Despite an epidemic of thefts, companies continue to allow employees to store their customers' personal data on portable computers. The latest example is Aetna, a health insurance provider with nearly 28 million members, which reported that a laptop with information on 38,000 people was stolen from a worker's car.
We're simple folk here at Blogma, so we have to ask the question: Why? We know that people will always be careless with their possessions at one time or another, but why do companies allow them to store unencrypted data of thousands of customers on laptops that are regularly leaving the building?
According to some industry estimates, some 700,000 laptops are stolen in the United States each year. Either companies need to chain them to their employees or just say no to storing gobs of sensitive information on them.
Blog community response:
"Again we say, if a laptop has got personal records on it, it needs to be handcuffed to these user's wrists."
"Treat your laptop like a BIG FAT WALLET. Don't leave it unattended, even for a moment. I heard an anecdote of a CEO of a major corporation having his laptop stolen after a speech right off the podium! You can even use a steel-cable lock."
"While most thieves aren't of the capacity or motivation to crack the syskey or circumvent NTFS permissions, your response should be to assume that they do, and that they are now reading all of your documents, looking at all of your shortcuts and form entry values, browsing your Outlook notes of account numbers and passwords, and are playing with your tax returns."