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"Absolute Software Corporation (TSX: ABT) is the leader in Computer Theft Recovery, Data Protection and Secure Asset Tracking&8482; solutions. Absolute Software provides individuals and organizations of all types and sizes with solutions to manage regulatory compliance, data protection and theft recovery."
Source : Absolute Software
Compliance. Protection. Recovery. A Layered Approach to Laptop Security
Laptop Security is also known as :
Laptop Security Guidelines for IT Professionals,
Laptop Security Business,
Laptop Security Software,
Laptop Security Solution,
Laptop Security System,
Absolute Software Computrace Securely Tracks Assets,
Enhance Endpoint Security,
Laptop Security Alarms,
Laptop Theft Security,
Lojack for Laptops,
Laptop Security Encryption,
Laptop Security Locks,
Laptop Tracking Software,
Laptop Full Disk Encryption,
Data Encryption Laptops.
The Information Technology (IT) environment has changed significantly in a few short years, as several factors
have dictated the need for a more robust approach to corporate security policies, including:
- trend towards mobility of information,
- Theft of IT assets arising from a proliferation of mobile devices,
- Increasing data privacy and data security concerns, and
- Regulatory compliance mandated by recent legislation.
These factors have made it necessary for network administrators to design and implement comprehensive
security policies to keep pace with the changing IT landscape. Effective solutions for these multifaceted problems
require a layered approach comprised of products, policies and procedures that can work in concert to provide
organizations with the broadest security blanket available.
There is a strong relationship between the issues of compliance, data protection and theft recovery. Organizations
must take this into account when defining security policies. It is no longer enough to attempt to address
compliance issues without addressing data protection. Protection of data on mobile and remote computers
requires an understanding of the issues surrounding computer theft. Having a broader understanding of how
these areas inter-relate allows organizations to build a more robust security policy that can better address the
issues of regulatory compliance, data protection and theft recovery.
Today, accepting the loss or theft of one laptop or tablet PC is simply not an option. A missing computer can result
in compliance and data protection issues that may be very costly to an organization"s reputation and bottom line.
Organizations need to be able to accurately track their computers, know who is using them, what is installed on
them, and be able to prove the actions taken to secure computers remain deployed and intact until the computer
can be located.
COMPLIANCE. PROTECTION. RECOVERY.
A LAYERED APPROACH TO CORPORATE SECURITY
THE POWER OF MOBILITY
The power of mobility afforded by laptop computers has meant that tremendous flexibility and productivity has
become the standard of business for most information workers. Mobility means being able to perform professional
corporate presentations while visiting clients; update a budget while traveling on business; or even stay connected to
the office while on vacation to audit activities, prevent unwanted surprises and minimize an e-mail backlog. But for IT
executives and managers, mobility brings new challenges in the areas of corporate security and information privacy.
PORTABILITY AT THE COST OF VULNERABILITY
Sensitive data such as client records, trade secrets and other proprietary information is ever more vulnerable and with
the proliferation of laptop computers, this problem is likely to intensify.
- Companies continue to issue more laptop computers to employees as replacements for their
desktop computers. By May of 2005, laptops accounted for 53.3 percent of the total PC retail market.1
- Vast volumes of corporate information are now delivered and stored electronically.
- Hard drive storage capacity continues to grow ' increasing the quantity of information being stored locally '
and increasing the amount of information at risk.
The loss of a single laptop poses a serious risk to a corporation: proprietary information, personal data and trade
secrets can fall into the wrong hands. Moreover, for licensing and compliance purposes, IT managers need to know
where their assets are, who is using them, and what software and information is residing on them. According to the
Gartner Group (2002), most organizations can only account for about 60 percent of their mobile assets - meaning the
remaining 40 percent risk falling into the hands of anyone, anywhere, at any time.
While the largest store of sensitive information typically resides in an employee's e-mail inbox, other areas include
proprietary information contained in corporate data, contact lists, modern unified messaging systems (such as
digitized faxes and voicemails) and unencrypted file folders. Beyond the risk of exposed data, the greatest concern is
often the unsecured enterprise access available through a corporate laptop. To deliver on the value and promise of
mobility, IT departments routinely deploy a range of access points and methodologies, such as remote data
connections to VPNs or web access for enterprise systems. An unscrupulous individual can often access many of
these systems simply by accessing an employee's laptop computer.
