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Further call for stricter encryption after MP loses laptop

McAfee : 18 June, 2008  (Technical Article)
Government hardware continues to go missing despite higher security measures and high uptake of security policies
Following a recent spate of Government data loss incidents, Hazel Blears, Labour MP for Salford and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has had her personal computer stolen from her constituent office in Salford. The Laptop holds sensitive documents relating to defence and extremism.

A recent study by mobile device encryption specialist, McAfee Data Protection, discovered that 88 per cent of public sector bodies have security policies in place (ie to protect sensitive public data), which is encouraging.

Greg Day, security analyst at McAfee comments: "In the wake of yet another public sector security incident, there is a need for all organisations, including the Government, to assess security policies as data is clearly becoming a key target for criminals and in this case, we can see that Government data is a target. In recent years there has been an explosion in mobile devices and nomadic working and whilst these ways of working can improve productivity, everyone needs a greater awareness of the data risks involved. All members of an organisation need to work together to eliminate any weaknesses in the security chain. While it is impossible to eliminate the risk of laptops and other devices being stolen, security tools, such as encryption, can eliminate the risks associated with data leakage.'

"Organisations can transparently deploy technologies to ensure that data is always encrypted and that end-point security is maintained. A recent survey by McAfee found that the majority of public sector workers ignore security policies so one should take this into consideration and make it mandatory that information is secured. To avoid future embarrassment the government needs to deploy adequate tools to mitigate the risk."
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