– August 27, 2010
If you are like me you keep everything on your laptop and cell phone. Numbers, corporate information, claims data, and even some of the dreaded non-private personal information of others. Claims data is filled with information that if lost or stolen could be detrimental to both the company and the individual. Many companies today issue corporate cell phones and blackberry devices as well as laptop computes in place of desktops. It’s a modern world and we are all expected to be connected. Partial work at home arrangements also mean this information is traveling from location to location which can increase the risk that things may be lost or stolen.
Recently I read in the Sophisticated Litigation Support Blog about 6 Security Steps To Take With Laptops, Smartphones, and Flash Drives. As they noted according to William Quick, a sole practitioner in Clayton, MO who teaches and lectures on technology topics, “Identity theft is a mushrooming problem that Congress and the states have been trying to deal with any way they can.”
6 basic steps to prevent a loss
Sophisticated Litigation support suggested these 6 steps to help lower your risks:
- Be careful not to lose the device in the first place. Pay close attention to where your equipment is.
- Have a written plan that details your firm’s action if a data breach should happen.
- Only keep what you need. Decide what information has to be saved and then back up your data to a secure location on a regular basis.
- Lock your computer when you are away.
- Encrypt all devices – most statues don’t require you to inform your clients of encrypted data breach.
- Invest in back-up-plan software. Some software allows you to protect your data security after the fact.
But what happens if you loose the equipment anyway?
I had a manager that no matter how hard he tried would loose something all the time. In one year I believe he lost 3 cell phones and a laptop. He actually almost lost another when he left it in the seat pocket in front of him. Loosing equipment should be avoided at all costs, but if you do loose it, the Sophisticated Litigation Support Blog notes:
If you lose your equipment and someone obtains this information, you need to alert potentially affected parties of the loss – and that’s a lot easier said than done. It may also land you in some hot legal water (at several hundred bucks an hour, there really is no other water temperature in the legal world), because 46 states have data breach laws. So there could be some liability issues that come up.
Clearly having to explain to customers and claimants how you lost their information would not be a good thing. So discuss these issues with your group and incorporate some of the security tips to avoid a problem later.