When it comes to ensuring the safety of your digital devices, protecting their physical security is just as important as technology best practices, such as creating strong passwords or updating software. The following steps can help safeguard your devices and the information stored on them:
Keep devices with you. Leaving portable devices such as laptops, mobile products, USB sticks and external hard drives unattended invites unnecessary risks. When not in use, keep these items in a locked office or drawer. Where applicable, install phone tracking apps like Find My iPhone for Apple or Device Manager for Android. Always encrypt USB sticks and hard drives.
Lock your screen. Get in the habit of locking your screen when you step away from your workstation. Set your screen saver to turn on after a period of inactivity (e.g., 15 minutes or less) and require a login to wake up the device. Automatically lock your screen using shortcut commands:
- Windows: Windows+L or CTRL+ALT+DEL then “Lock”
- Macs: ^+⌘+Q
Password-protect your device. Prevent others from getting into your device by using a strong password or pin.
Avoid prying eyes. When working in a public space, use a privacy screen to prevent other people from seeing displayed information.
Report stolen devices. If a VU device is stolen, report it to VUIT immediately. There are measures that can be taken to protect your data in the event of such an incident. For personal devices, check with the manufacturer to determine what steps can be taken. Reports can be made to VUIT by calling 615-343-9999 or opening a ticket at https://it.vanderbilt.edu/.
Other stories in the series:
- Strengthening cybersecurity across our institution
- Cybersecurity training and updated policies now available
- What is cybersecurity, and why does it matter?
- Be aware of your digital footprint
- Best practices for managing your passwords
- Phishing—be cautious of what you click
- Cyberbullying—you’re the first line of defense
- Be aware of identity theft
- Backing up your data
- Keeping your operating system and software up to date