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It was recently brought to my attention that we don't use physical locks to prevent theft of our laptops. I hadn't really considered it before, since nearly everyone takes their laptops home at night, and the office is never vacated during the day.

Does your company use Kensington laptop locks (or something else)? I found a question regarding alternatives to Kensington locks, but it didn't address the "am I the only person out there without them" aspect.


locked by HopelessN00b Feb 12 '15 at 6:12

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closed as primarily opinion-based by HopelessN00b Feb 12 '15 at 6:12

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Community wiki? Everyone is going to be different, and there isn't a "right" answer. – Bill Weiss Jul 6 '09 at 21:15
Sorry, I'm usually really good about clicking "community wiki" – Matt Simmons Jul 7 '09 at 12:17
and just out curiosity, wouldn't it really only have two answers: "yes" and "no".. with folks voting on which one they do, maybe leaving a comment? – warren Sep 28 '09 at 15:56

Yes, we use cable locks as part of data security policy. Much of corporate theft comes from inside so it's good practice even if there is someone there at all times. "Inside" also includes contracted entities (cleaning crew, security, etc). We've busted quite a number of them in my tenure.

Don't bother with the sticky-pad thing that comes with them to secure them to a surface, it's trivial to pull that off of a surface. Also, if you get a combination lock the biggest bite is that you have to make sure and spin the dials after attaching or detaching your computer else your combination is easily discovered.

How many employees do you have at your sites? – Matt Simmons Jul 6 '09 at 20:32
We have sites of just about any size. Anywhere from local sales offices with just a handful of people to corporate offices and plants with 2000+. – squillman Jul 6 '09 at 20:37
+1 for inside jobs – Mark Henderson Jul 6 '09 at 21:35

I think it depends on the environment you're in. We don't lock any of our workstations (or laptops) since we're an educational institution where mostly teachers or school personnel gather. We do however have cameras (recording in entrance and in various meeting locations) and a pretty strict security system. To my knowledge, we haven't had any major equipment 'disappearances', and I've been here for about 10 years.


In computer labs (one of which is physically open to anybody to walk into 24/7; the rest have more limited hours but no real physical access control during hours of operation), everything is locked down that reasonably can be and there are cameras. Usually it's one long cable running through each computer and monitor per row.

In offices, we generally only lock laptops, and not everybody is consistent about that. Monitors and desktops are bulky and less valuable; laptops tend to be expensive, easy to carry and not suspicious to be seen carrying.

We're a university and there is no access control to our hallways during business hours. There have been cases of laptops "walking off" out of offices during business hours. And cases of vaguely suspicious people walking into offices and acting lost. (which could be a genuinely lost person, or somebody trying office doors until they find an empty office with something valuable)

The cables aren't much of a deterrent. I'll bet a determined thief could get through one with nail clippers in a matter of minutes (or a bic pen in seconds?), and a thief can always just grab the laptop and yank hard, but that leaves visible damage on the case (making it more obvious it's a stolen laptop being sold, but not really decreasing the value).

Personally I always lock my door, but many wouldn't to go 20 feet down the hallway to a printer, even though it leaves plenty of time for somebody to walk off with a laptop. Cable lock increases the time above 1 second, which is a big help.

FYI: basing my guesses about nail clippers and laptop cable locks on how bike thieves get by bicycle cable locks, which are basically the same, but thicker – freiheit Jul 6 '09 at 21:07

In my company several people use kensington locks with their laptops. I don't, primarily because I usually don't let it unattended and because there's no good place to secure the cable.

In any case, according to this video, you can unlock it easily with simple office material.


Most of our computers aren't locked physically. The really expensive ones are locked up in server rooms, anyway.

Regarding desktop workstations, we have yet to see anyone trying to steal something, as it's difficult to just walk out of the building with a computer in your hand if you're not actually allowed to do that.

We don't have any corporate-issue laptops, so that problem does not arise.

The student pool computers have physical locks, but then again, it'd probably be more likely for you to get noticed just disassembling a PC in a student computer pool and carrying it out of a building with either enough staff or hundreds (sic) of students.

Of course, everyone knows the story where a group of people looking like workmen just went into a pool and packed in a couple of the computers...


Last time I had a company laptop (several years ago) the locks were provided. Mine was promptly stolen by someone while it was still new and in the box. My laptop being stolen was never an issue. We had cameras everywhere so if a laptop of desktop went missing it was on camera. We could have tracked down who took the lock, but it just wasn't worth the trouble.


Both corporate laptops I've had issued (Dell and HP) came with Kensington locks using a barrel key: alt text.

I would always lock my laptop at customer sites due to "sensitive" data on there. I also always locked my laptop at work because there were some unscrupulous cow-orkers who wouldn't think twice about venturing-off with something from your desk that they wanted to "borrow", and "forget" to bring it back.


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