2. Tag your laptop for quick recovery
Permanently marking or engraving the outer case of your laptop with your company name, address and phone number is the most basic way of increasing the odds of your machine being returned should it be carelessly misplaced.
Such a marking might also deter thieves, as it could make it harder to resell your machine.
Asset recovery service providers offer tags that cost anywhere from US$5 to $10 each. Typically the tags come with a 24-hour 800 number which finders can call to report the recovery. Finders are also offered a reward.
Some of the companies offering such services include TrackITBack, YouGetItBack.com, BoomergangIt, ArmorTag and zReturn.
Also consider filing out those manufacturer registration cards. It's a very slim possibility, but if a thief ever sends in the machine for maintenance, this could raise a flag. Keep a record of laptop series numbers this.
This will help authorities determine ownership when the laptop is recovered.
3. Use tracking software
Many vendors offer software products that enable your laptop to stealthily send out a signal to tracking centers in the event the machine is stolen.
The device connects to the Internet and uses GPS technology to alert the service provider or the police of the laptop's location.
Some of the providers and their starting prices include: CompuTrace (US$50 per year), zTrace Technology (US$50 per year), Inspice (US$30 per year), Brigadoon's PC PhoneHome (US$30 lifetime fee), and Stealth Signal's XTool Laptop Tracker (US$40 per year).
Organizations such as government agencies, police and military services or healthcare providers, should consider laptops pre-equipped with tracking devices, said Susan Black, national sales and marketing manager at Panasonic Canada.
For instance, she said Panasonic laptops come with built-in hard drive encryption tools, embedded asset tracking software from CompuTrace and fingerprint scanners that allow only registered users access to the machine.
Some top-of-the-line tracking products enable administrators to remotely delete data from a stolen machine.