Feeds

What the heck was on that stolen laptop?

Cluelessness compounds data disclosure security flaps

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Four in five (81 per cent) US firms have lost at least one laptop containing sensitive data in the last year, according to a new study.

The Confidential Data at Risk (PDF) survey of 500 IT pros by Ponemon Institute was sponsored by data loss prevention firm Vontu, which is using it in the time honored tradition of talking up the need for its security products. However the idea that US businesses are struggling to prevent the loss of confidential data presented in the survey rings all too true, especially following several recent incidents where laptop loss has sparked major security flaps.

Often firms don't have a clue where their sensitive or confidential business information resides within the network or enterprise systems, further compounding the problem. Two in three (64 per cent) of firms responding to the survey said they've never carried out an inventory of customer information. The same percentage said an inventory of employee data had never been carried out at their organisation. Many recent consumer data disclosure SNAFUs have been sparked by the loss of staff laptops but the loss of other portable storage devices or compromised server systems can also results in the exposure of sensitive data. PDAs and laptops ranked highest among storage devices posing the greatest risk for sensitive corporate data, followed by USB memory sticks, desktop systems, and shared file servers.

Queried on how long it would take to determine what actual sensitive data was on a lost or stolen computer or mobile device the most frequent answer by survey respondents was "never" - ranging from 24 per cent for a file server to 62 per cent for an employee's home computer.

"Corporations are clearly struggling with the challenges of identifying and protecting sensitive data, as well as developing successful strategies for securing confidential information stored among the myriad devices that make up today’s data networks," said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.