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  1. #1
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    Would you commute to work if....

    you had to carry a government laptop with you and you could get fired if said laptop was lost or damaged? I mean, commuting sounds like a fun adventure, but getting fired if something happens to the prescious laptop does not sound so fun.

  2. #2
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    Re: Would you commute to work if....

    That's a little harsh, but the laptop could break in other circumstances as well. Wouldn't they just let you replace it? They're are many more irresponsible ways to break a laptop than commuting to work.

    Either way, I would purchase a nice laptop carrying back pack and go for it. No point living your life in fear.

    The only exception would be if your commute is all tech single track, in which case I would find a way to ride every day and grab your computer later.

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  3. #3
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    I would not if said laptop has classified details in it that can get into the wrong hands.

    ~Just my 2 cents.

  4. #4
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    Well if the Government provided a car for you to come / go to the office and you wrecked the laptop while riding a bike then you ought to get fired.

  5. #5
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    Shouldn't a laptop like that be military grad anyway? I mean, they do make ruggedized versions.

    Also, you may want to try to get a new job. That top secret kinda crap is tangled web and lots of people like to play lots of games with it.

    Get away from that job into a more reasonable one is what I'd say.

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    I have no idea how tough or fragile a laptop is, and not a very good idea about protecting one, but can`t resist putting in my two cents

    Combining EBR`s question about just replacing the laptop and Huskywolf`s mention of classified material, do you think you`d really get fired for the laptop being damaged or destroyed, while the information on it was not compromized? And no thoughts one way or the other about jobs requiring security clearence (I know there are a lot of jobs that do), but is how important that particular job is would play a part in the decision if it were me. If it`s a tough to get spot that you scratched and fought your way into, it makes sense to protect it at nearly any expense. If it`s just paying the bills, another job in your field is relatively easy to find, and your mortgage is paid off, maybe not worth bending over backwards for. And from a security standpoint, the neighborhoods you commute through would be a consideration. It would be pretty stupid to ride through the urban jungle with a laptop containing payroll info on hundreds or thousands of your fellow govt employees, for example. Carrying the same laptop through Suburbia with survey reports for the new freeway extension, not such a big deal.
    Recalculating....

  7. #7
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    If your laptop contains important information, government or not, it should be protected with strong encryption and a remote wipe or kill switch. The only thing you should be out in the event of theft or loss is the actual machine.

    Now, what kind of job do you work where you could get canned if your laptop is damaged? That sounds ridiculous. Equipment suffers accidental damage all the time, people aren't fired for it. Especially government employees. Have you been explicitly told your job depends on the life of the computer? What if one day the hard drive just crashes, or you have a failure in the display system (both relatively common issues)? Totally not your fault, computer still useless until repaired.

  8. #8
    MTB, Road, Commuting
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    So as I see it you are more worried about this laptop than yourself? Crashes are pretty rare on the road and if you do get hit by a car I'd me more worried about getting maimed than cracking an LCD.

    If you are riding singletrack and doing water crossings with a laptop bungied to a Blackburn rack I'd probably avoid it.

  9. #9
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    count me with the others who want more details about WHY this would be a problem. is it the data on the machine, or the machine itself? If it's secure data, I'd question why they're sending you home with that stuff in the first place. If they're being stuffy about the hardware itself and the data on it is not that sensitive in the grand scheme of things, then I'd put the computer in as much protection as is reasonably possible (padded protected sleeve inside a padded laptop backpack, I think is reasonable) and bike on.

    I'd honestly prefer not to haul the laptop around in the first place, though.

  10. #10
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    In answer to the original question, yes. Yes I would.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  11. #11
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    Hard case and rack/bag combo would work well.

  12. #12
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    I had a co-worker before who had two laptops stolen from his car on separate occasions. He got fired when he lost the third one. Actually he resigned when management asked him to produce a police report on the lost third laptop.

    On topic: Make sure you completely shut down the laptop and not just put it on sleep mode when you do transport it.

  13. #13
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    I've never had a problem with my laptop in my backpack. I've never wrecked with my laptop on my back.

    On the other hand I've never had a car accident while my laptop was sitting on the seat next to me or in my trunk either.

    Accidents happen and your employer should not discriminate on your mode of transport to and from work unless your job responsibilities require otherwise.

  14. #14
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    Hard drives are difficult to physically damage UNLESS the laptop is on. Turn it off when you ride with it, goes for everyone.

