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article imageLaptop Security: Should businesses protect data on laptops?

By PeterH     Jun 25, 2007 in Technology
More laptops are lost or stolen every year then any other piece of computer hardware. Data recovery steps can be taken to ensure loss prevention, but what about the data falling into ill-willed hands?
The growing concern over sensitive data falling into the wrong hands was heightened when a laptop containing the personal information of thousands of U.S. military veterans was misplaced last year. The FBI is still investigating a recent loss of a number of laptops containing government data. With this epidemic of data theft reaching an all time high, more steps need to be taken to ensure the protection of personal information that is stored electronically.
Microsoft offers a fantastic Data Encryption Toolkit for mobile PC's. This toolkit adds a great deal to the two key encryption technologies already included in Windows XP Professional as well as Windows Vista's Enterprise and Ultimate editions. Windows XP Professional and most editions of Windows Vista include what is referred to as an Encrypting File System (EFS). This prevents unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data on a laptop's hard drive. The second encryption technology available with Windows Vista is called Bitlocker. This technology prevents unauthorized users from booting the system with another operating system as well as swapping the drive to a different computer in order to read the data.
The Data Encryption Toolkit includes the following components: The Executive Overview - A survey about ways data is at risk as well as ways the Data Encryption Toolkit can help combat these risks. It also explains how to take advantage of other tools available to decrease these risks. The Security Analysis - This provides helpful tips to maximize EFS and Bitlocker technologies. The Planning and Implementation Guide - Gives strategies for using encryption technologies within an organization. Finally, The Microsoft Encrypting File System Assistant - This software component is a tool to help control the EFS on all computers within an organization.
Since a high percentage of today's business relies on technology, protecting data should be a top priority. In the event sensitive data is lost or stolen, a company could rest assured that data would be useless to anyone who is unauthorized to access that data. Surprisingly, very few small business owners take steps to protect the data contained on their computers. Hopefully more education about the need for securing sensitive data will prove just how serious this problem is becoming.
More about Computer security, Laptop, Data encryption
 
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