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Cubicle Security For Laptops, Electronics?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the down-sizing-needn't-mean-down-securing dept.

Security 532

kamikasee writes "I recently found out that I'm going to be moved from an office to a cubicle. The cubicle area is not very secure, and I'm worried about things wandering off. My boss has offered to buy some equipment to help me secure things, but so far I haven't found anything that fits my requirements. Google and Amazon searches are overwhelmed by lockable key cabinets and larger pieces of furniture. Here are some of the requirements: The main issue with traditional solutions (e.g. locking things in a drawer) is convenience. I use a laptop with a second LCD monitor. There's also an external keyboard and mouse and a USB hard drive. I leave my laptop on at night so I can remote-desktop into it, so I'm not really happy about putting it in a drawer (no ventilation), plus I don't like the idea of having to 'unharness' everything every time I want to put it away. I don't trust cable locks. Besides, cable locks won't help me secure my the USB drive and other electronics that might wander off. The solution I imagine is a lockable, ventilated metal box that would sit under the monitor and house most of the electronics. If it was big enough, I could stick my laptop into it at night (while leaving it running) and feel confident that it would still be there in the morning. I'd be open to other types of solutions. Surely someone else must have dealt with this problem."

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Never dealt with that sort of problem (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853164)

I've never personally dealt with that sort of problem. It's probably because I work with professionals.

YMMV.

No kidding! (4, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853224)

I have not locked the door to my office in years. People leave their child's fund raising goodies out on tables and you just put the money you're supposed to in the envelope if you take something.

Where do you work that people are stealing stuff all the time?

Or are you just mega-paranoid?

Re:No kidding! (5, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853496)

No kidding indeed. I often leave my wallet on my desk all day (open environment, no cubes) and I'm not even concerned that someone might look at it funny. My guess is that the submitter works in a high school or a prison.
 

Re:No kidding! (3, Insightful)

sleigher (961421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853666)

Well I have worked in offices for years. One time after an office move we came back and a co-workers purse was gone. The whole thing. We were on the 8th floor. Seems someone came in off the street, up the back stairs and got in. Not sure how because the door was locked. Point being that it isn't always co workers who are dishonest. The company got better security on the floor after that.....

My workplace is so honest... (4, Funny)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853288)

Somebody who left the company left a beer in the fridge.

6 years ago.

It's still there.

Either that, or someone who does not normally drink has stashed the beer there in the event they do have to leave the company...

Re:My workplace is so honest... (2, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853462)

That's happened at two of the places I have worked ... The first was a company that had a "There shall be no fighting in the main reception during office hours" clause in the employment contract and the other was in a university research lab. In both cases the can of beer had been hidden in the very back of a filing cabinet, below the racks of papers, over three years old, slightly rusted but still airtight. Other items included similarly aged boxes of sugar cubes, blobs of blue tack and pizza discount vouchers.

Re:My workplace is so honest... (2)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853662)

how are the prices going for vintage beer? I really hope at least is not one of those shitty Budweisers you americans dare to drink.

Re:My workplace is so honest... (1, Informative)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853692)

All beers stored in company fridges are from the local (2 miles away) microbrewery.

Re:Never dealt with that sort of problem (4, Insightful)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853370)

And that is what we though where I work as well. Here's the deal, how professional are the janitors? How about maintenance workers that are on-site tmie to time. Can you really trust them? We also had issue with someone that was able to sneak into the building over lunch one day and wander off with people's belongings. Forget the people you actually work with, they probably are completely trustworthy. it's everyone else that can gain access to your building that you should worry about.

Don't Have stealable stuff (4, Insightful)

temojen (678985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853186)

Why do you have a laptop if you don't take it with you? What do other people in the cube farm do? Why do you have your own equipment at work?

Re:Don't Have stealable stuff (5, Interesting)

nickj6282 (896871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853326)

I was kind of wondering this myself. If your boss is moving you from a locked office to an open cube then it sounds like his problem if his employees steal his equipment from your desk.

If you are bringing personal items (USB drive, iPod, cellphone, etc.) to work with you there are a few options:
  1. Leave this stuff at home
  2. Don't let it out of your sight and take it with you when you leave for lunch (this is what I do with my iPod/cellphone/etc. when working, although I can leave it out on my desk in plain sight and it will still be there later because my coworkers are not douchebags)
  3. Keep these items in a plain unassuming backpack under your desk
  4. Lock these items in a desk drawer when you are in the office and don't leave them at work
Also, why do you have a laptop if you're just going to leave it in the office when you go home? I've worked at places where that was grounds for dismissal. Don't they have a VPN where you work?

