Having your laptop stolen or lost is probably among your worst nightmares.   This is especially true for laptops that contain sensitive data such as HIPAA protected health information.  The loss of a laptop with sensitive financial information is a recipe for disaster.  The best solution is to encrypt the harddisk.  Encryption requires a password when the computer boots to load the Operating System.  It is nearly impossible to crack an encrypted drive, especially one with a strong password.  

This article will walk you through how to encrypt your Windows 10 computer.  Most PCs that ship with Windows 10 automatically have device encryption included, this is how to enable it.

Third party tools for PC’s like VeraCrypt also exist if you don’t trust Microsoft or want stronger encryption than bitlocker.

Mac Operating Systems also include an encryption tool called FileVault.  Here is a guide to enabling it.

There are additional tools to protect the security of your laptop. Microsoft has a tool that allows you to find your lost device, and disable it if necessary.  Here is a link that explains how.  

Apple also offers this feature for their Macs.

Of course, if your laptop should always have an encrypted hard disk even if you are able to find and shut down your computer by using these tools.

To keep your data the most secure, always encrypt your hard disc and complete the steps to track down your laptop and erase your data.  Keep your data backed up so it is easy to retrieve if this worst-case scenario happens to you.