Personal Devices

While mobile devices such as laptops, phones, USB flash drives, etc are convenient and allow data to be more accessible, they also come with a risk. If the device is lost or stolen, you can lose your data. Any private data on the lost or stolen device is at risk of becoming public, potentially exposing any client or employee data that might be stored on the device and exposing them to the risk of identity theft.

Tips And Best Practices

  • Always lock your computer and mobile phone with a password or passcode, and never share your computer with others
  • Always lock your room room/office whenever you’re away
  • Never leave your computer or mobile device(s) unattended in public areas, even for a few minutes
  • Don’t leave your devices in an unlocked vehicle, and never leave it in plain sight, even if the vehicle is locked
  • If you must leave your devices in a vehicle, the best place is hidden in the trunk
  • Carry your devices in a nondescript carrying case, briefcase, or bag when moving about
  • Apply distinctive paint markings (such as indelible markers) to make your laptop unique and easily identifiable
  • Only place sensitive information on a mobile device if it is absolutely necessary
  • If you must store sensitive information on a mobile device, consider using encryption, a way of scrambling the data so that only somebody with the appropriate key can read it
  • Back up your information using cloud-based storage or on portable media such as a flash drive or other backup media
  • Protect yourself on public wireless networks
    • Turn off your wireless and location information
    • Avoid accessing sensitive accounts, such as your banking or credit information, while on public networks in order to prevent anyone from gaining access. If you need to log onto sensitive accounts, log onto Kent State University’s VPN to use a protected wireless network
      Don't know how to connect to Kent State University's secure VPN?


What to Do if Your Device Has Been Stolen

The user will need to report the theft to the police. In order to file a complete report, the user will need to have the make, model, and serial number of the stolen device. If the user does not have this information, they can contact the device manufacturer.

If the theft occurred on a Kent Campus:

If the theft occurred in Kent, Ohio:

If the theft occurred elsewhere:

  • The user needs to contact their local police department


  • If you had any sensitive information on the device (such as credentials for accounts, personally identifiable information, financial information, etc.), it is recommended that you change your passwords as well as request your accounts to be flagged/monitored.
  • If the device has any work or client information, the your employer and/or client should be notified immediately. 
  • Contact the device manufacturer so that they can make a note that the device has been stolen in case the thief tries calling support.