A number of high profile companies have suffered security breaches as a result of computer theft:
- In March 2006, Fidelity Investments disclosed one of its laptops was stolen containing personal information,
including Social Security numbers, of 196,000 current and former Hewlett-Packard Co. employees.2
- In February 2005, ChoicePoint, a major data aggregator, announced that identity thieves had stolen
confidential information for 145,000 clients, resulting in at least 750 confirmed cases of identity theft. As a
result, the company saw its stock plunge from $45 down to $37, faced several class action lawsuits and suffered
an onslaught of negative publicity.3
- In February 2005, Bank of America disclosed that it had lost the credit card information for 1.2 million clients.4
- In April 2005, the San Jose Medical Group admitted that a single computer had been stolen, giving thieves
access to 185,000 confidential medical records.5
- Between October 1999 and January 2002, 317 of the FBI's laptops were lost or stolen, representing 2 percent of
its total computer inventory. In total, more than 400 computers were lost or stolen from Justice Department
agencies and bureaus in the U.S.6
- 1- Michael Singer, "PC milestone--notebooks outsell desktops," ZDNet News, June 3, 2005, CNET News.com.
- 2- Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2006.
- 3- Daniel Roth with Stephanie
Mehta, "IDENTITY THEFT: The Great Data Heist," May 16, 2005, Fortune,
and Dawn Kawamoto, "Security Strategy: 185,000 people's medical data
stolen," April 11, 2005, www.silicon.com.
- 4- ibid
- 5- ibid
- 6- Matt Caterinicchia, "Laptops lost, stolen at Justice," August 12, 2002, FCW.com.
COMPUTER THEFT STATISTICS
Think a security breach will never happen at your organization? Think again:
- Laptop theft was attributed to 59 percent of computer attacks on government agencies, corporations and
universities in 2003 according to Baseline 2004.7
- The latest FBI/CSI statistics indicate that 40 percent of all companies surveyed suffered from an attempted
theft of information each year between 2000 and 2003.8
- A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds in the US alone and 1 out of every 10 notebook computers will be stolen
within the first 12 months of purchase, with 85 to 95 percent of the thefts resulting from internal jobs.9
- A 2004 study by Safeware The Insurance Agency found there were 600,000 laptop thefts in 2003, totaling an
estimated $720 million in hardware theft and an estimated $5.4 billion in proprietary information theft.10
- Computer crime statistics from the Gartner Group reveal that approximately 80 percent of computer crime
consists of "inside jobs" by disgruntled employees.11
ENCRYPTION IS NOT ENOUGH
In response to concerns over mobile data protection, many organizations have turned to deploy solutions that encrypt
data on laptop devices. This is a good first step, but unfortunately, encrypted data is not necessarily secure data (a
commonly held misconception). Since encryption requires the use of a key, it is an effective tool for slowing the
impact of some types of breaches but it is often powerless to curtail internal security violations. Approximately 80
percent of security breaches occur as a result of internal sources, employees who have been given access to the keys
in the first place. Therefore, encryption may only be effective in as little as 20 percent of all incidents.
It is important to note that encryption does not provide a means of retrieving stolen hardware and bringing
information back under the control of an organization. As long as a mobile device continues to exist outside of an
organization's control, the corporate vulnerability resulting from the potentially exposed data continues to exist.
- Encrypted information can be breached using a brute-force attack or other more sophisticated tools
and approaches, and,
- The perpetrator, who may be an unscrupulous employee or a professional criminal, remains at large.
THE LAYERED APPROACH
Like many security issues, single point solutions are not enough to adequately protect an enterprise from all points of
attack. Instead, a multifaceted or layered approach to corporate security needs to be considered. An effective way to
think about a layered approach to mobile security and data protection is CPR: Compliance, Protection and Recovery.
Protecting data on a lost or stolen computer is a good first step, but recovering the asset, and stopping the internal
theft, is equally important in effectively mitigating a company"s total exposure.
A layered approach consists of:
- Compliance The ability to comply with applicable mobile data protection regulations
and to provide an easily accessible audit trail
- Protection The ability to prevent mobile data losses from occurring
- Recovery The ability to recover lost or stolen mobile data, to retrieve lost or stolen devices and
return them to the control of the organization, and to facilitate prosecution
In the next three sections, this paper will discuss these layers in greater detail, and how they can work in concert to
create a complete computer security policy for IT management.
