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News

Trade body pledges to improve security by March 2010

PGP (GB) : 24 August, 2009  (Technical Article)
It will take 7 months for a UK trade association to improve computing security after an unencrypted laptop goes missing along with the compromised data of 37000 people
Repair Management Services of Blackburn, the trade association representing car repair companies, has lost a laptop containing the personal details of 37,000 people and information on 1,900 driving convictions. The laptop - stolen from a locked car - was password protected but not encrypted.

The trade body has made a written undertaking, promising the ICO that it will take measures to improve data security with encryption for laptops and other mobile devices by March 2010.

Jamie Cowper, director of marketing EMEA, at data encryption expert PGP Corporation, has made the following comments:

"Although it is reassuring to see that Repair Management Services will be deploying encryption across all of its mobile devices carrying sensitive information, it is worrying that we are still seeing companies failing to take steps to adequately protect their customers' data despite numerous heavily publicised data breaches.

"As a trade organisation, Repair Management Services is a trusted body and this breach indicates a failure to fulfil even the most basic data protection responsibilities. Any organisation that holds such sensitive information has a duty to those that it represents to defend this data - and Repair Management Services has now been left with the undesirable task of justifying how an unencrypted laptop was left vulnerable to theft in a car. It's all very well to make promises to up the ante on data security by next year, but the fact remains that this should have been put in place a long time ago - it's not like there haven't been any previous warnings.

"Organisations must regard the data that has been entrusted to them as an asset which needs to be heavily defended by a comprehensive enterprise data protection strategy. Proven solutions, such as data encryption, must be deployed to ensure that sensitive information is fully protected - as a means of prevention rather than cure. If companies are serious about wanting to avoid the embarrassing consequences of a data breach, then they must be proactive and invest in an appropriate security infrastructure to ensure that the company and related individuals are continuously protected."
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