Experts warn tube strikes increase risk of data loss

Monday’s tube strike left many people struggling to get to work in the capital and many more chose to stay at home and work online, to reduce hassle and improve productivity. However, some experts are claiming that this has opened the floodgates for potential data loss, as employees use portable storage to transfer the sensitive information required to work at home from their offices.

AEP Network’s Mark Darvill, said that with portable storage devices being used by many London commuters, the strike theoretically lead to a spike in the number of bags, coats and pockets that would contain such gadgets, increasing the probability of data loss occurring as a result.

Mr Darvill explained that organisations involved in finance and government had been reluctant to allow staff to transfer confidential data to their homes, because of several high profile data loss incidents and the likelihood of a scandal occurring as a result of theft or careless handling of the devices.

Experts like Mr Darvill believe that if businesses really want to retain productivity levels when hindrances such as the strike make it impossible for employees to get to work, then a greater emphasis on security is required wherever private data is being taken off-site.

It should be possible to allow workers to use their own technology to work from home, provided that it is approved by the IT department and authenticated each time that access is granted, to ensure that data is used for legitimate purposes, according to Mr Darvill.

While data leaking from an employee’s personal device is a risk, it is also recognised that malicious software can permeate a corporate system, if various unchecked devices are connecting remotely. So the security must work in both directions and at all points to be effective.

This double-edge security approach is seen as being the best way to enable safe home working conditions and, implicit in this suggestion, is the idea that portable storage which will be taken on public transport and runs the risk of being lost, is really a last resort that should be discouraged.

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