Serial train laptop thefts highlight need for encrypted drives says Origin Storage

November 2009 - BBC newswire reports of serial laptop thefts on the route of the West Coast main rail link highlight the dangers of accessing company data on a portable computer whilst on the train, says Origin Storage.

According to Andy Cordial, managing director of the storage systems integration specialist, whilst the laptop thief has been captured on CCTV - and his image published on the BBC news site - the Carlisle-Crewe rail line is a busy route.

"Added to which the section of the line on which the laptop thief appears to be operating, the Stockport-Manchester one, is one of the busiest outside of London, with Manchester Piccadilly station offering a lot of escape routes, and he's going to be difficult to catch, especially if he changes his appearance," he said.

"Whilst the theft of a laptop - costing several hundred pounds - is a serious issue, there's also the often-insurable problems caused when company data goes walkabout, especially if that data includes customer and/or employee personal details," he added.

Cordial says that for many companies, the loss of the data is a breach of the Data Protection Act and could engender a fine, as well as public loss of face.

And that, he explained, is before you even begin to start dealing with the possible consequences of loss of private corporate data, which could affect a firm's ongoing profitability.

But there is, he explained, the option of using an encrypted external hard drive with PINpad protection ( to ensure portable, but absolute, AES-encrypted defence against company data going missing.

"As well as allowing plug-and-play portability between multiple PCs, external encrypted drives also allow data to be accessed using a laptop whilst on the move - even on the train - and in the unfortunate event of the drive and laptop being stolen, the data cannot be read by the thief or any other third party," he said.

"Laptops can and do get stolen, and insurers pay out millions each year as a result. But consequential losses due to data losses are difficult to insure fully, so using an encrypted Datalocker makes sound business sense," he added.

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