Device Safety

Looking after your devices

One of the simplest steps you can take to staying digtially safe is by looking after your devices. From regularly keeping them up-to-date right through to enabling security features already available on your devices – you can quickly and safely secure yourself and your data.

Locking Devices

  • Set Pin, Password or Biometric authentication.
  • Use Multi Factor Authentication if possible.
  • Set your device to erase after 10 password failures (if possible).
  • Set a passcode to auto lock after a period of inactivity.

Updating Devices

  • Keep Operating Systems software up to date.
  • Enable auto updates and install critical patches regularly.
  • Keep antivirus software up to date and allow it to run regular scans of your device.
  • Only download software and apps from trusted sources.
  • Set your software to auto-update if possible.
  • Also applies to web browsers and plugins.

Data Security

  • Register with the University’s MDM service.
  • Auto encrypt devices and storage where possible.
  • Keep automatic backups of important data.
  • Install Antivirus software
  • Enable Remote Wipe if available.

Lost/stolen device

  • Use the “locate my device” feature.
  • Initiate Remote Wipe if available.
  • Report to Information Services or Police (if appropriate).

Public and wireless networks

If you are sending or receiving personal, financial or sensitive data:

  • Only connect to secure wireless networks.
  • Choose 3G/4G networks rather than a public Wi-Fi option.

Device disposal

  • Always reset to factory defaults.
  • Wipe the internal storage device.
  • Wipe any additional storage devices.
  • Remove any external devices such as USB drives/CDs etc.

Updating Devices

The Risks

Not keeping your software up to date can result in serious issues, affecting both your computer and your own personal security. These include:

  • Viruses, spyware and other malware.
  • Cyber-criminal attacks.
  • Crashing, freezing and generally poor performance.

As well as resolving security issues, software updates frequently contain improvements and new features. We recommend you download and install the update as soon as possible 


The information held on your device may be irreplaceable. Regularly backing up your data will ensure that you have more than one copy.

The Risks

  • Hardware failure (for example, hard drive failure is a frequent occurrence).
  • Accidental file deletion.
  • Theft. 
  • Fire, flood, accidental damage.
  • Catastrophic virus or spyware infections.
  • File deletion during operating system upgrades.

The data on your device could include your documents, photos, music, video and contacts – as well as your software. Modern device hard drives can hold massive volumes of data, making the consequences of loss through any of the above potentially disastrous. The impact could be inconvenient, stressful, time consuming and expensive.

Keep Your Data Safe

Backups make it simple for you to protect your data by copying and storing it somewhere other than your device hard drive. We recommend you back up important data

Safe Device Disposal

The Risks

  • The personal information stored in files on your computer can be accessed and used for criminal activity.
  • Any passwords stored on your computer could give access to secure websites holding your personal and financial information.
  • Any browsing history stored on your computer can be accessed.
  • Emails stored on your computer can be accessed.
  • Disposing of your computer without having retrieved the information you may need in the future may cause inconvenience or disruption.

Safe Disposal

  • Copy all of the data you will need in the future, on to your new PC or storage device, or back it up in the cloud.
  • Fully erase the hard disk(s) so that any personal information is completely deleted. Simply deleting files is not enough to permanently erase them. Instead, use a dedicated file deletion program or service, or physically destroy the hard drive to render it unusable. Alternatively, if the hard drive is still serviceable and reliable, you could re-house it in an external case with power supply and USB connection and use it to back up or exchange your data.
  • Ensure that any CDs or DVDs which contain your data are removed from the computer.
  • Don’t forget that your CDs, DVDs, memory cards, USB sticks and other USB connected devices may also contain your sensitive data and should be disposed of with equal care.
  • If the computer equipment is at the end of its life and you do not intend to sell it or give it away, take it to a proper disposal facility, which will ensure that is dismantled and the components recycled correctly and responsibly

Physical Security

Physical security is just as important as online security in protecting your computer and yourself against crime. This page covers physically protecting your equipment and data not only from theft, but also from fire, flood and accidental damage.

The Risks  

Computer and Data Theft

If your device is not suitably protected, it is easy for criminals to either steal your data or infect your device without needing online access – or to steal or damage the equipment itself. In spite of the sophisticated online methods now used by criminals, it is still easier to access the computer by entering your property.

Firstly, if your home (or other premises where computer equipment is kept) is not adequately secured, the way is left open for criminals to gain access by breaking in.

Another common way they can do this is by tricking householders into thinking that they are legitimate callers and finding the computer system whilst pretending to “read the meter”, “survey the property” or “clean the windows”. It does not take long for criminals to achieve their objectives once you have been tricked or distracted.

Physical Damage

Like everything else in the home or office, computer equipment is vulnerable to damage from fire, flood and accidental damage. However, the consequences can be more significant because of the data you have stored on it such as documents, photos, music, contact lists and bookmarked websites.

Do Your Part….. Be Security Smart