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(ARA) – With students heading off to college, parents nationwide are considering purchasing a new laptop for their kids and are contemplating the costs associated with it. What they often don’t consider is the cost of replacing a college laptop if it is stolen – and this cost can be much higher than you would expect.

A recent Ponemon Institute report valued loss of data from a stolen laptop to be approximately $5,870 – a price much higher than the cost of a new laptop for a college student. According to Absolute Software, a company specializing in computer theft recovery, data protection and computer lifecycle management, dorm rooms are one of the top five places laptop theft occurs.

As the laptop has become much more than just a note-taking tool, students have more to lose if their computer gets stolen. Today’s college students use a laptop for a variety of activities, including writing term papers and storing class materials, personal photos and thousands of dollars worth of movies and music. With many colleges going so far as to require all incoming students to equip themselves with a laptop, students stand to risk hours of lost class time and falling behind at school while coordinating a replacement – especially right before an important assignment or final exam.

“When thinking about the cost of replacing a lost or stolen laptop, college students and their parents often forget to count all the digital assets on that computer – including priceless photos, extensive music collections, as well as stored school files and papers,” says Mark Grace, vice president of consumer business at Absolute Software. “To get a better idea of how expensive it really is to replace a stolen laptop, students and parents need to take into consideration all the data stored on the computer. One way to take a physical inventory of a laptop is to use a digital net worth calculator, like the one available at www.lojackforlaptops.com. People are often shocked to see how much they have and could potentially lose.”

Using the digital net worth calculator, a laptop that originally cost $1,000, with 1,000 music and movie files, 200 photos and videos and 20 school papers and notes stored on it, can skyrocket to $4,010 for a replacement – over four times the original cost.

Instead of risking a costly replacement, parents can take several effective measures to ensure their student’s laptop, and the valuable information stored on it, are well protected:

  • Use visual deterrents, such as a laptop lock. While this isn’t a foolproof security measure, it does make the computer less of an “easy target” for thieves.
  • Mark your property. Many laptops can be engraved with your name and the computer’s serial number, a further deterrent for thieves.

  • Purchase and install inexpensive tracking software on your student’s laptop. Software such as Computrace LoJack for Laptops helps police track and retrieve a laptop if it is reported stolen.

  • Back-up, back-up, back-up. There are now more low-cost back-up options than ever for students, including external hard drives. Backing up a 20-page semester thesis or invaluable college memories means that in the event your laptop is stolen, you’ll still have an extra copy.

By taking these steps, parents and students can better protect their laptops, ensuring that both the laptop and its stored files are safe. These low-cost tips will also help avoid going through the heartbreak of losing priceless photos, videos and other college memories stored on their laptops.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Author: Andy Quayle

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