Locking down the iPad 2 for business use

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Kensington SecureBack Security Case
URL Screenshot of http://www.kensington.com http://www.kensington.com
From $44.99 (£44.99)
Secure but lightweight, one-touch ClickSafe locking system
Cost, doesn't provide any iPad screen protection
An iPad is not a cheap investment, especially if you're a business with a few of them. iPad theft is on the up, but how do you secure your investment against opportunist thieves and career robbers? One answer is to get physical and literally lock the device down with a secure cable, which is the approach taken by the SecureBack case from Kensington. The trouble is that while it undoubtedly does work when locked down, it requires that users can be bothered to tether the iPad to the desk and, indeed, tether the shell case to the iPad. Given that true go anywhere mobility is at the very heart of iPad use, this does appear to be rather unlikely. That said, if you want to ensure that your iPad 2 stays securely on your desk when you pop out then there is no easier way of doing so than the Kensington SecureBack Case.

The trouble with Kensington lock systems for laptops in the past was that they were fiddly to actually use, which is why the company took a step back and redesigned the process by introducing the new ClickSafe system. This still utilises the same Kensington lock slot that appears on everything mobile, but does so by requiring the user to put a locking 'nub' into it which stays in place and the actual cable lock itself just 'clicks' into place nice and easily. It's this ClickSafe lock system that is used in conjunction with the SecureBack case to lock down your iPad 2 into place.

The case itself consists of three pieces of white plastic which, once assembled around the iPad, form a pretty standard looking 'shell' case. The plastic itself, whilst being sturdy enough for everyday usage did, I have to say, feel somewhat flimsy if you are talking about providing any kind of real world drop protection for your tablet. Ordinarily I would have put such a thing through the ringer by performing a bunch of drop-tests upon it but, to be absolutely honest with you, there was no way I felt like entrusting my iPad 2 to such a housing. Don't let this put you off though, if you are in the market for a shock-protection bumper or waterproof and idiot proof armour-plating for your iPad then there are plenty of options out there for you to choose from. The SecureBack Case doesn't promise to be any of these things: it promises to secure your iPad 2 from theft.

How it achieves that is, having said all that, in the construction. Not the type of plastic used but rather the way the two pieces of the plastic casing are held together by a third retaining strip. Insert your iPad into one piece, snap on the other piece and once enclosed by the SecureBack shell you simply insert the grey retaining strip which holds the two together. Well, Kensington says 'simply' but it's not a word I'd be happy to use as I found inserting the retaining bar fiddly at best and downright frustrating at worst. Maybe it eases up over time, but inserting and removing the iPad from the SecureBack case half a dozen times was more than enough for me it has to be said. Unfortunately it is the retaining strip that provides the 'secure' part of this case equation, along with the ClickSafe lock system. So unless you find the insertion/removal process not only simple but quick and painless as well, there is a risk that you will simply not bother at all and that defeats the object which is, after all, security.

Anyway, assuming you have inserted the retaining rod and your SecureBack Case is now firmly in place the only way you can remove the iPad from it is by first removing the retaining bar itself. Which you will not be able to do if you have clicked your lock into place using the metal nub at the top of the bar. Wrap your ClickSafe cable around some immovable object (a chair or desk leg is not advisable as both can easily be lifted and the cable slipped off) and your iPad 2 is going nowhere in a hurry. From this perspective the SecureBack Case works as advertised; once assembled and locked around both your iPad 2 and some kind of fixed object your tablet is, indeed, secure. But, and for me it is a vital but, while the ClickSafe locking system is truly one-touch and makes removing your iPad from lockdown mode a breeze the same cannot be said of the case itself which takes a fair bit of fiddling with to remove. If you are happy travelling out of the office with a hard white plastic shell attached to your iPad, offering no protection to the screen, then fine. If you are a normal human being who prefers to keep their expensive iPad in a more all-round protective, and all-round more fashionable for that matter, casing then the SecureBack is not for you. Kensington says that the case "protects the iPad from theft, scratches and damage" but only to the back of the iPad as there is no protection for the screen, which is the part most likely to suffer damage in the first place.

Then there is the cost. Although you need to look upon the SecureBack Case as an investment to protect your investment, if you see what I mean, unless you already have a Kensington ClickSafe lock/cable then you will need to add this to the initial purchase price. Kensington does, however, offer a version of the product which bundles the ClickSafe system lock/cable for less than the cost of buying a separate one. The SecureBack does actually have a standard Kensington Lock slot on the back but that is, again, a more fiddly option and more likely to lead to users not using the thing in my opinion and so best avoided.