In response to an ever-increasing volume of sensitive and
confidential information stored electronically on remote and
mobile computers, and the potential and actual breaches of
privacy that have occurred, governments have dramatically
increased regulatory legislation designed to protect information.
Many of these statutes include criminal penalties for those found
to be negligent.
COMPLIANCE AND THE LAW
To ensure regulatory compliance, organizations must be able to
protect data, track hardware (and users), provide auditing
capabilities and maintain historical records. While many of the
statutes apply to an entire enterprise, it is often mobile assets such
as laptop computers that are the most difficult to track. In fact, a
2003 study by the Gartner Group suggests that most organizations
are only able to locate about 60 percent of their mobile assets,12
which raises the following questions: Where are the other 40
percent? Who is using them? What information resides on them?
THE ENCRYPTION CONUNDRUM
While statutes like the California Senate Bill 1386 (see sidebar at
right) only apply to unencrypted data, numerous legal challenges
have arisen with the burden of proof being placed on an
organization to prove that it had in fact encrypted the
How can an organization prove that it is protecting its mobile data
(through encryption and other methods) if it can't even locate the
hardware containing the data?
Not all missing assets are a result of theft. As much as 10 to 15
percent of missing computers can be attributed to "drift" within an
organization.13 Assets are taken out of service (broken or obsolete),
or locked away in the bottom of a filing cabinet and forgotten, or
are handed down internally to junior employees within the
organization. Regardless of why devices go missing, the fact
remains that despite their age most are likely to contain sensitive
personal or corporate information ' information for which the
organization is responsible and liable.
Even the simple retirement of old hardware (through
obsolescence or end of lease), requires sensitive data to be
removed from a device before it is re-purposed internally, sent for
recycling, or returned to the leasing agency. Numerous examples
exist in the media that highlight incidents in which salvage shops
have found sensitive information on "refurbished" corporate
US COMPLIANCE-RELATED STATUTES
While the following examples are US
statutes, similar legislation exists or is
pending in many other jurisdictions.
SARBANES-OXLEY ACT requires
accurate reporting of all assets, including
computer assets. Non-compliance carries
severe penalties (fines of up to $5 million
and imprisonment for up to 20 years) for
CALIFORNIA SENATE BILL 1386
requires all organizations in the state of
California that own or license
computerized data containing personal
information to disclose to residents any
breach of security if unencrypted
personal information is reasonably
thought to have been compromised by
an unauthorized person. Furthermore,
the bill extends beyond California's
borders because it also applies to any
business that holds data on a California
resident. Most states have also adopted
legislation similar in scope to Senate Bill
GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY is a law that
mandates that all companies protect the
security and confidentiality of their
customers' private information. To comply,
organizations storing personal customer
information must identify and safeguard
against the loss of any personal
HIPAA (HEALTH INSURANCE
PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
ACT), establishes rules for handling and
securing medical records to ensure the
privacy and security of patient
information. The act pertains to
organizations - including school districts -
that process, transmit or store protected
health information. Noncompliance carries
significant civil and criminal penalties.
Since most districts maintain student
medical records on at least some of their
computers, they must therefore comply
- 12 Gartner Group (2002)
- 13 Absolute Software Corp., installed base data 1998-2004
- 14 Paul Allen, "Is It Safe? " Wall Street & Technology, June 29, 2005,http://www.wallstreetandtech.com.
USING DATA PROTECTION TOOLS IN CONJUNCTION
WITH ASSET TRACKING CAPABILITIES
To fully comply with government regulations, an organization
must have data security, such as encryption or remote data delete
capability, coupled with asset tracking capabilities. This
combination is necessary to quickly and effectively locate and
recover assets containing sensitive information. Asset tracking
capabilities help prove that an organization had the device in its
possession and was capable of deleting sensitive data.
A BROADER APPROACH
Encryption combined with powerful asset tracking and recovery
tools ensure superior protection for sensitive information. The
ideal solution for compliance is encryption plus powerful theft
recovery software that tracks assets, identifies users and helps law
enforcement retrieve stolen hardware.
TAKING CONTROL OF THE SITUATION
Some organizations may think they can get by with minimal
compliance protection. They are, however, exposing themselves
to unnecessary risks and potential liability. Those that wish to truly
reduce exposure to compliance issues for themselves and their
clients must seek out a more robust solution.
