Theft prevention: Laptops and other equipment

Laptops and other electronic equipment are easy targets for theft. Besides the monetary value of the hardware, the information that is stored on the equipment must be considered, as it is often far more valuable than the equipment itself. The theft of that information, especially if it is personally identifiable information, may potentially result in exposure to liability. 


In collaboration with McGill University’s Security Services and IT Services, Risk Advisory and Insurance Services offers you some reminders on how to help you protect your laptop, equipment and the data stored on it, be it a personal or McGill University device: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Remember to lock your office, room or lab on your way out, especially if there are valuables inside.
  • Never leave your laptop or other electronic equipment unattended anywhere on campus, including in a library, vehicle, conference room, lab, office, dining hall or a café.
  • Whenever possible, lock up your laptop or other electronic equipment and keep it out of sight. 
  • Is your area equipped with a Medeco lock, card readers, cameras, and an alarm system? For more details on security devices and a self-serve physical security assessment tool, visit Security Services’ website.  
  • Store shipments of new or unassigned laptops and other electronic equipment in locked closets, cabinets or rooms with controlled access. 
  • Protect your personal information, research, work data, software and devices with these tips and resources from IT Services
  • Use protective software such as password-locking programs, encryption programs and anti-virus software. By default, all institutionally- owned/managed desktops and laptops newly provisioned by IT Services are encrypted. 
  • Delete any confidential data stored on a USB drive and transfer it to either SharePoint, OneDrive or a network shared drive. 
  • Record your laptop's identification number, make, model, and serial number and keep it in a safe place; for an institutionally- owned/managed device, keep a record of the proof of the original purchase, the FOAPAL used for the purchase, and the Banner document code. 

Report a theft

A woman and a man sit at a table and look at the screen of a laptop

Report the theft of institutionally-owned equipment (purchased with a McGill account) to:

  1. Security Services: 
    • Downtown campus: 514-398-3000
    • Macdonald campus: 514-398-7777
  2.  IT Service Desk:  
  3. Risk Advisory and Insurance Services: 
    • [at]  
    • Include a copy of the: 
      • Security Incident Report, and
      • IT Support Ticket

Risk Advisory and Insurance Services (RAIS) promotes and advances the use of risk management practices in order to protect McGill University's human and physical resources against potential loss and minimize the adverse affects should a loss occur. From research involving animals, cells and rockets, to teaching medicine, music and law, to building operation, maintenance and renovation, what goes on at a university can be a risky business. Prevention plays an essential part in the management of these risks. RAIS is happy to bring you this series of important prevention reminders to help minimize the risk of loss and damages.

Back to top