Remodelers' hard drives might not be the most tempting targets for hackers, but there are still plenty of threats to your digital security. Portable storage devices have made it easy for your data to walk right out the door with a careless or disgruntled employee. So when that slacker you fired is “cleaning out his desk,” he could be cleaning out your data at the same time. Here are a few things to keep an eye on.

Thumb drives. Also known as “flash drives,” these solid-state storage devices hold up to a Gigabyte of data and are meant to fit on a key ring. Just don't lose those keys, or all that work you (or your bookkeeper) were taking home for the weekend could wind up in the wrong hands.

PDAs and Smart Phones. PalmOS and PocketPC devices let your Project Managers carry around all kinds of confidential company and client information on their belt... and “beam it” to their contractor-wannabe brother-in-law with just a couple of taps.

Dongles. These “hardware locks” plug into a printer or USB port, and many high-end programs won't run without them. They don't hold data, but lose your dongle (ouch) and you'll be locked out of all your CAD drawings or payroll until you can get it replaced.

So how do you stop all this digital skullduggery?— Joe Stoddard is a process/technology consultant to the building industry. He can be reached at