Simple solution (4, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853200)

Simple solution: Don't bring your personal computer or electronic devices to work. If your company's security is such that company property disappears, then that is the company's problem. In real life, this is not a big problem. With the exception of lunches in the refrigerator, coworkers are not going to steal your stuff in a healthy work culture. But to be save, don't leave your personal devices laying around. If it is your own personal computer, however, then get the company to provide you with a company computer.

Re:Simple solution (4, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853386)

Simple solution: Don't bring your personal computer or electronic devices to work. If your company's security is such that company property disappears, then that is the company's problem.

Quoted for great justice.

Company gear, company premises, company's obligation to secure it. if I came in to work tomorrow morning and my desktop computer and monitor were gone, I'd inform our IT manager and tell him to call me when they have been found or replaced.

Seriously, if you're not working for yourself, why on earth would you take your OWN laptop into a place of business? That's retarded.

Re:Simple solution (5, Funny)

Eadwacer (722852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853498)

I understand some companies already make boxes with motherboards and hard drives in them and everything, and they sit on your desk like a big tower, and they're not portable so hardly anyone ever steals them. You could see if your notebook maker has a section that sells specialty items like that...

Re:Simple solution (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853526)

It sounds expensive. A special box just for computer parts?

Re:Simple solution (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853600)

Better yet. If people in your office share your irrational mistrust of cable-locks, put a Rotweiller on your cubicle, and tie him with one of those locks.

A box could easily be stolen (5, Insightful)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853202)

If you lock the stuff in a box, people could just steal the box and cut it open at their leisure. I think your real problem is that you don't trust your workmates. If your workmates are, in fact, untrustworthy you probably need a new job. Another strong possibility is that you're unduly suspicious of the people around you.

Re:A box could easily be stolen (2, Informative)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853428)

Exactly...most security is a theft DETERRENT, not a theft stopper. They are there to keep honest people honest, not stop determined thieves. There are ways around every security system, and most of them are pretty easy if you know what you are doing, especially anything affordable for an individual.

If you're really that paranoid, just use the stinking cable lock, and hide the hard drive somewhere (it shouldn't need much ventilation). If someone really wants to steal your stuff, they're going to steal it unless you bolt a safe to the floor. But I would follow the advice of the other people here by either getting a new job, easing up on the paranoia, or quit throwing a hissy because you lost your office/got demoted.

Re:A box could easily be stolen (1)

evilklown (1008863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853458)

A big box could work if you fill it with heavy objects, such as bowling balls, bricks, bags of sand, etc. You can usually get those things pretty cheap and could bring them in little at a time. Depending on the size of the box, this would make it difficult for a single person to steal and, if the box was big enough, it could even be difficult for 2-3 people to steal without towing it off in some sort of vehicle (which would be obvious to everyone around them that they are stealing something). This could also double as extra desk space, although you wouldn't be able to swing your legs underneath.

Re:A box could easily be stolen (3, Insightful)

dfm3 (830843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853466)

I think your real problem is that you don't trust your workmates. If your workmates are, in fact, untrustworthy you probably need a new job.


The submitter doesn't explicitly say that it's his fellow employees that he's worried about. There are plenty of workplace settings that are easily accessible to anyone who just wanders in off of the street.

For example, I work for a university. Typically, graduate students don't have their own offices, but get a cubicle in a large room shared by a dozen or more fellow students. Hundreds of people attend classes in our building every day, and it's not uncommon for computers, textbooks, backpacks, projectors, or anything that is not locked up or chained down to disappear.

In that case, the best solution is to just take anything of value home with you, or lock it up when you leave.

Re:A box could easily be stolen (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853640)

Maybe he's just mad he no longer has a workplace with a lockable door. If you don't trust a Kensington lock, presumably because someone is walking around with boltcutters, maybe you're in the wrong job.

2 words (5, Funny)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853204)

2 words: Mini fridge. Provides ample cooling and looks like something you would have in a typical office. People don't tend to look in a mini fridge for a laptop or data. As long as no one knows that you keep your stuff in it your safe. Maybe put a couple of drinks in there, to hide your laptop or even a secret compartment.

Re:2 words (2, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853230)

security through obscurity? havent we been over this?

