Physically secure your devices and data

Physically secure your devices and data

This is an essential security practice.

Your computer or laptop is the primary tool to create, access, process, and store your files, some of which are sensitive. It's becoming simpler to access and store important information on other devices as well, especially mobile ones. Computers and mobile devices offer easy access to the information you need: email, UDSIS, your bank account, Facebook, etc.—easy for you, and just as easy for anyone else who gets hold of your devices.

To protect your sensitive files and other information, including usernames and passwords, you must protect your devices from damage and theft, and you must prevent others from easily accessing your information in the event that your devices are stolen.


University employees and contractors are required to take precautions to prevent the physical loss or theft of IT devices or University information.

  • Do not leave your devices unattended in public areas.
  • Store devices in secure areas such as a locked desk or office.
  • Lock publicly-accessible non-portable devices to solid fixtures such as walls or tables to prevent theft.
  • Do not leave physical documents containing sensitive University information in public areas.

General guidelines

  • Do not leave your devices unattended in public areas.
  • Require a secure password to log in to your computer whenever you start or resume use.
  • Ensure that no one can see your usernames and passwords as you enter them (also called "shoulder surfing"), especially on mobile devices.
  • Back up your files regularly to prevent them from being lost if someone steals your device. Keep the backups in a separate, secure location so they cannot be stolen as well.
  • If you carry sensitive information on removable media (e.g., flash drives) or portable devices (e.g., laptops, phones, or tablets), you should encrypt that information to keep it secure in the event your device is lost or stolen.
  • Configure mobile devices so they can be remotely managed if lost or stolen.
  • If you're a student, register your device with UD Public Safety.
  • Plug your computer into a power strip to prevent damage from electrical surges.
  • Consider locking your computer to a desk or other piece of furniture.

External resources

LoJack (AbsoluteSoftware)
Commercial application to track and potentially recover a stolen computer.

Open source application for tracking your computer or Android phone.

Find my iPhone (Apple)
Apple app that is native to all Apple iOS devices and that helps users locate, lock, and wipe lost devices through iCloud.

Where's My Droid? (Lookout)
Android app that helps users locate Android devices on Google Maps or lock and wipe them through the Lookout website.