Preventing Data Theft from Lost Devices

A recent article by J. Randolph and Shari Klevens of the Dentons Law Firm had some eye opening statistics concerning lost media devices –

“In the United States, someone loses a cellphone every 3.5 seconds. More than 3 million cellphones are stolen every year. More than 12,000 laptops are lost in airports each week. Other portable electronic devices, ranging from BlackBerrys to iPads to many others are lost just as frequently Almost every attorney’s portable electronic device includes some confidential client information.”

Those numbers would make most company executives and senior management breakout in a cold sweat over their morning coffee. But there are some simple steps as Klevens and Randolph relate to help combat this threat besides considering professional assistance from security professionals outside the organization. Here are four steps to preventing data theft. 

Step One: Password­ protect devices

Company personnel should be required to use passcode­ or password ­protected portable electronic devices.

Step Two: Activate location and remote­ erase options

Most new devices have the ability to locate the device if lost or stolen and, if desired, to remotely erase all content on the device. If your company devices do not you should consider purchasing software applications that provides that capability.

Step Three: Apply protocols to portable storage devices

Transportable data via thumb drives, disks, memory sticks and other data devices pose considerable risk to businesses when they are lost. Companies should consider requiring any information downloaded from a firm’s systems to a portable storage device to be password­ protected.

Step Four: Address Wi­-Fi risks

Free, publicly accessible Wi-Fi services are not secure. The biggest threat for employees using free Wi-Fi is the ability for someone else to intercept a signal—positioning a cyber thief between the employee and the connection point. Encourage employees to avoid unsecured Wi-Fi hot spots. Better yet consider encrypting the data from the device using commercially available software or the use of a virtual private network (VPN).

Applying these four steps does not make  a company 100% secure in combatting potential sensitive data loss, but it definitely puts it well on its way and can be enhanced by leveraging outside professional help.

Source: Industry News


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