Regardless of the specific solution chosen, a multi-faceted mobile
data protection system should consist of the following:
- REAL-TIME ASSET TRACKING ' The ability to locate all
mobile assets connected to an internal network, or the
Internet. It is imperative that any tracking system make use
of real-time asset tracking and dynamic reporting. Ideally
this system should be able to identify and communicate
with remote assets.
- REMOTE DATA DELETE ' The ability to remotely remove
sensitive information from a lost or stolen mobile device
through commands issued centrally.
- DATA ENCRYPTION ' The ability to protect mobile data
from unauthorized parties; encryption is the last line of
defense against misuse by external parties.
- AUDIT LOGS ' The ability to produce defensible records
that can verify what sensitive information was lost or stolen,
its encryption status and the last known location of the
- Knowledge of the relevant
statutes for your industry and
- The ability to track mobile
computers, their usage and the
types of information on them,
including the ability to locate
assets on demand
- Recovery software for retrieving
lost or stolen assets
GRANT THORNTON LLP ACHIEVES
99.7% ACCURACY IN TRACKING
ITS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
ASSETS, COMPARED TO AN
ESTIMATED 60% FOR MOST OTHER
Corporate compliance is important to
every organization, but especially to a Big
5 accounting firm like Grant Thornton LLP
- an organization that requires access to
confidential client information and needs
to set an impeccable corporate example
for the business community.
By delivering full control of its assets and
ensuring compliance, Grant Thornton
created a layered approach to its security
policies. Prior to the exercise, Grant
Thornton could account for about 80% of
its mobile assets at any one time -
considerably better than the 60%
average, but still leaving room for
Central to the layered security approach
and improved lifecycle management was
the implementation of a sophisticated
asset tracking and recovery system. The
system deployed by Grant Thornton
enables the IT department to quickly
determine where a machine is located,
who is using it and what software is
installed on it. Grant Thornton is now
able to track 99.7% of its IT assets.
By tracking its mobile assets, Grant
Thornton is able to comply with
government legislation including the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Gramm-Leach-
Bliley Act, California Senate Bill 1386 and
According to a study by Safeware The Insurance Agency, 600,000
laptops, valued at $720 million, were reported stolen in 2004. The
estimate of the corresponding loss was $5.4 billion in proprietary
information.15 According to the FBI, only 3% of stolen computers
are ever recovered.16 This represents an enormous loss of assets,
as well as an unacceptable risk of compromised data. When
devices are not recovered, professional hackers have limitless time
to work on cracking encryption codes or circumventing passwordprotected
Many organizations only use strong authentication or data
encryption to safeguard their data, however, neither of these
approaches provide help in the area of data recovery. Without
tracking software, most victims of theft never see their stolen
When a computer has been lost or stolen, there is a very real
possibility that the data stored on it will become compromised. The
victim must live with the anxiety of never knowing how or when
the data will be exploited ' and for what unscrupulous purposes.
Portable devices are extremely vulnerable to theft and disappear at
an alarming rate. This problem will likely worsen over time as
laptop use increases and thieves become more sophisticated in
their methods. Organizations that do not have a technique for swift
recovery can never truly ensure their clients' confidentiality. Trade
secrets and private information are always at risk. Compromised
data is most damaging when it falls into the hands of a competitor
or is used by individuals wishing to exploit the personal
information for financial gain.
Increased portability means increased convenience - and increased
risk of loss or theft. Laptops are easy targets: they are designed to be
portable. A stolen laptop can quickly be fenced, or sold, for cash but an
even greater danger than loss of valuable hardware is the information
Sophisticated criminals today specialize in the sale of confidential
information, social security numbers, banking or medical information,
and trade secrets. The proliferation of portable devices in the last
decade has made it far easier for them to acquire sensitive
Criminals have been known to destroy a company"s reputation for the
significant profits they can realize. Countless high profile companies
have faced the humiliation of informing tens of thousands of clients
that a device, such as an employee"s laptop, has been lost or stolen
and that their personal information may have been compromised.
- 15- Ken Bates and Chelle Pell, "Keeping You and Your Property Safe: A Guide
to Safety and Security on the Stanford Campus," Stanford University
Department of Public Safety, http://ora.stanford.edu/supporting_files/keep_safe.ppt.
- 16- Chris A. MacKinnon, "Is Encryption Enough? Options For Dealing With Stolen Laptops," July 22, 2005, www.processor.com.
