THE MAGAZINE

@ Worth a Look

By Peter Piazza

Each time a laptop is stolen from a public- or private-sector employee, there is a hue and cry about whether it was encrypted or password protected or otherwise had its data secure from prying eyes. These high-tech solutions sometimes overshadow the low-tech equipment that could have prevented the theft in the first place.

It’s impossible to say how many laptops have been kept safe by any of the Kensington notebook locks I tested recently, but I pity the thief who tried to steal a laptop that was secured by one. The locks and cables are so heavy duty that it would be easier to saw through the table to which a computer was secured.

Each is made to fit into the Kensington security slot, a small hole in the side of almost every laptop; they are also found in CPUs, printers, and other electronic items. The locks use keys that can be made for master access, shared access to several locks, or for supervisor-only access. All feature a loop at one end that allows the cable to be secured around a table or desk leg.

The MicroSaver Notebook Lock is a six-foot-long, 4.5-mm-thick cable made of a steel composite with a carbon-tempered steel core. The MicroSaver DS Notebook Lock is the same length and thickness, but is made of a carbon-tempered steel cable core with an external steel-braided sheath. It is remarkably strong and heavy.

The MicroSaver Twin Notebook Lock is 7.5 feet long and 4.5 mm thick, made of the steel composite around a carbon-tempered steel core. It features two lock heads on the cable, so that one can secure, for example, a laptop, while the other protects a nearby monitor or printer.

The locks will intimidate all but the most serious thieves. The keys (two are provided for each lock) are similarly heavy duty, with long, plastic sheaths with holes for a keyring. The keys operate smoothly and the locks rotate to make access easier. For a trade show or other venue where equipment must be left out in the open, these locks will make it easier to keep your mind on the business of security rather than the security of your business tools.

Pros. Very heavy duty, and the different keying options make them easy to manage.

Cons. The cables are bulky and don’t roll up into a small package, as lighter-weight locks do, and the keys, at 2 1/2 inches long, won’t fit neatly into a pocket. So, they may not be right unless you’re leaving your equipment out unattended at a trade show.

Where to get them. The locks are at Kensington’s online store. The MicroSaver Notebook lock is $44.99; the MicroSaver DS Notebook Lock is $54.99; and the MicroSaver Twin Notebook Lock is $69.99.

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