Re:2 words (4, Funny)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853232)

What do you hide the fridge in?

Re:2 words (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853246)

You don't.

Re:2 words (5, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853448)

Isn't it obvious? A normal-sized 'fridge.

-Peter

One word... (1)

nickj6282 (896871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853240)

...condensation. Bad idea. Maybe a gutted mini-fridge would work, but a running laptop in a running mini-fridge is a recipe for disaster.

Re:One word... (2, Insightful)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853274)

Easily solved with a desiccants or putting the items to be secured in a separate chamber.

Re:One word... (1)

murrdpirate (944127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853372)

Larger fridge with dehumidifier inside? Even better: a stand-alone freezer with a dehumidifier that draws water for the ice tray and helps eliminate frost. Seriously, can I site slashdot message boards for IP?

Re:One word.. (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853406)

An arm and hammer baking soda container filled with salt should be able to dehumidify the container rather well. Don't forget that the gasket on the fridge provides a fairly good seal against the humid environment.

Re:2 words (2, Funny)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853424)

I would have thought a mini-fridge would have attracted more theft...

Re:2 words (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853484)

Thats why you put drinks in it, so they get stolen first. Or put stuff in there that no one would ever dare eat or drink, like a moldy sandwich with a bite taken out of it or a soda that is not entirely empty. Don't forget to use an old mini fridge which no one would likely steal.

Got Cubicle Cops? (1)

tcgroat (666085) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853478)

That only works if there's no company policy against having the refrigerator. At a former place of employment, they were verboten for a good reason: the cube farm power network wasn't designed to run kitchen appliances. A refrigerator starting up could trip the circuit breaker and wipe out several workstations worth of work-in-progress.

The environment inside a refrigerator isn't good for electronics. Condensation is not your disk drive's friend. Keeping things cool is fine, but getting them damp is asking for trouble.

Besides that, the same jerk who's been stealing your soda and lunch will find your USB drive, laptop, etc. while grocery shop-lifting.

Re:Got Cubicle Cops? (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853502)

Hide them inside an old pizza box. Few people I know would ever steal week old pizza.

Re:Got Cubicle Cops? (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853616)

But statistically any one who would steal a laptop would start with the week old pizza.

Re:2 words (3, Funny)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853584)

Does your fridge run Linux??

Re:2 words (2, Funny)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853606)

It will soon...

I smell a new product here! (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853700)

Lockable mini fridge for the cubicle.

Okay, not so new.

But if it were really intended as a secure place to leave running electronics, it would need a dehumidifier and a stronger lock than your usual lockable fridge.

webcam (3, Interesting)

Riquez (917372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853208)

Get a webcam that records & uploads what's happening inside your cubicle.
Then you can catch the thieves & get your stuff back.

Easy! (4, Funny)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853216)

I recommend Nessman-esque masking tape walls and door. Simply enforce pretend knocking and 'lock' it at night. Problem solved.

Re:Easy! (4, Funny)

gooman (709147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853680)

A co-worker and I built a "Les Nessman office wall and door" to our work area which was a big open room.
We got a lot laughs and comments from visitors. Most would knock on our pretend door.

Our Korean boss did not understand the humor at all.
Since he refused to use our indicated door, one day we bought a pre-hung door and set it up.
Mind you there were no walls, just this door-frame and door to our office in the middle of the big room.

He didn't say a word, but the following Monday the door and the tape on the floor was gone.
There was also a memo about no more personal items of any kind to be brought into work.

Spoil sport

Why are you worried - it's their equipment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853244)

This is equipment owned by your employer? Why should you care if it goes walkabout... it's your company's responsibility to provide adequate security for their equipment, and if they think it's safe sitting out on your desk in a cubicle why are you spending brain cycles worrying about it.

I didn't bother to count how many words... (4, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853248)

... Laser based thief destruction system. If there is anything you learn from being an American, and I am proudly one, it is that you can't overspend on defense. You gotta make all those thieving morons out there realize that they are dealing with death here.

Also, to back up the laser grid, I'd go with some more conventional systems, eg an automated machine gun turret and an anti-personnel mine field.

Re:I didn't bother to count how many words... (1)

evilklown (1008863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853400)

Or, if you're strapped for cash, build a Bengal tiger trap. If your office is anything like mine, your floors are raised for ventilation. Peel back the carpet and cut yourself a 3-foot wide trench that runs the length of your cube opening. This should give you a nice 1-2 foot deep trench. Then, take about 300 office pens, remove the caps, and glue the pens to the floor underneath with the ball-end pointing up! You just have to remember to jump the trench each time you enter or exit your cube, or you'll end up facing the business end of 300 ballpoint pens.