- 17- Privacy Rights
Clearinghouse, "A Chronology of Data Breaches Reported Since the
ChoicePoint Incident," posted April 20, 2005 and updated September 28,
ENCRYPTED DATA IS NOT NECESSARILY PROTECTED DATA
Encrypting mobile data is a start, but it is not a guarantee that data is
entirely safe or that it will not be compromised. Encryption is
powerless to protect hardware from theft and does nothing to help
police track down lost or stolen hardware. Most significantly,
encryption fails to protect sensitive information in cases of internal
theft. Internal theft accounts for approximately 80% of all security
A disgruntled employee with access to passwords can easily obtain
and abuse confidential information. Teledata Communications suffered
for years at the hands of a rogue employee who was selling
confidential credit information, even though the company had a policy
of conducting extensive background screening of its employees.18
Companies that do not have a method for preventing internal theft
leave themselves vulnerable to having their private information
In the 20 percent of cases in which the mobile asset is lost to external
theft, encryption is only effective at delaying thieves and hackers from
gaining access to sensitive information. Since encryption does not help
with recovery, an ambitious hacker has unlimited time to aggressively
attack the code and find ways to circumvent the system.
Given enough time and computing power, brute-force attacks can be
used to crack encrypted files. Hacking time can be significantly reduced
through more sophisticated attacks, particularly where passwords can
be guessed or other vulnerabilities exploited.
Any mistake in the deployment of encryption and data is left
completely unprotected. Because it is impossible to eliminate human
error completely from any organization, backup systems must be in
place to safeguard data.
A LAYERED APPROACH FOR AGGRESSIVE PROTECTION
Hardware and information thieves are aggressive in their methods -
protective measures must be equally aggressive. A layered approach is
ideal, combining encryption and strong authentication with assettracking
and recovery software.
PROTECT YOUR DATA AND YOUR
COMPANY"S EXPOSURE WITH
REMOTE DATA DELETE TOOLS
Government legislation mandates that
organizations must publicly report any
security breach that is reasonably
believed to have compromised
personal information. By remotely
deleting sensitive data on target
computers that have fallen outside a
company"s jurisdiction, an organization
can avoid potentially damaging
publicity or litigation.
Industry-leading remote data delete
tools can remove data at the file,
directory and/or operating system (OS)
Remote data delete software can also
be used for lifecycle management to
ensure that computers are left clean
and free of sensitive data at their end
of life or lease.
A data delete for lifecycle management
can be set to run automatically, serving
as a blunt but effective reminder to the
user that the computer is overdue to be
returned to the organization"s IT
department. This tactic has been
particularly successful in one-to-one
laptop programs in school districts
and colleges across North America.
- 18 Daniel Roth with Stephanie Mehta, "IDENTITY THEFT: The Great Data Heist," May 16, 2005, Fortune.
Thieves know that very few stolen computers are ever located. Armed with this fact, they have become bolder in their
methods and more active than ever. In 2000, a laptop computer sitting on a podium was stolen from the CEO of
Qualcomm during a press conference.19 Thieves count on the fact that organizations and individuals will not be able to
trace and retrieve the stolen hardware. Even when a mobile computer is innocently lost, there are many individuals that
would take advantage of the situation.
According to the CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey (2003), the average company loss due to laptop theft is
more than $47,000 and rising. Recent examples include:
- Wesley College, Australia: theft of $120,000 worth of expensive laptop computers and equipment
- Sikorsky Aircraft: loss of 20 or more computers, software, and proprietary information, valued at $200,000
- Austin Public Schools: theft of $500,000 worth of high-tech equipment, mostly computers 20
For law enforcement agencies, attempting to locate a lost or stolen laptop computer is like looking for a needle in a
THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOVERY
For many organizations, the cost to replace lost hardware is enough of a hardship. But this pales in comparison to the
battered public image that results from the mandatory announcement to alert clients and media about the information
breach, and the lawsuits that inevitably follow. There are also a host of soft costs associated with the loss of a mobile
computer, including loss of employee productivity, procurement and re-provisioning costs and labor.
MINIMIZING EXPOSURE, FACILITATING PROSECUTION
Even more important than the hard and soft costs of replacing the asset is the fact that the longer a device floats outside of
the organization's control, the more likely it is for the information to be breached. By recovering a device, an organization
contains the problem and minimizes future exposure.
