Monday, August 3, 2009

"Oklahoma! Where Laptop Theft is a Pain!"

Came across this report of a Williams Cos. laptop theft that potential exposed 4400 employees personal information including Social Security numbers and "compensation data" and wondered when are businesses and governments going to step up to better protect their customers and employees.

The technology is available to secure laptops' data once they go missing. Check out FailSafe.com for a good example.

Unfortunately, almost everyone seems to be in reactive mode, instead of being proactive. In a letter to employees, Williams Cos. "encouraged employees to check bank accounts regularly and sign up for Experian Triple Advantage, which monitors all three major credit bureaus. Williams Cos. said it would pay for a one-year membership."

It probably would have been a lot more cost-effective to have security policies, software and services in place before hand, than having to pay for credit monitoring services for 4400 employees and the black-eye to the organization's reputation.

The report ended with more tales of Oklahoma laptop theft and data loss:
"Williams is not the only major employer in Oklahoma victimized by the theft of a laptop containing personal information. In April, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services notified clients in nearly 500,000 households that their names and case data were in a computer stolen from an Oklahoma City parking lot.

"Also this year, a work laptop of an Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency employee was stolen in a home burglary, and a flash drive with confidential data from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission was lost."

Of course, Oklahoma is in no way the only place where identity theft could become rampant because of loss or stolen personal computers.

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