Re:I didn't bother to count how many words... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853442)

You laugh, but this is how we found that our office thief was actually a squirrel that had somehow sneaked into the building. After it fell into the trap we never had a problem with snacks and drinks disappearing again. We had a hell of a time cleaning up the squirrel blood, though.

Re:I didn't bother to count how many words... (4, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853688)

There will be legal problems if you trap a human thief though. Even if you file down the sides of the bear trap and a leave a stash of twinkies nearby so they don't starve over a long weekend. And land mines are right out. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Re:I didn't bother to count how many words... (2, Funny)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853586)

Yeah, but those features are only available to Black Mesa employees.

GPS (1)

Forrest Kyle (955623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853250)

If your work environment is really that untrustworthy, then consider installing one of those GPS tracker devices so that if your laptop gets stolen, the police can track it. It could be hidden somewhere, and once you installed it, you'd never have to think about it again.

Also, make sure and password everything and keep backups of your data.

Re:GPS (2, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853420)

That is a good suggestion. A lot of laptops (Dell and HP definitely) of recent make have BIOS level hooks for Computrace's LoJack software, so even if the drive is wiped, the machine will still be able to phone home and check if its flagged stolen as soon as its booted.

LoJack also offers a facility for remote deletion of data so if a really sensitive laptop is stolen, it can be securely erased by remote, similar to how one can wipe Blackberries and Windows Mobile devices if lost or stolen.

Where the hell do you work??? (3, Interesting)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853252)

Every desk that I've had, whether it's been in an office, a cubicle, or just a table in the middle of a large room has been accessible to virtually everyone who works there. And yet, shockingly, nothing has disappeared on me.

The most I've done security-wise is to avoid leaving some of the more likely theft targets out in the open, but I've never worried about actually locking them away.

In the companies that I have worked for, if things disappear off of desks, someone (co-workers, cleaning staff, whatever) is going to be fired for it.

Re:Where the hell do you work??? (2)

ribit (952003) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853334)

This just sounds silly. Use password security, encrypt documents, use a cable lock (You can get USB drives with this feature), but anything more sounds like overkill. Don't they have insurance and security rules and policies to cover anything that gets stolen while reasonably secured? i.e. beyond you doing basic security measures, it shouldn't be your problem.

Security (2, Interesting)

AndresCP (979913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853268)

Have you had a bad experience with cable locks? In my experience, they're pretty secure, and if people in your office have such sticky fingers that a cable lock is no deterrent, you should quit working in a crack house and get a different job.

However, assuming you don't go cable lock + locked drawer:

The convenience of just sticking stuff in a big metal box is appealing; have you considered building one yourself? It doesn't seem too difficult if you can find access to the tools.

Working in a crack house (3, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853286)

While the pay is pretty shitty and the working conditions are deplorable, the smoke breaks really make the job worthwhile.

Find people you can trust. (2)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853300)

I think you're looking for a solution to a symptom, not the problem.

Your problem is that you work with people you can't trust. Look for a job elsewhere... I couldn't imagine working with people I couldn't trust..

Use the company provided computer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853302)

Why are you worried about it being stolen. It should belong to the company. If you are using equipment that belongs to you at work perhaps you should be talking to your boss about buying you company owned equipment.

Laptop Case (1)

Grym (725290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853304)

If it's just access to the machine that you need, then have you considered the obvious option taking the laptop home with you? A good laptop case with a spare pocket for your USB hard drive sounds like a winner to me.

Now if you're doing all this to access some local network resource (you weren't clear as to why you needed to remote desktop), then you do realize there are better ways to do this, right? There's a reason why servers are in locked boxes with backup power supplies...

-Grym

Doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853316)

It's a laptop! Unplug the monitor and bring it home!

Lateral thinking... (4, Funny)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853318)

Maybe you should consider switching jobs to a company that isn't populated by thieves or situated in a crack alley?

Re:Lateral thinking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853532)

Heard you got demoted!

Uhh (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853322)

I left my ipod on my desk for about three weeks, nobody stole it. If everyone else has a laptop at work, why would they want to steal yours? The cleaning crew isn't dumb, they know a stolen laptop = old crew fired, new one hired.
 
