Top 5 Security Features for Business Desktops, Laptops, and All-in-One Systems

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Are you in the market for a professional-grade computer? If so, you’re most likely a business or enterprise user and know that while these systems come with a higher price point, they are also built with hardware and software features that a standard one won’t have. However, once you distinguish a business model from a consumer one, there is still a myriad of features to go through, so what are the most important ones that are worth keeping an eye out for? This article will help you with the top five security features to consider for your next business desktop, laptop, or all-in-one (AIO) device.

Enterprise-Grade Security

If you’re buying a laptop, you want to remain mobile and work while you’re on the go. Working remotely may involve accessing sensitive data at public hotspots that may not be as secure as you need them to be. Software security, such as firewall and anti-virus software, should be part of your workflow, but software has its limitations, which is why it’s more effective to seek out a system with built-in hardware security. This includes data encryption, which helps guard against theft and hacking, as well as strong passwords and two-factor authentication. Other important safeguards built into the hardware and firmware include pre-boot authentication, self-encryption drives, remote wiping capabilities, and a self-healing BIOS.

When it comes to enterprise-grade security, HP grabs the bull by the horns. HP Sure Start helps protect against firmware attacks with a self-healing BIOS that automatically recovers from attacks and corruption. Sure Run provides greater resilience against attacks, making it more difficult for attackers to take down your system's defenses, while Sure Sense uses proprietary deep learning algorithms and advanced neural network technology to recognize malware and protect against evolving threats. Lastly, Sure Click isolates key applications in their own virtual containers, trapping any malware and deleting it as soon as you close the application.

Do any of these features pique your interest? If so, check out the HP ProDesk 600 G5 Mini, ProOne 600 G5 AIO, EliteDesk 705 G4 and 705 G5, and EliteDesk 800 G4 Mini and 800 G5 Mini.

HP ProDesk 600 G5 Mini Desktop Computer
HP ProDesk 600 G5 Mini Desktop Computer

One final component to look for in regard to data encryption is an SSD encrypted with the Opal Storage Specification. Many systems, including Lenovo’s ThinkPad X390, have an SSD encrypted with this method to help protect your data against unauthorized users.

Lenovo ThinkPad X390 Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad X390 Laptop

Physical Security

If you don’t want someone to walk off with your laptop when you step away, you’ll need some type of physical security, such as a Kensington or other third-party lock slot that will let you install a physical locking cable that is then secured to an immovable object. You’ll have to go out of your way to find a system that doesn’t include a lock slot—they can be found built into laptops from Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, HP, ASUS, and more. Remember that you’ll need to purchase the lock separately.

Kensington Combination Laptop Lock
Kensington Combination Laptop Lock

If your system has built-in GPS, you can use that to track its location, although this requires Wi-Fi connectivity, not wired Ethernet. Apple lets you track any device registered to your Apple ID using the “Find My” app on your iOS device or the iCloud web interface. Remember, if your device is not connected via Wi-Fi, it may show up as online, but location unavailable, or as completely offline.

This last “physical” option is for those working in public areas who want to protect their screen from nosy onlookers. HP Sure View technology builds a privacy screen into your laptop’s display, greatly reducing viewing angles so it’s only visible to the person using it. This tech can be activated by pressing fn + F5 and is found on HP’s EliteBook x360 1040 G6, ZBook Studio G5, and more.

HP 14" EliteBook x360 1040 G6 Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Laptop
HP 14" EliteBook x360 1040 G6 Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Laptop

For all other systems, you’ll need to purchase a privacy cover that fits over the display.

Biometrics

Biometric data are your photo and fingerprints. Since most systems have a user-facing webcam, and sometimes also a world-facing webcam, it is critical to safeguard your privacy, since webcams can be hacked. Make sure your laptop’s webcam has a privacy shutter that can be closed when not in use. If it doesn’t, put a piece of opaque tape over the lens.

One more note about webcams—some systems include IR (infrared) webcams, which can be used alongside Windows Hello to unlock your system via facial authentication.

On the fingerprint level, a fingerprint reader can be used to unlock your system using you fingerprint, as well as confirm online purchases.

