How to protect your Laptop and Desktop

Laptop and Desktop owners should take great care to protect their machine and data. Protecting your machine will help reduce the risks of losing the machine, the cost of replacing the data contained on it and the possible statutory and legal implication which can sometimes cost more than having to replace the hardware itself.

Device Security Recommendations

  • Update, Update, Update! Install operating system and application updates when they are available. Set your laptop to automatically update to minimize the likelihood of someone holding your computer or files for ransom.
  • Install Endpoint Protection Software. Sophos endpoint protection is available as a free download for Windows and Macintosh computers from UCD software downloads. Sophos Antivirus for Android and Linux can be downloaded from the Sophos site
  • Choose strong passwords. Secure your device with a strong password (or PIN) using a combination of mixed case letters, numbers, and special characters and set the device to automatically lock after a maximum of 3 minutes of inactivity. Press the Windows Key + L to lock your Windows computer. 
  • My Computer has a User Account & an Administrator Account. Create a Limited User Account for everyday use and keep the Administrator access for special tasks such as software installations.
  • Encrypt your device. We recommend that you never store sensitive or personal files on Laptops or Computers, but if you must, please ensure that the laptop or files are encrypted. For advice on how to encrypt Laptops and files visit IT Services encryption webpage.  
  • Use a secure network connection. When connected to the Internet, your data can be vulnerable if the connection is not secure. While on campus use either the cabled network or the Eduroam Wi-Fi network.  When working on an untrusted Wi-Fi network, such as a Hotel, Coffee shop or Airport hotspot, always use the Staff VPN (Virtual Private Network) to secure the network connection. 
  • Enable the laptop firewall. Apple Macintosh and Windows computers have basic desktop firewalls as part of their operating systems. When set up properly, these firewalls help protect your files from unauthorized access.
  • Backup, Backup, BACKUP! Backing up your machine regularly can protect you from the unexpected. Keep a few months' worth of backups and make sure the files can be retrieved if needed. Visit IT Services storage options for recommendations on backup options.
  • Reputable Software! Only install software from reputable sources that you trust. 
  • Never leave your laptop unattended.  The physical security of your machine is just as important as its technical security.
  • BadUSB. Never insert untrusted USB keys or external drives into your computer as they may contain malware.
  • Remote Working: Use your University secured laptop when accessing University business systems or confidential University information when working remotely.
  • Visit IT Security Top Tips webpage for more advice on how to protect UCD’s Information.

Please contact the IT Helpdesk by emailing if you require any assistance applying the above recommendations. 

Updated February 2021