This sounds more like someone got demoted and they're taking their frustration out on not trusting others.

so.. why have a laptop? (3, Insightful)

gatekeep (122108) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853324)

So let me get this right... you're leaving your laptop on your desk powered on every night. Why do you have a laptop?

If you just use a regular tower you can user a large internal drive, or a few larger internal drives, removing the need for the extra drive. Then your problem becomes securing a tower. There are many desks and enclosers for securing towers.

As for a keyboard and mouse, if you're worried about your keyboard and mouse being stolen I'd recommend you find another job.

I second the motion (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853342)

Rather than have your company spend several hundred dollars on a lockable box, have them spend several hundred dollars on a desktop machine that you can just leave there. Then if it gets stolen, it's the company's problem.

Re:so.. why have a laptop? (1)

s74ng3r (963541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853548)

My thoughts as well. If you were provided a laptop, it means that you'll be needing it any time of the day and you'll have to bring it with you whenever you leave the office. If this isn't the case, you should request for a desktop/tower. This justifies the reason for leaving it in the office. Surely you have something like a security guard that checks items/hardware that goes in/out of the office, so somebody stealing a desktop/tower would be too obvious.

Cable locks are only effective when you leave your laptop during the day, like when you go out for lunch/snacks. Nobody would dare cut your cables in broad daylight.

Re:so.. why have a laptop? (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853626)

Of course, he is not that worried. He is just being a bitch because he lost his private office.

Camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853330)

How about a camera monitoring your stuff when you are away and recording to another location?

Why not take it home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853344)

If you need to remote desktop into it?

Doesn't that defeat the whole "laptop" purpose? To be portable?
Sounds an awful lot like a super expensive desktop to me.

How insecure is the location? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853356)

Do you need to protect equipment against office staff, or roving bands of thieves? If the location is that insecure, I hope you the company does not have any public data. I can see the headlines now. "Thieves acquire the entire IP of Acme Software in a brazen daily wander through the cube farm".

Seriously, I have worked in some pretty insecure locations. Hourly staff wondering past my expensive gadgets, public having potential uncontrolled access to my office. Stuff like that.

Here is what I have found. Cable locks work. Unless the thief is willing to break the computer, they will keep the machine there. The real problem is machines that are made with user serviceable components. For instance, If I left my HP laptop out, I would expect the memory, hard disk, battery, and wireless card to be gone. On my mac, I would expect the battery to disappear, and maybe half the memory. The harddisk would be safe. Figure what can be taken without breakig the computer.

Wired keyboards and mice generally will stay, wireless keyboard and mouse can be put into a drawer and locked.

An off the cuff solution to you USB drive issue is a USB cable run into a lockable drawer connected to USB hub physically attached to the drawer. All you connected could be made to that slightly more secure hub.

But all this may be for naught. Any security plan depends on what one is protecting against. If the worry is random members of having hours of uncontrolled access to the cubicle, I think there is no solution. If the worry is a fellow employee taking a 30 second opportunity to scrump a computer, these types of solution have worked for me in the past.

As a last resort, you could always install a motion control video camera. At least you could catch your colleague breaking into your files.

Physical and logical security (5, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853368)

To the OP: How bad is the thievery rate? Is it a place where anybody can enter to possibly steal, or is it a place where you need locks to keep honest people honest?

You can get some decent cable locks that are Bic Pen resistant. I use these:

http://us.kensington.com/html/11208.html [kensington.com]
on all my equipment, be it desktop or laptop. Of course, they can be cut, but it would be a dedicated effort to do so.

First, the locking cabinet is an idea, but of course if someone is desperate enough to cut cable locks, they likely will try for the cabinet if its not bolted down. You could go with a motion detecting alarm, or a locking cable that has an alarm that will sound if cut, but co-workers will get really annoyed if the system makes false alarms often.

Kensington's alarmed lock: http://us.kensington.com/html/6311.html [kensington.com]

Second, have you considered a dock for your laptop, if one is available? Almost all docks have some way of locking the laptop to the dock either via a lever and a padlock or something using a Kensington lock slot. Then, you can hook all your monitors and items to the dock and just do a simple eject to hit the road with your laptop.

