Tag Archives: Credant Technologies

Data loss from left devices expected to have spiralled over holidays

Average UK citizens are expected to have lost thousands of devices over the Christmas period as over four million of us upped sticks and travelled by plane, train or automobile and transport hubs are collecting the laptops, smartphones and memory sticks that go missing as a result of the hustle and bustle.

This news has come as the result of a study commissioned by Credant Technologies, which involved contacting major UK airports and asking the lost property departments to tally up the number of data-holding devices which were left over the holiday season.

In total over 5100 smartphones and 3844 latptop computers were found at 15 locations across the country, including busy airports like Heathrow.

Those who do leave their mobile phones or laptops at the airport or on the train, can usually expect them to be sold on or given to a recycling charity if they are not claimed within an allotted period, although this does require that they are handed in rather than stolen.

It is significant to note that rather than stemming the damage of data loss, this could actually accentuate it as once the phones and computers are sold, there is no guarantee that the information stored within will be correctly erased, potentially delivering it into the hands of an unknown third party.

Identity thieves are harnessing data found on lost mobiles and the problem is only getting worse, so experts believe more needs to be done in order to ensure that losing a device does not necessarily have to result in serious data loss.

The place at which travellers are more likely to misplace their mobiles is during the rigorous security checks, according to a spokesperson representing Luton Airport. With the stress that is endemic to having your belongings scrutinised, it is thought that people are much more susceptible to forgetting to pick up their mobiles.

Mobile insurance can play a role in limiting the number of handsets which are subsequently reclaimed, as many who are covered simply make a claim and ignore the lost data which they have left behind.

Most fail to encrypt USB memory sticks, survey finds

A new study has discovered that the majority of those working with USB sticks in order to transfer and store data do not properly secure these portable devices using encryption.

The study was not carried out over a general, mixed discipline selection of employees, but rather it focused specifically on IT security professionals, which makes the findings all the more troubling according to some.

Credant Technologies polled 277 professionals and discovered that 89 per cent of respondents did not regularly employ measures as simple as basic password protection when using USB sticks.

Respondents said that in 67 per cent of cases they were transporting business secrets relating to intellectual property on unsecured USB drives, with customer data being inadequately protected in 40 per cent of cases and personal information relating to employees making up the smallest proportion, with just 26 per cent transporting it on USB sticks.

A total of 52 per cent said that there was no form of encryption on the USB sticks used regularly by themselves and their co-workers, suggesting that there is still a great deal of complacency in relation to data loss, even amongst those professionals who are specifically tasked with managing this sensitive area.

Credant Technologies’ Sean Glynn believes that there needs to be greater awareness as to the risks associated with unencrypted portable storage devices, particularly since it is relatively inexpensive to ensure that data is properly protected when transported in portable form.

USB data security expert Anders Pettersson said that it would be relatively easy to convince IT professionals to adopt a more secure approach to data storage, but that getting the message across to those who are less technically proficient in different departments of a business could be where the real challenge lies.

Mr Pettersson believes that some IT security professionals are concerned about the potential backlash they could face if they alter current policy and create a safer working environment with widespread USB encryption, or even alternative methods of data transfer. However, he also indicated that there was a general move towards improved security measures and total encryption which is positive for the future.

Dry cleaners shed light on data loss

A survey of dry cleaners in the UK has found that thousands of people are leaving valuable USB memory sticks in their clothes when they send them off to be cleaned, which can potentially be the catalyst for serious instances of data loss.

In 2009 a total of more than 4500 USB memory sticks were recovered from the pockets of clothes by dry cleaners around the country, making it one of the most common ways in which those suffering from a moment of absent mindedness are likely to misplace their portable storage devices.

100 dry cleaners were questioned in the study, which encouragingly noted a 50 per cent drop in the number of left devices between 2008 and 2009. This might be construed as a positive turn of events, but experts are not so optimistic.

It is believed that rather than using USB memory sticks, many more people are now relying on their smartphones and netbook computers as their main form of portable storage. This is according to Credant Technologies, the authors of the report, suggesting that shifting trends in data storage and not an improvement in portable data protection are responsible for the decrease in USB memory stick loss.

The same firm has commissioned previous studies proving that forgetfulness is the biggest cause of data loss, with 25,000 portable computers, mobiles and USB drives left in taxis alone each year.

Falling costs and increasing capacities are making portable devices more attractive to those looking to backup data, but for business users the loss of a USB memory stick containing sensitive information could come with a stiff penalty. The Information Commissioner’s Office has the power to fine the individual responsible for the loss, as well as the firm that employs them, which could see personal penalties of nearly 500 incurred if a serious breach is deemed to have been brought about by the loss of a portable storage device.

Experts consider the only solution to the problem of data loss through misplaced portable devices to be the rigorous regulation of internal policies, limiting the type and quantity of information that can be extracted from a business’ network by a single user.

How easy is it to lose data?

Data leakage is very unwelcome for any firm, company or organisation. Whether it is small scale or large scale, businesses all need to protect their data to survive. Loss of a memory stick is one of the most common reasons for loss of data.

A survey conducted by data security firm Credant Technologies found that in the previous year people had left 9,000 USB sticks in their pockets while giving their clothes to local dry cleaners to be washed.

This survey was carried out throughout the UK to gauge the ease and frequency with which mobile devices like memory sticks are forgotten or lost in strange places.

In London, Credant conducted a similar survey amongst taxi drivers and found that in every six months 6,193 devices, such as memory sticks, iPods and laptops were left behind in cabs.

Chief marketing officer and vice president at Credant, Michael Callahan said that they conducted this survey to ensure people that it is easy to lose data.

People must protect valuable and sensitive data or information with encryption so that their data is protected from getting into the wrong hands. Encrypted data can be accessible only if you enter the password.

A better and smarter way to prevent data loss incidents is by using online data backup and online data storage.

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