    Hardware is expendable anyways. If the data is important, like other have said, it should be encrypted with a HIGH level of encryption. If you are working with that level of stuff, you should have am IT security person in the office that can help you lock it down... even though it should ALREADY have been locked down when it was given to you...

    Someone could just as easily mug you in the parking lot or car jack you. You are also FAR more likely to be in a car accident than major bike one (statistically). A laptop could get ****ed up in a car accident too. Get a good padded laptop backpack that can be clipped around your chest, and it is just as likely to get stolen off your person when you are on a bike as in your car.

  15. #15
    Human Test Subject
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    Just don't drag it behind your bike on a string a la Napoleon Dynamite and his action figure.

  16. #16
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    I guess if I had a bad crash or something and the laptop was damaged, they would ask how and I'm assuming that they would probably be upset if they knew I was carrying it to work on a bike.

    Also, if it feel into the wrong hands, I could be in serious trouble - even though it is encrypted - remember all the hoopla about the government laptops that were stolen from a car a few years ago? Not like it would be likely to fall out of my backpack or something but crazy stuff happens sometimes on the trail.

  17. #17
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    Well, far be it from me to suggest it, but have you asked them how they would feel about it?

  18. #18
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    I would opt for a backpack. My dad used a backpack made for laptop+ stuff when he bike commuted in Singapore for years without issue. It had the laptop part against the user and the other stuff on the outer to make it look like a normal backpack. A lot less shockable than rack mounted.

    Rain would be my larger concern as would be humidity/moisture. In any event the liability would only be marginally different than in a car if it is done properly.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I guess if I had a bad crash or something and the laptop was damaged, they would ask how and I'm assuming that they would probably be upset if they knew I was carrying it to work on a bike.

    Also, if it feel into the wrong hands, I could be in serious trouble - even though it is encrypted - remember all the hoopla about the government laptops that were stolen from a car a few years ago? Not like it would be likely to fall out of my backpack or something but crazy stuff happens sometimes on the trail.
    Well assuming you have a good working relationship I'd say talk frankly with your boss, tell him/her you want to start riding your bike to work, see if they have any actual concerns about it.

    If they're concerned about the laptop being damaged, assure that you'll take precautions to protect against water and impact with a suitable case (I like the suggestion of a decent hard-shell pannier). Also remind them that accidents are not common. If you regularly crash hard enough to damage a laptop through a good case you might want to look into a new hobby.

    If they're concerned about data theft, point out that if you crash you'll probably be able to bring back the pieces of the laptop, which will at least close the data security loop. There aren't too many cases I can think of where you'd lose your bike and everything on it and not be lost yourself.

    I don't see any reason you couldn't ride if you want, assuming your boss isn't a total dick.

  20. #20
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    I'd say talk frankly with your boss, tell him/her you want to start riding your bike to work, see if they have any actual concerns about it.

    There ya go. You might be worrying about a problem that you don`t even have.
    Recalculating....

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    you had to carry a government laptop with you and you could get fired if said laptop was lost or damaged? I mean, commuting sounds like a fun adventure, but getting fired if something happens to the prescious laptop does not sound so fun.
    I have to work with gov IT sometimes so here's my insight. All the laptops they issue to employees are fully encrypted so if the laptop is lost, mostly it will be just the lost of the laptop; any data is relatively safe. The agency I work with might have personal information, names, address, SSNs, etc, on it so it's nothing top secret or any kind of national danger if it were compromised. If you had data on the laptop that you didn't back up, you didn't want that data anyway. As far as government employee getting fired, is that even possible?

    Now on the other hand, some ****ed up stuff I have seen is that some gov employees, to avoid the possibility of compromising a government laptop and then having to report it, managed to get VPN access for their personal laptops. So if they lose their laptop, they aren't losing a government owned laptop so they don't have to report it even if it could contain data from work. Aint that some ****.

    Additionally, I have seen laptops, desktops, and hard drives clearly marked "Secret," transported in the open bed of a pickup truck. I know for a fact those computers were not using any crypto either. They had these stickers on them: http://i.imgur.com/Q7uAac0.jpg

    That said, I have, on occasion, transported encrypted unclassified government laptops in my backpack across town on my bike. They did not contain any personal or other sensitive information.

  22. #22
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    I would. Same thing could happen in a car.

    FYI, classified material does not go on a laptop.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killroy View Post
    I would. Same thing could happen in a car.

    FYI, classified material does not go on a laptop.
    There are several levels of classification
    Classified material is often on laptops

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