Nov 16, 2007

Security cables

A little while back, the offices of two of my clients got broken into, only a couple of days apart. The similarities were weird! Both doctors’ offices, and both got 2 iMacs ripped off from the front desk.

This started to read like a Dickens novel: In one office, we had daily backups running to a server, and that office ran out the next day and got new machines (ultimately reimbursed by insurance). We restored from their backups, and they were back in business. In the other office, they had ignored warnings about backing up, and they had to re-input months of data. Some files, including pictures, could never be reproduced.

But in both cases, the entire situation could have been averted if security cables had been attached to the machines in the first place. Almost any computer — certainly any Mac — and many peripherals such as external hard drives come with little holes in the chassis that accommodate a security lock standardized by the peripheral manufacturer Kensington. Several companies make cables that fit into these holes, and are locked by key or combination.

It is nearly impossible to force the lock out of the hole without ruining the computer’s case (and thus its resale value), and most would-be burlgars don’t carry the bolt cutters necessary to sever the cables.

Here are some Amazon links to cables by Kensington and Targus. I bought a couple of each, and they’re fine. Be careful, as this one by Belkin (a company I usually like a lot for its quality and lifetime warranties) doesn’t fit some locks.

All of my home Macs, and their backup drives, are now locked down to their furniture, and I have a cable with me always for my laptop, in case I need to walk away from it in a busy environment.

Happy — and secure — computing!

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