Letter: Encryption is the only answer

June 1, 2007

In the past year, we have seen frequent media reports of high-profile laptop thefts and losses, from the NHS to high street banks. Now, Marks & Spencer has joined the list.

Any organisation that handles sensitive information about employees orthe public has a responsibility to protect them, and traditionalpasswords are too easily compromised. If we can't stop theft of laptops,we can at least make them less valuable in terms of the data stored onthem by encrypting it. Our survey of 1,200 security professionals showedthat only 44 per cent of laptop data is protected, highlighting howwidespread the problem is.

Employing layers of security is critical for ensuring sensitiveinformation is kept from unauthorised eyes. A combination of dataencryption and using a smart card or a separate USB token to unlock thelaptop will reduce the risk of hackers accessing sensitiveinformation.

People can accept that random thefts and losses of laptops areinevitable. However, we cannot accept that the data on stolen itemscontinues to be virtually unprotected and can easily fall into the wronghands.

Gary Clark, vice-president, EMEA SafeNet.

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