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News

Continued public data losses require more stringent action

Dns : 19 September, 2008  (Technical Article)
The admission that four laptops had been stolen from the Insolvency Service office in Manchester indicates a continued lack of adoption of security measures for the protection of public data
The Insolvency Service has admitted that four laptops containing the details of 385 former directors of insolvent companies has been stolen from its Manchester offices. One of the four laptops stolen was said to contain information on directors from 122 firms, including names, addresses, dates of birth and occupations, although no bank account details were held.

The Insolvency Service also reported that a further 150 people have been directly affected by the loss of the data and in a small number of cases the data included names, addresses, and bank account details of creditors, complainants and employees.

The news comes amid a plethora of data loss incidents involving memory sticks, CDs and laptops, raising serious questions over data protection and whether organisations are still adopting a piecemeal approach to managing data.

Don Smith technical director at dns, a UK based security consultancy comments on areas that companies are still struggling with when it comes to protecting data and what they can do to ensure that the data they pass on is fully secured:

'The Insolvency Service is one in a long list of organisations that have fallen victim to data loss. Not only does this call into account issues of physical security, but it also questions whether or not the correct user access protocols were in place to prevent something like this from happening in the first place. Often, critical expertise is missing and firms leave vital security policies to chance, especially as encrypting sensitive data of this nature should be a standard procedure - ensuring that all sensitive documents, virtual memory files and temporary files are stored in encrypted form.

Given the current economic climate, companies will want to seriously consider how safe their corporate devices are and how they are accessed outside of or over the network. Organisations that are struggling in this area can and should seek help from security experts, who can help manage data and threats on a 24/7 basis. This kind of assistance not only reinforces weak security policies, but can prevent organisations becoming victims of the next data loss or breach.'

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