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Some of the most expensive equipment any event manager’s going to deal with is electronic in nature. You’ve got smart-phones and tablets, projectors and speaker systems, laptops and routers…you get the idea. These days, everyone’s showing up with a gallery of gadgets in tow, to say nothing of all the gear you’re vendors and attendees may bring along for personal use, display and demo.

Unfortunately, electronics are a prime target for thieves. Take Vlambeer, for example, which lost pretty much everything in a 2013 theft at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Today, we’re looking at six security tips to help prevent theft of equipment and protect both your attendees and your own technology at events.

Set up Secure Exits and Entrances

If your event is, for example, a well-publicized game industry tradeshow you should assume someone will attempt to get some expensive equipment for free. It’s very important that your security staff control the venue exits and entrances. Some form of pass or identification should be required at all times. That way, it’s a whole lot easier to prevent any shady characters from making their way in and making off with some prime loot.

Tip: instruct your team to watch for people doing seemingly ordinary things at odd times – like removing a demo in the middle of the day.

Set Up Encryption For Your Wi-Fi

One of the most common, ridiculous mistakes at this stage in the game is not providing Wi-Fi. The second most common mistakes is having Wi-Fi, but forgetting to properly encrypt the wireless connection. Make certain that only authorized guests have the authentication codes/encryption keys necessary to log in to your events designated network. Otherwise, you’re subjecting your guests to the potential free-for-all of unsecured wireless.

Keep A Close Eye On Equipment

Thieves thrive on inattention. All it takes for someone to make off with your valuables is for you to look away (for even a few seconds). Make sure this doesn’t happen by watching all your gear like a hawk. Assign a few people to do it for you, if need be. You may consider making a team of volunteers or staff available to vendors for sitting booths for breaks or as an additional set of eyes.

Security Cameras Are A Great BackUp System

While I’m not a fan of forgoing effective low-tech solutions because high-tech security is available, familiarize yourself with any security cameras you see around your venue. They might prove invaluable in the event that someone tries to make off with (or sabotage) some of your equipment. You can also let your attendees know that your chosen venue has security systems in place.

Advise Your Guests About Equipment Safety

No one goes to a conference expecting that they’re going to be robbed. As such, it’s not terribly difficult to see how people might get a little bit careless. As the event organizers it’s good to remind people of the threat, make public service announcements. If your providing any services that may help prevent theft, announce that, put it on-line, spread the word via social media.

Hint: a simple announcement reminding everyone about potential theft and alerting guests to security measures puts everyone at easy and acts as a terrific deterrent. 

Use A Secure Ticket Registration Site

If you’re using online registration; it is imperative that you make sure whatever platform you’re using is safe and secure for your guests. Otherwise, you’re looking at potentially hundreds or thousands of compromised bank accounts and credit cards. Not really something you want to deal with as an event planner, is it? We’d only use reputable, well-known registration sites like EventBrite. The risk is too high otherwise.