First of all you have to understand that no computer can be protected from being physically stolen. Short of chaining your desktop computer to the wall or attaching your laptop to your body nothing else can be done to protect it. But what you can protect is the data and here are a few simple solutions to help you do that.
Password protection – All PC’s and Laptops have a BIOS. This is the system that interacts with your hardware the moment you switch it on. By going into your BIOS, you can set a system password so that every time the computer is switched on the BIOS will ask for the correct password before even letting the Operating System start. In addition to this you should also have a strong password for logging into your system. A strong password in this case would be constituted of letters and numbers.
Encryption – Encryption is further protection for your data. Using this you can protect files or folders with a randomly generated “key”. Once encrypted, the file or folder cannot be accessed without being decrypted using the key. However you must be very careful as to where you store this key as
a. Losing it will mean that you can never access that data again.
b. If someone else gets hold of it, they can then access your data
Data wipe – This method is somewhat drastic. There are several vendors online who offer a data wipe out program. This program automatically connects to the vendor’s server and identifies itself every time you log on to the internet and at periodical intervals. In the event that your computer is stolen, you can log on to the vendor’s website and report it as stolen. The next time the computer is switched on (by the thief) and when the software communicates to the server, the server instructs the software to being an automatic wipe out off all the data stored on the system.