Third, have you considered logical security? If you are worried about data theft as opposed to physical, consider something like TrueCrypt that can encrypt your Windows boot/system drive, and also encrypt data on external drives. If you use keyfiles, after you type in your preboot passphrase, the external drives can automount while still providing security from thieves. For further protection, you can use TrueCrypt on external drives, and use PGP's whole disk encryption with a cryptographic hardware token. Then, you can use cable locks for your devices and if someone does steal one, it will be "merely" a hardware theft rather than hardware and sensitive data.

Last, if you can't find a metal box, have you considered hitting a metal shop with the dimensions of what you want for a cage, and having them weld you up one? I have had this done (and the cage bolted down solidly) when I wanted to make sure some file servers, switch, and a router would not be stolen. Even though I did not know who other than myself had the key to the room the equipment was in, only I had the key to that cage, so I knew that the equipment might be powered off or perhaps vandalized, it wouldn't be stolen without some major effort. A welder can use pinless hinges and tabs so someone attempting to break into the cage by a crowbar wouldn't be successful.

If someone wants your stuff . . . (1)

Uther2000 (703950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853512)

I try not even to bring in pictures in a picture frame into my office. Unfortunately my experience is "If someone wants your stuff badly enough it will vanish" Even if you can get your employer to asset tag the items (even though they are yours) an keep track of them Most office equipment will not stop a determined techno-clepto

Re:If someone wants your stuff . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853686)

Agreed; We've had departments steal computer equipment from other departments not realizing that we track asset tags.

Invite a coworker out for lunch (1)

nickj6282 (896871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853378)

Seriously. Make friends at work. They won't steal your stuff then and they'll help make sure that nobody else does either. At my new job, I've made it a point to make new friends and be friendly with everyone else. I feel completely comfortable leaving my iPod out on my desk during my lunch break. In fact, it seems that the person I've made friends with the most in my office is quite the gossip gal. Not my cup of tea per se but if my personal stuff were to go missing at work I don't think it will be hard to track.

Re:Invite a coworker out for lunch (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853468)

Seriously. Make friends at work. They won't steal your stuff then and they'll help make sure that nobody else does either.

You are assuming that co-workers are the thieves. Office Lurkers are very common. That is, people who tailgate into the company office or(as I have seen) walk in through the fire escapes. If anyone questions these people, they just act like they are lost. When you aren't looking, there go the laptops. Who can blame them, the ultra portable laptops are small, have high desirability and have a high value. Making friends has no effect on these type of people. Better security is not always the answer. People don't like to work in a place full of cameras and they like privacy(which means decent size cubes that lurkers can temporarily hide in(remember Neo).

Really, why are we discussing this? (1)

ribit (952003) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853380)

Its so simple... backup your data regularly. Lock the laptop with a cable lock. Whenever it is stolen, claim on insurance. You get new computer! You can't lose. This is what insurance is for... not having to build safe things on your desk, and leaving us to discuss important or interesting things...

Re:Really, why are we discussing this? (1)

AndresCP (979913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853408)

We discuss important things? I missed that memo.

You don't need a laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853392)

You you are not taking it with you, you do not need a laptop. Your company should buy you a real computer, and you take the laptop with you. If you are worried about theft of data, truecrypt is the tool for you. If you are worried about someone stealing your property that you leave at work, then your company should be providing you with the tools you need to do your job.

I do work for a number of companies and I always berate whomever gives a laptop to a user that never takes it home. We confiscate that laptop back and get them a desktop.

Docking Station FTW (1)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853412)

Get 'em to foot the bill for a docking station, and take the laptop and external drive home with you every night. Then you don't have to futz with twiddling video cable screws and plugging up a monitor and keyboard twice a day. Problem solved.

In lieu of a consulting fee for this solution I provided, make a donation to a reputable charity.

Perfect solution (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853426)

Get crappier stuff nobody will steal, problem solved.

Suck it up, princess. (5, Insightful)

MoneyCityManiac (651455) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853432)

Honestly, this sounds like someone who's just bitter about losing their office to a cubicle and causing a stink.

Your laptop and associated paraphernalia are the property of your company. If they happen to find legs then that's an issue for your company to deal with, not you. Hopefully you back up your data, so if your laptop does grow legs it's just a day or two to get up and running with a new lappy.

Besides, your co-workers are in the same position, so if they're not reporting thefts then you probably won't be either. And if there is a problem of theft in your office then perhaps you should be pushing your manager to make your workplace more secure, rather just just your workspace.

High voltage (4, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853438)

Get an old 24 inch CRT monitor and wire the flyback into an anti-static mat and chair in your cubical. Anyone entering your cubical will get the message that they are not welcome.

