Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania


Laptop Security


As part of an ongoing effort to protect Penn’s assets and to comply with Federal regulations and standards to protect the privacy, confidentiality, and integrity of institutional data, the ComputracePlus Laptop Security Program has been implemented at the School of Medicine. This program enables law enforcement officials to track and potentially retrieve lost and/or stolen laptops.


It is highly recommended that the Computrace Agent be installed on ALL laptops regardless of their specific function.
ALL laptops purchased with Institutional funds (including research grants and funds from federal agencies and industry sponsors) MUST have the Computrace Agent installed. All personal laptops with ePHI MUST also have it installed. It is recommended that all other personal laptops have the agent installed, especially those with other confidential but non-patient related information.
According to PennMed policy, confidential data is defined by UPHS/SOM as data such that, if compromised, would likely result in an adverse impact to UPHS/SOM, its patients, partners, and/or workforce members.

Laptop Owner Roles

To maintain the recovery guarantee, it is the responsibility of the laptop owner to ensure their device is connected to the Internet at least once every 30 days. If this requirement is not upheld and the device is stolen, attempts to recover the device will be made, but replacement monies will not be paid out if the device is not recovered.
It is vital that the laptop owner stores their laptop serial number and Emergency contact information in a safe place separate from the laptop. PMACS has wallet-sized cards for storing this information. If you would like a card, please contact Bob DeSilets at 215-746-5578 or This information will be crucial in the recovery process.
In the event of a loss or theft, it is also the responsibility of the laptop owner to follow the appropriate steps outlined below.

What Happens If a Loss Occurs?

See our page on What Happens if Your Laptop is Lost or Stolen.

How Do I Get ComputracePlus for My Laptop?


What is installed on my computer?

The ComputracePlus agent is a small, software client that resides on the host computer.

Exactly what is ComputracePlus designed to do?

This Agent is designed to create both a deterrent for theft, which exposes the privacy and confidentiality of electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) to outside parties, and to assist in the recovery of stolen laptop computers.

What is ComputracePlus NOT designed to do?

The product is not:

  • A means of tracking, obtaining an inventory, or monitoring normal laptop activity
  • A means of knowing what other software is resident on the laptop
  • A guarantee of loss prevention
  • An agent known to disrupt routine computing on the laptop
  • An automatic trigger for finding a lost or stolen device

Through what means are licenses paid?

The cost of this software is $65 per computer for a 3-year contract, and fees will be charged to the department, center or institute based on the laptop inventory.
Please note: each license is valid for a 3 year contract period. After that point, a new license will need to be purchased.

Are devices other than laptops covered by this program?

At this time, only laptops are being covered with this program. However, the Agent can be installed on desktops, including local and out-of-office devices.

Is my laptop protected when I travel?

The software is designed to work in both the USA and Canada. In other locations, reliance on the cooperation of local law enforcement is not necessarily as consistent.

What happens to my laptop protection if I leave on sabbatical?

The device must check in through an Internet connection once each 30 days in order to maintain the recovery guarantee. Otherwise, if it is reported stolen during the leave period, attempts to recover it would be made, but the replacement monies could not be paid out if the device is not recovered. Once the device regularly reports in again, it is under the standard warrantee.

Is there a means through this contract by which the data on my computer can be viewed by others?


What are the kinds of laptop losses covered by this service?

Internal Loss, Internal Theft, and External theft.

What are the minimum system requirements to run ComputracePlus?

Computrace Agent Hardware & Operating System Requirements:

For PCs:
486 or faster processor
Hayes-compatible modem or connection to the Internet
Windows 95/98/2000/NT/Me/XP

For Macs:
G3 processor or above
Connection to the Internet
Mac OS X version 10.2

Does ComputracePlus interfere with applications that are in operation?

No. ComputracePlus does not affect system performance or security. The agent itself occupies a small amount of memory when idle. When placing a call to the Monitoring Center, it occupies approximately 27 KB during the data transfer.

Can the Computrace Agent dial through various telephone systems?

The Computrace Agent works from any phone line in the United States and Canada, even those requiring a special prefix number, such as 8 or 9. If the Agent is set to dial with a special prefix, it will first dial using that prefix but will try all common prefixes (and no prefix) until it makes a successful connection. When the Computrace Agent uses a phone connection to communicate with the Monitoring Center, it uses a toll-free telephone number.

How long does it take to install the ComputracePlus service?

For individual installations it only takes a few minutes to run through the wizard- based installation tool and install the Computrace Agent.

For more information, contact Bob DeSilets at or 215-746-5578.

Penn Medicine Academic Computing Services (PMACS) at the Perelman School of Medicine

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