by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
data, lost laptops, uk

British Goverment Loses A Computer A Week, But What About The Data?

from the data-is-all-that-really-matters dept

New stats from the British government show its various departments lost an average of one computer per week over the past year. The good news is that the government says only one of those losses put any personal data at risk -- although it's hard to verify the claims of some departments that the data on their devices was encrypted or otherwise made safe. It's hard to get too upset about the missing devices, since it seems inevitable that any any organization with a large number of employees carrying laptops and other devices around will lose some or have them stolen. The issue isn't the devices, or at least it shouldn't be; the issue is data. It may be an easy way to score political points by pointing out how often physical devices are lost, but the value of a $2000 laptop or $500 smartphone pales in comparison to the value of the data, or the data it can access. Care must be taken to ensure that security policies and procedures don't place importance on securing physical devices at the expense of securing data. For a start, it would be nice to make people accountable for data they have, but that's probably a stretch.

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  • identicon
    zcat, 25 Nov 2008 @ 6:59pm

    I'll settle for 'encrypted'

    I suspect in the vast majority of these cases the thief is an opportunist looking for a 'free laptop', and probably has no idea of the potential value of the data contained on it. Most thieves have trouble finding their way around a windows login password, so encrypting the hard drive should be more than enough.

    It should be a matter of policy that every laptop and USB stick the government issues is set up by default with an encrypted filesystem, no matter what data they expect it to eventually carry. And reading the article, it sounds like that is already the policy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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