Why are you moving to a cube? (2, Interesting)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853444)

Ok, why is your company taking away your office and putting you in a cube? I'd find that intolerable! Action must be taken! Get the office back. Get a desktop computer. Heck, get them to give you many more computers and gadgets, but get the office back or head out the door.

Any company that respects it workers won't put them in cubes. Humans at times need privacy during their work day and that means an office that one can close for quite, and closed blinds for that extra special private moment.

Really though, why did they take away your office? Is it a message that it's time to leave? Was the glass ceiling exceeded, temporarily, on your part? What's up with that?

If your work requires you to have many gadgets then make the case that you require an office for corporate security reasons. Gotta keep those trade secrets secret.

The front door looks good. Find a company that will give you the resources that you need to make both of you wealthy. If you're not wealthy within two years at a company, get out.

Re:Why are you moving to a cube? (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853494)

Goodness, what a charmingly hopeful picture you have of the employment opportunities available to people who post on ./

Get a Dog (2, Funny)

steelseth (1098843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853446)

I would suggest either a Rodweiler or a Doberman.

Is a solution really what he wants (5, Insightful)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853460)

About 5 minutes of googling found me vast numbers of things, from laptop locks impervious to the toilet paper tube solution, to locking shelves instead of drawers, to a bar style locking device IIRC I've seen used at CompUSA. Large numbers of people have his issue as evidenced by the large number of solutions available.

My suspicion is that the poster really kinda wants his office back and is making excuses. If this is the case it is natural that no solution is going to work.

Where on Earth do you Work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853486)

I'd say you need to seek employment somewhere where your colleagues are honest and some kind of security is in place to keep strangers out of the work areas. Or is this just a way to register a sort of passive annoyance at being re-located from an office to a cube?

Downgraded to a cubicle, eh? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853492)

Just wait until they come after your red stapler. Then you'll show 'em.

change your behavior (0, Flamebait)

mincognito (839071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853500)

If you don't trust a Kensington cable lock to deter your own colleagues from stealing your computer I suspect you have trust issues.

Not wanting to throw a USB stick into a locked drawer suggests you prefer addressing trivial problems with complicated technical solutions.

Deal with the ventilation (1)

teh moges (875080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853504)

Aside from the above comments of "don't take personal stuff to work" (if your position requires it, then your work needs to get it for you); deal with the ventilation problem. Get a lockable cupboard with fans on the side, and lock you laptop, USB stuff and anything else you don't need to touch frequently in there and run cables. If your keyboard gets stolen by someone yanking the cord out, who cares? It is $15 worth of equipment and the laptop has a keyboard on it if you can't take the delay before you get a new one.

That said, what about moving your off-line app to a server in the server room? I know it isn't always possible to do this, but it would save a lot of pain. Your laptop was designed for burst use, not to be left on all the time. While you will probably be ok, it just adds strain to the components that they weren't designed to handle. The risk of failure increases the more you leave it on continuously. If you have a VMware server or similar, take 10gb of storage and very little resources, setup a virtual machine. When you aren't using it, the resources it uses will be minimal. When you are, it will be ready for you. You can also put the "green case" to your manager: leaving your laptop on uses power, leaving it on a server that will be running anyway has no impact on energy usage.

In any business environment, you must setup your work area on the basis that your computer won't be available tomorrow (fire, stolen, someone else stole your desk). If it ain't on the network, don't rely on it.*

* The full version is "If it ain't on the network, backed up regually including offsite tapes and part of an overall DRP strategy, don't rely on it"

Hi, I just got demoted... (5, Funny)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853536)

... from a real office into a cube, and now I'm all pissed off 'cause when I was higher up the food chain I crapped on all of the cube dwellers. Now I'm gonna be one of them and frankly it doesn't look good.

If I had half a brain I'd have treated these folks with respect, or at least would now be trying to make a few friends, but frankly I am just so superior that I can't be bothered. I'm sure that they all resent me -- excuse me -- are envious of me -- and that they are just lying in wait to steal my stuff (OK, it's the company's stuff, but hey it's got MY porn on it, so that's like it's mine) and probably spit on my keyboard and give some horrible cube dweller disease.

So I'm taking preemptive action by bitching and moaning about how everyone else here is dishonest. That way maybe they'll be scared to mess with my stuff, cause everybody knows that I'm on to them.

