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News

UK lags US in data security

SafeBoot : 02 August, 2007  (Technical Article)
Higher industry data security standards demanded in US than the UK according to Safeboot.
Tom De Jongh, product development manager at SafeBoot, a data encryption specialist, feels the UK Government is seriously lagging behind the US in data security. The White House has recently announced stringent policies in this area and the UK needs to take note.

Tom says: "Data security breaches are on the rise and the situation is not going to get any better until organisations sit up and take action. The UK is lagging behind the US in the data security stakes so we need to look across the Atlantic and take notes.

"This week, the White House has demanded higher data security standards by asking all privacy and information officers for plans on how they will secure their information against data breaches. If the US demands such high standards, then why is the UK Government not?

"In the UK we have seen too many costly data breaches; last week's USB theft at Nottingham Hospital, last month's Newcastle City Council credit card gaffe, Nationwide Building Society, Cable and Wireless and Marks and Spencers. Does all this not start the alarm bells ringing? Surely such regular cases create a compelling message to the Government - ensure all organisations have the necessary data security measures in place and avoid embarrassing and costly situations.

"US chief privacy officers recently gathered at a conference to exchange tips on how to protect data. This is a great way for organisations to turn themselves into castles. However, sitting around and chatting over tea and biscuits is all well and good, but putting policy where the horse's mouth is can require more effort. But is it that hard? Security experts know what to do; use encryption, VPNs, Firewalls and authentication controls to name a few. The next step is to create a little bit of common sense in all employees through a dash of 'education, education, education'.

"Implementing a nation-wide security policy which ensures all data is secure is something we really need to be thinking about now. Common sense says that too many mistakes have already occurred and it is of paramount importance for us to step up the pace in security our sensitive data.

"The bottom line is: Data security isn't hard to implement - most of the time it just takes a bit of common sense and a common policy."

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