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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

Laptop Encryption Software: UK MoD Lost Over 150 Laptops In 18 Months

The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence has admitted to losing over 150 laptops in the past year and a half.  It has noted that "it is almost inevitable".  How pessimistic.  On the other hand, it's undoubtedly the reason why the ministry makes use of disk encryption software like AlertBoot.

188 Devices Lost or Stolen

The MoD has lost 188 laptops, with 20 of them recovered eventually.  The admission comes, according to the guardian.co.uk, as a response to stories in the media.  The MoD has noted that the loss of devices is "almost inevitable."

While the MoD hasn't specified whether all of the lost devices were protected with encryption software, it has noted that,

"Where encryption is not possible we ensure that additional security measures are in place," it said. "Processes, instructions and technological aids are being continually reviewed, revised and implemented to mitigate human errors and further raise the awareness of every individual in the department of their vital role in protecting MoD information and assets. The level of detail with which we record these incidents of loss and theft is indicative of the importance we place on this matter."

It's a rare laptop that cannot be protected with cryptographic solutions.  I'm not saying such machines don't exist, but, knowing how government departments make their hardware purchases, it would be unlikely the MoD would chance upon such a machine (I would imagine one of their requirements would be that the equipment being purchased support or have the ability to be encrypted).

Besides the laptops, the MoD has admitted to losing 18 phones, 10 BlackBerrys, and 194 disks (CDs and DVDs).

Human Element the Weakest Link

In computer security circles, it's said that people are ultimately the weakest link when it comes to data security.  True, there are bugs in any software or hardware; however, they can be fixed.  Over time, fixes here and there would end up producing a very strong, secure program.  Some think that creating a perfectly security system -- from a software, hardware point of view -- is possible (I'm doubt if this can be proven in theory: Godel's theorem).

With people, though, plenty of psychological, neurological, and behavioral research shows that you can't have a person who's prone to making to mistakes.

In light of such evidence, it only makes sense to use technology in those areas where people come up short.  An already highlighted example: if you can't prevent people from losing laptops, at least ensure that any computer with sensitive data is being safeguarded with encryption software.

(Least because it's the least you can do in terms of actually protecting data.  Stuff like not doing anything or using password protection don't count because they don't protect anything).


Related Articles and Sites:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/government-computing-network/2011/nov/25/mod-150-laptop-losses

 
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About sang_lee

Sang Lee is a Senior Account Manager and Security Analyst with AlertBoot, Inc., the leading provider of managed endpoint security services, based in Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Lee helps with the deployment and ongoing support of the AlertBoot disk encryption managed service. Prior to working at AlertBoot, Mr. Lee served in the South Korean Navy. He holds both a B.S. and an M.S. from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.