Physical Security

Why is physical security important?

  • To help prevent theft, loss, and unauthorized access
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What should you do?

  • Physically secure laptop computers and mobile devices at all times: keep them with you or lock them up securely before you step away -- even just for a second.

Here's how to secure:


  • Don't leave mobile devices unattended in public places. In your office, dorm room, library, at coffee shops, meetings, conferences, etc. Remember: Phones, tablets, and laptops get stolen from cars, homes, and offices all the time.
  • Make sure it is locked to or in something permanent when not in use.


  • Prevent Shoulder-Surfing: Shield devices so others can't see sensitive information on the screen or passwords as you type them in. If you show your screen to others, make sure it doesn’t have anything sensitive or revealing on it that unauthorized individuals should not see.
  • Securely delete all contents of computers and mobile devices, before discarding, exchanging, selling, or donating them.  UCSC IT Services offers secure disposal and destruction for University devices and sensitive data.


  • Secure your environment before leaving: Lock windows and doors, take keys out of drawers.
  • Never share your access code, card or key. Don't hold secure doors open for people you don't know.
    Offer to assist people who are in areas where they may not belong.

Hard copy Information

  • Don’t leave sensitive information lying around, including on printers, fax machines, or copiers.
  • And in general, don't print P3 - P4 data, including screenshots. 
  • Use a paper shredder or secure shred bin when throwing out personal or sensitive information.
  • Store paper documents that include P3 - P4 data in a locked filing system.

In the case of theft or loss:

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