use :)^0^1^^^0^0 24015^8711^Tom Livi^^^^2010-03-28 23:30:27^2010-03-28 23:30:27^Without the internet we would be all done for. I think it would create a lot of problems. Even though its frustrating at times the internet is the greatest invention.^0^1^^^0^0 24010^8711^Joaquin^^^^2010-03-27 20:54:30^2010-03-27 20:54:30^What would I do without the internet? Ha I can't even imagine. I've had the bad fortune of being deprived from the internet in a few occasions, but for two days at most - it wasn't good. Most things I do are online including my business and information acquiring.^0^1^^^0^0 25732^8781^Ashish^^^^2010-04-19 00:50:57^2010-04-19 00:50:57^Cisco products are always great to use....Ipad is something i am desperately waiting for....^0^1^^^0^0 24012^8287^Jason Hale^^^^2010-04-07 16:55:32^2010-04-07 16:55:32^I've always argued that advances in communication have always been pivotal in changing civilization as a whole. What's interesting though is that things used to arrive in big ways.. printing press, telephone, etc.. nowadays things are changing and improving everyday in incremental ways. It's quite different, but still the same. Enhancements in communication can only be good markers for society as a whole.^0^1^^^0^0 24014^8704^Lauren Hassman^^^^2010-03-28 06:24:42^2010-03-28 06:24:42^Sooner or later it is going to happen, people are going to have to adapt. As our generation gets older I think we will see it happen.^0^1^^^0^0 24077^8711^Lisa Douglas^^^^2010-03-29 04:58:11^2010-03-29 04:58:11^Our phones and internet were out for one day last week and it was a major disruption to the entire workday. I think if we just had the internet we could still be productive, but being without both was a major disaster.^0^1^^^0^0 24078^7470^Jarrod^^^^2010-03-29 02:37:29^2010-03-29 02:37:29^I've been very interested in Russia lately. I just saw where the richest man in Russia is fixing to purchase the New Jersey Nets basketball team. They had a 60 minutes episode about him tonight.^0^1^^^0^0 24079^8711^Kris^^^^2010-03-29 04:58:11^2010-03-29 04:58:11^The internet is an interesting paradox. I agree with the comment above that pointed out the fact that sometimes the internet can keep us from getting our work done. Information overload is a very powerful source. However, it is hard to imagine a world without the net, and I for one do not want to see that day.^0^1^^^0^0 24080^8711^دليل^^^^2010-03-29 04:58:11^2010-03-29 04:58:11^nope can’t live with out the internet for one day it’s like a part of my life nowWill become more difficult without the InternetBecause it has become all the job via the InternetThanks^0^1^^^0^0 24032^8685^Jack^^^^2010-04-02 21:40:27^2010-04-02 21:40:27^Great! The broadplan they have launched is simply great. Atleast now people from home can access their work sites and business website in full speed. Also, its an advantage to the web hosting industry as people can also get the advantage from the web hosting network connectivity.^0^1^^^0^0 24033^8711^Freeman^^^^2010-03-28 23:30:27^2010-03-28 23:30:27^I see everything i do as internet marketing actually, and i've had to do it with a dial-up modem for a long time and it's very, very hard because you will get very angry when you're uploading some video of 5 megs in one hour and at 98% your modem disconnects.^0^1^^^0^0 25507^8747^Kipp^^^^2010-04-19 01:05:31^2010-04-19 01:05:31^Wow...I need an Ipad especially with the webex app. Online meetings are convenient anyway and now on an Ipad. It's a great time to be alive.^0^1^^^0^0 27526^8859^Jon Craig^^^^2010-05-04 05:44:24^2010-05-04 05:44:24^Uh yeah that bus rocks! Did Cisco do the interative tour technology on it as well?^0^1^^^0^0 24036^8711^Rondi^^^^2010-03-28 23:30:27^2010-03-28 23:30:27^I cannot imagine not being able to go on the internet at least once a day...I have to admit, I have even taken my laptop on vacations..but I do have scheduled times when I am online.WAHM Resource Site^0^1^^^0^0 25905^8711^Deidre Anderson^^^^2010-04-15 05:57:48^2010-04-15 05:57:48^"It's funny to me how most everyone is commenting how they absolutely could not live without the internet, however, no one has commented on the fact that the enemies of the U.S. are aware of our internet/technology/electricity dependence and how vulnerable a position that puts us in. Many believe that the next terrorist attack on our country will be an E.M.P. (or electromagnetic pulse) attack. If you are a fan of the T.V. show 24"", you saw the probable effects of a mini-E.M.P. attack on a recent episode (I think it was last week), in which the terrorists hit the Counter Terrorism Unit with an E.M.P. and took them out of business for quite a while. In reality, though, the E.M.P. would be aimed at taking out any and all electrical devices in our country.........or so they say. I'm not trying to scare everyone, but it's something to think about."

  2. I agree with Henry...putting your complanies information is not worth it in today's economic times. I find it better to take the laptop home and then run the errands. What's worse going out of the way to make a quick drop off or a possible lawsuit for your company for loss of vital inforamtion. Assuming you deal with that type of information.

  3. Dear Confessional...Thanks for sharing. I feel your pain. Leave your laptop bag at home. Use a smartphone to track your email and appts when you are on the run. If you want to take it to the next level, buy a netbook (HP makes them in pink and red) for brief reading and emailing on the go. Or hold out for an iPad or Slate like me.