Laptop Security Cables - Does one size fit all?
So you've finally decided to buy a security
cable, Yay! I'm so proud...
Be a Smart Shopper
There’s so many choices out there, how do you know which is the right cable? There’s not just one solution that can be applied to every situation; but there’s definitely one out there made just for you.*
*and everyone else that is stuck in the same pickle.
So, as I always say, do your research. Make sure you’re getting exactly what you need.
Ok, that’s it. I’m going home now. What? What’s that you say? You want more? Ok, ok...
Here are a few things to think about before you buy that so-extremely-important laptop security cable. (Have I mentioned how proud I am??)
Does one size really fit all?
First, you have to decide if you want to buy from a retailer or commercial
reseller. The retail cables are readily available (they are just down
the street), but your options are limited. You can only get what they
have on the shelf. A commercial reseller has cables to secure every
different type of laptop, along with better quality and lots of options.
If something goes wrong with your “off-the-shelf” cable,
who are you going to call? The 800 # on the back of the packaging?
For most of those retailers, this laptop security cable is a miniscule
part of their business. Unfortunately, when you try to call, you’ll
probably get caught in the 'press 1 for this, press 2 for that' merry-go-round
and hang up in frustration. For niche commercial resellers, security
cables are probably a large percentage of their business. They’ll
work with you to get you the right cable with the right keying option,
AND they’ll be there to answer the phone if you need to call
them! If you didn’t know any better, you’d think the reseller’s
cable was custom made just for you (wink, wink). It’s like the
difference between an Italian stiletto boot and a garage sale flip
To key or not to key?
Next, you have to decide if you want your cable to be opened with a key or with a combination. Don’t just jump straight to a combination lock, tempting as it may be. I’m sure you hate adding another key to your collection as much as I do, but you might like to know that if you forget your combination, I can’t help you get it back. I work with a few miracle men, but no mind readers (whew…). So, if you find yourself in this predicament, the only thing I can tell you is how to pry your cable off, which could cause damage to the outside of your laptop. But, if you’re one of the few that are blessed with an impeccable memory, a combination lock may be the way to go. Keyed cables have their ups and downs as well. Read our article on keying options to learn how to choose the right one, and learn about the pros and cons of each option.
Corporate Buyers Beware: If you’re the big wig that’s buying cables for your company, you really should know that combination locks are a bad bad idea. By supplying your workers with combination locks, you’re relying on their memories too, not just your own. What if someone forgets their combination? Even if you keep track of them yourself, what if someone changes it on you? What if they leave or get fired? Then you’ll be calling me, hoping I can use my telekinetic powers to gently remove the cable that is now stuck to your company’s equipment. And I’ll have to tell you that I can only use my superpowers to bring about world peace, and saving your laptop does not fall under that category. Then you’ll be stuck prying off the cable, potentially damaging the laptop. Since you’ve already seen the scenario played out, do yourself a favor and buy a keyed cable. Take it from me, it’s the best choice you can make. But please, read our keying options article before you decide which keying system to go with. It’ll help you figure out which one is right for you.
The only stupid question is the one that isn't asked.
Now that you’ve decided which keying system you want and who you want to buy it from, you have to figure out which lock is best for you. How thick is the cable? Is the locking mechanism made of steel? Do you need a cable that fits into the built in security slot? Does your laptop even have a built-in security slot? If not, what other options are there? If you work with a commercial reseller, they’ll be able to help answer all these questions, because it’s something they do every day. They want to make sure the security they sell you works! I doubt the pimple faced retail store clerk is going to have any advice or opinions about which security cable is right for you. But go ahead, ask him, and let me know what you find out.
Guard dog or hound dog?
If you’re an animal lover (like myself), you know that a guard dog protects something, while a hound dog hunts it down. A “guard dog” security system will do a great job at keeping your laptop in place, but a “hound dog” security system will help you track it down if, unfortunately, it does go missing. If you’re in a low threat level area, a cable alone should be enough.† If you’re in a moderate to high threat level area, you may want to think about adding an extra layer of security to your laptop. There are security cables available that include a tracking and recovery plate that can be attached to your laptop providing it with added protection, a popular “hound dog” solution.
† NOTE: This is not a guarantee. Please, don’t sue me for giving free advice; I’m just trying to spread the knowledge here.
No matter the level of your security, the best way to keep your laptop in your hands is to be a good watch dog. Be aware of your surroundings, and don’t take your eyes off of your equipment. A very determined thief will get what he wants, no matter how prepared you are. But, being more prepared than the person next to you can save your butt (your laptop’s butt, anyways). It’s like getting chased by a bear… you don’t need to outrun the bear, just the slowest person. Keep your friends up to speed; forward them this link, and save their laptops’ butts too!
Call us at (800) 466-7636 for all of your computer lock needs. We’ll even give you some more free advice, too!