IR webcams and fingerprint readers bolster security that is already provided via password protection. All systems offer password protection, but the more professional models take system security beyond “enter your password at this prompt.”

All of the features listed above can be found in the HP 13.3" Elite Dragonfly Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Laptop. Aside from password login, you can unlock your Dragonfly with the built-in fingerprint reader, as well as a 720p IR camera that supports facial recognition via Windows Hello. The webcam has an integrated shutter that you can use to physically block the camera and protect yourself from malicious surveillance. Other HP laptops with an integrated privacy shutter include the HP ProBook x360 11 G5 EE and x360 11 G6 EE. EE stands for “Educational Edition,” and maybe you’re thinking—why mention a laptop for education use in a piece that’s focusing on business? For students and educators, education is their business.

HP 13.3" Elite Dragonfly Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Laptop
HP 13.3" Elite Dragonfly Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Laptop

While Apple supports Face ID on their more recent iOS devices, it is not currently supported on laptop systems, although their laptops do include webcams. iOS devices have also moved away from using fingerprint readers in favor of Face ID, but the 16", 15.4", and 13.3" MacBook Pro and the 13.3" MacBook Air feature Touch ID, which lets you unlock your Mac and make purchases using your Apple ID and Apple Pay, all with your fingerprint.

Drive Recovery

Backing up your system is a hassle. Nobody likes it because you have to sit down and do it. There’s no instant gratification here, but once completed, the results are well worth it. However, there are some companies who build drive recovery directly into the hardware and firmware. In the event of a catastrophe, this won’t recover your entire drive, but if you have been keeping regular backups, it will save you the trouble of having to scramble for a Windows or macOS recovery disc or USB drive. On the Windows side, HP Sure Recover is an automated operating system recovery solution integrated into HP computer hardware and firmware. It enables you to recover the operating system whenever needed, throughout the life cycle of the computer. Sure Recover succeeds even if the primary drive has been completely erased and can be found on the HP Elite One 800 G5 and EliteOne 800 G5 (HealthCare Edition), as well the previous gen EliteOne 800 G4 models.

HP 23.8" EliteOne 800 G5 Multi-Touch All-in-One Desktop Computer
HP 23.8" EliteOne 800 G5 Multi-Touch All-in-One Desktop Computer

Mac users can rely on a recovery drive, which exists as a separate partition on the HDD or SSD. Also available for macOS users is Internet recovery, which lets you format your drive, reinstall the OS, run diagnostics, and more. Windows typically doesn’t have this—you would need to create a recovery drive on USB or optical media.

To boot into the macOS recovery drive, hold down the Option key during startup. To boot into Internet Recovery, hold down Command + Option + R. This is available on most, if not all Mac systems.

What’s in Your OS? Windows 10 Pro versus Standard

The final area we’re going to investigate is security features offered in Windows 10 Pro versus Windows 10 Home. When compared to Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro features BitLocker, Microsoft Update for Business, Remote Desktop, Hyper-V, and Assigned Access.

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

BitLocker is an encryption tool that protects the files on your hard drive or external USB flash drives. It is useful if you have private data you want to protect using a password. BitLocker does require a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip.

Microsoft Update lets you update from the cloud. This way, you can update multiple laptops and computers in a domain at the same time, from a central PC.

Remote Desktop lets you remote connect to another computer in the domain. This way, someone can work from home and still access any necessary files. On location, you can retrieve all data, so you'll always have the necessary files, whether you're at your office or at home.

Hyper-V will come in handy if you want to create and run a virtual machine that acts like a complete computer, running an operating system and programs.

The last difference between Windows 10 Pro and Home is the Assigned Access function. You can use this function to determine which apps other users are allowed to use. That means you can control what others do in your system, such as access the Internet or not.

Most business laptops come with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed, but if the one you’re interested in does not, check over the differences and decide if they are things you can live without. Here is a list of work laptops with Windows 10 Pro that are carried by B&H.

After reading this, hopefully you’re now more aware of what a business system needs to be equipped with to ensure your personal privacy and data security. Is there something you feel we missed that should be on this list? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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