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News

Human factor responsible for MoD data loss.

Lumension Security : 22 January, 2008  (Technical Article)
Lumension Security promotes the education of employees on data security issues to prevent the continuing toll of citizen data losses at the hands of public service organisations.
In a statement in the House of Commons, Defence Secretary Des Browne revealed that the MoD had not followed its own security procedures by encrypting data taken outside of the MoD. Data of 600,000 people is now at risk, following the theft of an unencrypted laptop on 9th January 2008. Two further laptops were also revealed to have been stolen, one in Manchester in October 2006 and one in Edinburgh in December 2000.

Alan Bentley, VP of Lumension Security EMEA (formerly PatchLink): "At the heart of all the recent data losses, is a lack of awareness and coherence to the organisation's security policies. The 'human factor' is often the weakest link in any security armour and the MoD is no exception to this rule. The laptop stolen on 9th January 2008 failed to meet the specific requirements of its security policy - to encrypt data carried on its laptops.

"Educating employees over the risks of data theft needs to be tackled first. Implementing policy, which employees will adhere to comes second - but it is no easy task. Especially when you consider the numbers of people that must abide to the policy. Unless, employees start to understand that their job is on the line if they fail to follow procedures, this culture of careless data handling will continue. In the meantime, organisations that hold sensitive data should lock down their databases, so that employees can not download data onto mobile devices and take it outside the organisation.

"For Government and industry organisations to take control of their data they need to monitor all the information transferred to and from removable media. Capturing a full copy of the data and providing a comprehensive audit trail, will ensure organisations can see where data has been moved to and enable them to provide answers if data falls into the wrong hands."
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