The recent theft of a Fidelity Investments laptop computer that contained confidential client information is perhaps the final straw for many companies and individuals, who in increasing numbers are seeking out precautions ranging from old-fashioned locks to sophisticated software protection.

The Fidelity laptop contained the Social Security numbers of 196,000 employees at Hewlett-Packard, whose retirement plans Fidelity manages.

Now business is booming in the protection business, according to USA Today. Companies and individuals are buying hardware and software to create layers of deterrence. Cable locks that anchor a laptop to the workstation, alarms that can be heard from up to 40 feet away and software that wipes out data once the stolen laptop is connected to the Internet are among popular precautions on the market today.

(c) 2006 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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