Cubicle area might be public (1)

not_listening (1232444) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853540)

I trust the people in the business I work at. 7 people in all. I leave my laptop on a desk in the office area or on my toolbox during the day. The thing I think about sometimes, is the people that are walking through off the street. The doors to the office are left open to the hallway which is shared by three business. The office can be empty for an hour at lunch or other times. If I'm not using the laptop I just put it in a cabinet. I could understand the posters concerns being appropriate if the cubicle area is semi-public. My suggestion would be a cabinet with a locking top, cut a u-channel for the attaching cables and perforate the back for ventilation. Open the top and guide your cables into the channel and then lock the top.

Safe + USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22853542)

Not to be a smartass, but.... (1)

wbren (682133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853546)

I don't trust cable locks. Besides, cable locks won't help me secure my the USB drive and other electronics that might wander off. The solution I imagine is a lockable, ventilated metal box that would sit under the monitor and house most of the electronics.
First, get a new job. Seriously, outside of a retail break room, I haven't heard of a sketchier work environment. Second, you need to be realistic about your expectations. If you're worried about someone stealing your property while you go on a coffee break, a cable lock attached to a strongbox would be fine for you. If you're worried about your property getting stolen during the 16 hours you are not at your desk, you're going to be disappointed. In that amount of time, anything you could come up with can be broken--heck, most bank vaults could be broken in that time. If you're looking for a deterrent, a cable lock attached to a strongbox is still the way to go. If you leave personal belongings at your desk and don't trust your co-workers or cleaning crew, you're going to get burned. Bring your personal stuff home, and use work equipment for... well, work.

WTF??? (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853568)

This is clearly none of your concern.

Just move in the cube farm, and if the laptop disappear, well, the company will provide another one. With properly-restored backups, of course. Because the company has a backup policy, right?

Mod me down please (2, Funny)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853576)

I know I deserve it when I say: a Chuck Norris cut-out is all you need to deter anyone.

Make ventilation... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853582)

Get one of those $15 USB powered dual-fan laptop trays, mount it on the inside of your drawer so that the long thin output is directed at the (usually) convenient openings in the side of the drawer. Or, just ask to drill some holes where your laptop's exhaust port is. I think you'll be surprised at how cool your laptop stays, especially if the drawer is metal.

At my old job, someone kept his laptop plugged in to its docking station in his lockable overhead compartment, which had ample open space to ventilate and allow cables (KVM,Power,Eth). He unplugged it only for meetings.

LapTop Locker (2, Interesting)

kayser_soze (54474) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853590)

If security is as big of a problem as you make it sound, or you really need to secure a laptop in a very public-accessible environment (think Hospitals, etc...HIPAA), then something like this could be useful: http://www.datumfiling.com/products/laptop-locker [datumfiling.com]

Disclaimer: I work for the company that designed this company's website, but I thought it seemed like a useful product in this context.

[KS]

engrave license number (1)

m0llusk (789903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853594)

Use an engraving tool to scrape your license number, preferably with your name as well, onto anything you are worried about. Drivers license numbers are the only data that can be quickly looked up in almost all states and most countries. If your stuff is found with someone who is not you then it is likely to get them busted and be returned to you. Thieves are also less likely to take items that have been clearly and visibly marked in this way as the engraved number makes items extremely difficult to keep or resell.

Don't leave anything (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853632)

Take your laptop with you. Why do you need to access it remotely? If you need access to resources on the company network, ask for access to a company box (preferably locked in the server room) and "remote desktop" to it. If you just need to access the files in the laptop, taking it with you negates the need for remote access. Or maybe ask to be allowed to store/connect your laptop in a secure place when you leave.

If the laptop is your employer's and they insist you leave it, then ask your boss to arrange for proper security measures, not just "offer to buy stuff".

Be prepared to make a habit of locking your drawers whenever you move away from your desk and *don't* leave anything valuable unlocked out of your sight.

As you get to know your cube-mates better you might feel you can relax some of these measures. Be wary, tho. I've seen people facing rude awakenings when they arrive at work and find out that the mp3 player they left the night before grew legs and walked away.

Easy... (4, Funny)

Repton (60818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853696)

Get the laptop case laser-engraved with goatse. Who's gonna steal it then?

Sharks with head mounted lasers... (1)

jerkyjunkmail (590408) | more than 6 years ago | (#22853708)

sounds like a viable solution in this case. You can never go wrong with shark security.
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