Lifted out of a car parked at a restaurant, a laptop containing the data of more than 14,000 patients is now in questionable hands. Adding insult to injury, the information was not properly encrypted -- leaving the social security numbers, dates of birth, records and addresses of the patients exposed to unnecessary risk.
I cannot stress enough how important it is for organizations such as this -- specifically medical professionals who keep extensive digital records -- to install appropriate, and good, laptop security. It may very well be the case that the information will never be accessed and will not be misused, but once again, the hospital had to contact every patient that was potentially affected -- lots of work that no employee enjoys performing. The worry, hassle and perhaps even news story could easily have been avoided.
Destroy or recover your data instantly, see who it is that has the laptop, know the data is inaccessible, and definitively pinpoint its location -- it sounds like a scenario too good to be true, but it's completely possible: by simply taking a moment to safeguard one's business, organization or personal information right now.
After seeing these events happening so often in the news, I will make it a point to ask my family physician whether they take any precautionary measures in terms of mobile security; who knows, if we all do that, we may very well prevent these things from happening so often in the future. Tell your doctor!
Featured image: r3v || cls/Flickr, cc
A physician at the Indiana University School of Medicine had a laptop stolen out of his vehicle -- on it was the information of more than 3,000 patients: age, sex, medical record numbers, diagnosis and in some cases a social insurance number is what's on file. The university says the laptop is protected by password protection, but that a "computer specialist" might be able to bypass this; once a thief has ample time to work with a machine, the standard lock screen can be circumvented. However, another common method would be to reformat the whole hard drive, so the patient info still has a chance to stay secure.
Either way this theft plays out, the outcome is not a fun one. The university is currently sending out a letter to each and every individual whose information was on the computer, which means a lot of hours of paperwork for some unlucky people. This situation is a perfect demonstration of the reason why any serious business requires a solid computer security plan. Medical facilities are particularly vulnerable when it comes to keeping patient data safe, as any leak might mean serious consequences for the people involved -- insurance policies are just one thing that may change for them. Many other businesses also need to keep data security as a top priority, with law and accounting firms jumping to the top of the list.
It's impractical to assume that employees will always keep the computer close by and under a watchful eye -- no one does that all the time -- so a smart strategy is sorely needed for organizations like this. There's no need to be overwhelmed by the number of laptops that need protecting, either: a good program will make the load easily manageable by a likely-already-existing IT team. A well-designed software won't burden the tech team, but will instead make their job easier by keeping track of all the machines they are responsible for; organization and control are your friends when it comes to mobile security.
A simple and intuitive program that stays in the background until the moment it's needed is the perfect solution: quietly keeping everyone safe from a crisis and hours of paperwork. As far as security peace-of-mind goes, Notebak is the perfect solution: with the option to recover any and all files on a missing device, or simply wipe out the whole hard drive in one fell swoop makes for a sweet sense of calm. The IT team will have an easy time, as well: Notebak's online control center allows them to see everything that's going on, allowing them concentrate on bigger and better things than record-keeping. If a sensitive laptop goes missing, there's no need to worry: a quick log-in to the online account and the problem is solved; the actual hardware may even be recovered.
Here's hoping that IU's Medical Center takes a long hard look at their laptop security policy, but it needn't be a tough choice: get protection, keep it simple.
For the third time in just over a week, software installed on a laptop has helped recover it after a theft. This time the scene took place in Paducah, Kentucky, where a $2,000 Dell was stolen during a Marquette Transportation ride -- boats that get people and cargo around on the Mississippi River system.
Unbeknownst to the thief, the laptop was equipped with the software companies install when they want to track their employee's internet activities. The cops were able to view the screen at the same time as the thief was busy browsing his Facebook page. By seeing which residential network the thief belonged to on Facebook, and then finding that computer on the wireless network in that location the police were able to recover the laptop and arrest the thief.
"Ultimately, you're not concerned about the cost of the computer. You're concerned about the cost of the data on the computer," says Willie Kerns of Smart Path Technologies. Individual users without a company to track their computer can download their own software -- and one that will respond quicker and more efficiently than counting on a thief's Facebook network to be discovered.
Notebak gives you the capability to quickly track down whoever it is that has your laptop at any given moment, and the power to swiftly recover all your data; as Kerns said, at the end of the day, that's all you're worried about. Even if you can't get the hardware back, download all your important files onto our server, or get them emailed to you -- you will never lose any of your files or photos, no matter how the situation plays out.