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Laptops represent the weak link in business data security

IT managers at companies in Kentucky generally place great importance on securing their computer networks from hacking or software attacks. They install firewalls and use encryption to protect data, but laptop computers present a much softer target. Research conducted by technology companies revealed that every laptop has a 10 percent chance of being stolen. This translates into a laptop getting stolen every 53 seconds.

A survey of IT workers confirmed the prevalence of laptop theft, with 86 percent responding that laptops had been taken from their organizations. Data breaches resulted for 56 percent of survey respondents. Data breaches impose heavy costs on companies in terms of money and reputation damage.

Although passwords protect access to laptops, the employees using them frequently undermine this security by writing their passwords on paper. Sharing passwords with colleagues is a common practice as well. Among employees who travel, they often admit to leaving their laptops alone with other people like hotel or airline staff while they use the washroom. If confidential documents and financial information are stored on laptops, the data becomes vulnerable to theft when out of sight of employees. Cloud-based storage offers a solution that could prevent access to valuable information in the event of laptop theft.

Unauthorized access to a laptop could enable white-collar crimes against an organization. A person accused in an investigation of a data breach might seek out legal counsel when confronted with criminal charges. Legal counsel could consult a computer forensic specialist to gather information potentially useful to a defense. The efforts of an attorney might cast doubt on the accuracy of allegations and possibly clear the defendant of wrongdoing. In some situations, an attorney could suggest pursuing a plea bargain to limit penalties that might arise from a conviction on stronger charges.

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