Protecting Your Laptop - Antitheft Measures
Laptops are very valuable. This really shouldn't be news to anyone. Although it may be even more valuable than you realize. You probably have a lot of information on your laptop along with a lot of digital goods. You may not be able to recover lost software, and you will certainly not enjoy resetting every one of your stored passwords to prevent some very nasty identity theft. This means that you need to take measures to protect your laptop from theft.
To start with, let's just note some common sense wisdom for protecting your laptop from theft.
Don't leave it alone. I seriously wish that this was just a filler line to start out the list, but a shocking number of people forget that their laptop is effectively a big stack of money, or they put far too much trust into strangers in a public area. If you're in a library or cafe, do not walk off without your laptop. If you have to go to bathroom or pickup an order, just bring it with you or at least have a friend watch it.
Do not leave it visible in a car. Hide it or take it with you. Again, I wish this wasn't a problem. I read too many crime blotter stories that involve people leaving valuable electronics in plain sight. Some even leave the car unlocked (a case of "go big or go home" with regard to poor security, I assume). Don't do this! It's a stack of money. Treat it as such.
If you live in a somewhat public area, like a college dorm, get a cable lock. Targus makes a few combination locks with a long steel cable and most modern laptops have a lock slot. There are also a few cables that can sound off an alarm if cut, although I personally think that that's a bit overkill. You can use the cable to tether it around a table leg and make it impossible for a snatch and grab while you're out for a moment.
Stay alert. This advice is just good for personal safety in general, but be careful about conspicuously carrying around a laptop. Watch for anyone eyeing your messenger bag, and try to carry the laptop in a generic bag that doesn't scream easy money.
Make sure that you write down the serial number, and consider buying a tough tracking sticker. The ones from TrackItBack seem to be good and have the added benefit of helping the police return lost laptops, as well as stolen ones.
Finally, you should probably consider some good laptop security software. There are some very nice and affordable options if you're worried that your laptop will be stolen at some point.