Special Advertising Supplement: SC Essays – Protect your laptops

You can't always prevent the theft or loss of equipment. But you can secure confidential data held on it, says Andrew Donaghue.

The high-profile penalty suffered by the UK's leading mutual buildingsociety demonstrates the necessity of adequate data protection.Negligent data loss leads to:

- Loss of public confidence and regard

- Financial penalties and legal concerns

Each year, millions of individuals are vulnerable to exploitation due topoor data protection by enterprises of all sizes. Physical theft ofequipment is widespread, with more than a third of large businessesreporting thefts, according to the Department of Trade and Industry'sSecurity Breaches Survey 2006. Each stolen or mislaid laptop presents apossible treasure trove of data to the thief or finder if no securitymeasures have been taken.

The new global awareness of this issue is making companies legallyresponsible for the consequences of losing data through negligence.Organisations must take cognisance of this by adopting all possiblemeans to protect all their own data as well as that of their customersand affiliates. By investing in data security devices for everycomputer, companies can ensure that their data is effectively protectedand their liabilities are minimised.

As companies are increasingly alert to the risk of unintentionallyexposed data, many are consequently looking for a solution that canprevent unauthorised access if a laptop is lost or stolen. Sophisticatedhardware solutions such as FlagStone Fully Encrypted Hard Drives combineadvanced whole disk encryption with expert authentication. By installingone of these secure drives rather than a standard hard drive, companiescan ensure that all the data saved to the computer is protected,including deleted and temporary files.

With the ever-increasing out-of-office use of company laptops, thethreat of them being lost or stolen is escalating. The increase innumbers and the decrease in size of high-spec models make laptopcomputers particularly prone to theft.

Yet, organisations cannot avoid responsibility for enforcing informationsecurity procedures. Those companies neglecting to protect their datawill find it hard to effectively defend their position to victims ofidentity fraud. Choosing to encrypt stored data and prevent unauthorisedaccess can provide the protection many companies require. By installingproperly accredited information security solutions, companies andemployees no longer have to fear the impact of a lost computer.

Loss of customer confidence is a key corporate concern that results indamage to reputation and a real threat of a concomitant drop in sharevalue. The financial implications are not restricted to just thereplacement of hardware and payment of fines.

Studies indicate that the cost per compromised personal record is nearly£100, yet this cost pales in comparison to the soaring expense ofrebuilding customer confidence.

Minimal investment expenditure on encryption devices now rather thanprodigious expense when, rather than if, a laptop does go missing willensure that corporate reputations remain intact. FlagStone Technology istrusted by central and local government and respected businesscorporations worldwide. FlagStone Drives are available via an extensivenetwork of Stonewood vendor partners located throughout the UK andoverseas, or directly from the company.

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