By Tash Shifrin
12 October 2007
Just one in 10 local authorities in the UK encrypts all its sensitive
data, according to new research.
The survey of IT and security managers at 60 local councils and police
authorities found that 45 percent of respondents encrypt data on "some
computers carrying sensitive material", but only 10 percent encrypt data
on all machines.
More than four in 10 respondents - 43 percent - said that no data was
encrypted by their organisation.
But 38 percent of respondents said their organisation had been faced
with an incident in which a laptop was lost or stolen during the past
year - including one of the six police authorities in the survey, which
was carried out by security vendor BeCrypt.
Three in 10 of those surveyed also reported that they had no procedures
regarding use of USB devices - a common cause of security problems. Just
2 percent of organisations had imposed a total ban on USB devices, while
38 percent allowed limited use and implemented port control security.
The survey also highlighted a lack of disaster recovery planning. Only 8
percent of those surveyed said they had a full disaster recovery plan
with facilities for secure mobile working and an alternative site in
case of a major problem such as a flu pandemic or public transport
collapse that prevented staff getting to the office.
More than four in 10 respondents said they had "few plans" but that data
was backed up, while 20 percent said staff would have to work from home
using their laptops and 23 percent said an alternative site "would be
Richard Brooks, BeCrypt's director of sales, said: "The use of laptops,
USB devices and other removable media are posing an increasing risk to
data security. The survey highlights that 30 percent of councils have no
policy regarding the use of USB devices and the inadvertent or malicious
threat of data leakage."
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