If law enforcement officials are able to recover a stolen laptop, police are in a better position to find and prosecute the
perpetrator. Similarly, with the asset recovered and the perpetrator identified, the scope of the information breach can be
defined and swift corrective action taken, such as dismissal or prosecution. Prosecution acts as a powerful deterrent
against future theft. Thieves seek an easy target. Well-publicized repercussions send a clear message that an organization
has the ability to strike back.
- 19- Steve Freedman, "Laptop Security - Where'd My Laptop Go?" Archer Strategic Alliances 2005, Macosx.com.
- 20- Geoff Kohl, editor, "Controlling your Company's Computer Assets," SecurityInfoWatch.com.
Of all the components in a layered approach to security, recovery is
one of the most sophisticated and undeniably one of the most
significant elements. Sophisticated asset tracking solutions deploy
software agents that regularly report their IP locations to a central
Recovery tools are highly effective because thieves know that
hardware is more valuable if they can prove that it is in working order.
To do so, they inevitably turn the hardware on and connect to the
Internet, at which point the agent - unbeknownst to the thief - reports
its location information.
The central administrator can then provide the necessary information
for the police to recover the device. But not all software agents are
considered equal. IT managers must consider solutions with a client
agent that is persistent and able to withstand multiple attacks, up to
and including hard-drive reformats and OS re-installs.
GETTING TO THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM
To effectively root out a problem such as internal theft,
organizations need to get to the heart of the matter. Often, theft is
simply a symptom of a larger problem.
While a layered approach to corporate security can reduce theft
and loss from an average of 3 to 5 percent of assets to less than 1
percent, losses still occur. Therefore, the last line of defense is to
minimize the impact of those losses through the timely recovery
of stolen hardware.
By recovering the devices, an organization can identify the source
of the problem and ensure that the culprit is effectively brought to
justice - helping prevent future thefts.
COMPUTER SECURITY CHECKLIST
- The ability to locate lost or
stolen assets for recovery
- Effective human resources
policies that enable strong
disciplinary action for misuse
of corporate assets
- The ability to delete data
remotely from mobile
computers that have been
lost or stolen
CASE STUDY: POLICE CRIME UNIT
BUSTS LARGE THEFT RING WITH
THE AID OF ASSET TRACKING AND
The McKinney, TX, Police Department
found that a local crime ring was
engaged in counterfeit checks, driver's
licenses and various other criminal
activities. Using a clever approach to the
problem, McKinney PD managed to
insert a stolen computer configured with
asset tracking and recovery software
inside the loop of counterfeiters. Once
inserted, the recovery software routinely
checked in and reported its location and
activities to the McKinney PD.
Utilizing the recovery software, the
McKinney PD was able to monitor who
was using the stolen computer and
where it was calling from as part of the
ongoing investigation. "This tracking
software will assist in the prosecution of
the suspects involved in this illegal
activity," commented Detective Jeff
Taylor. "[It] greatly assisted the McKinney
Police Department in an ongoing
investigation of a large crime ring in the
Dallas Metroplex area."
BEST PRACTICES: DEPLOYING A LAYERED APPROACH TO DATA SECURITY
With the vast amount of mobile data continually increasing and a greater emphasis being placed on organizations
by legislators, activists and now the courts, to protect personal information, data protection has become a top
priority for IT departments. Corporations that are not taking measures to protect their data do so at their peril.
It is not just the monetary risk of losing a relatively small asset, but the corporate risk of losing sensitive trade
secrets. Even worse is the risk of negative publicity associated with informing customers that the organization has
mishandled their personal information.
With thefts and losses happening both internally and externally as a result of events both accidental and
intentional, no single IT tool can protect against the full spectrum of potential threats. True corporate security and
data protection relies on the implementation of a multi-faceted or layered approach to mobile data protection.
A layered approach to data security should include:
- REAL-TIME ASSET TRACKING - the ability to locate all mobile assets connected to an internal network,
or the Internet; more than the traditional spreadsheet or static database that cross-references a computer
to its owner, this system should be able to identify and communicate with remote assets and track changes
to computer memory, hard drives and peripherals.
- REMOTE DATA DELETE - the ability to remotely remove sensitive information from a lost or stolen
mobile computer through commands issued centrally.
- DATA ENCRYPTION - the ability to protect mobile data from being read by unauthorized parties.
Encryption should be considered the last line of defense against misuse by external parties.
- AUDIT LOGS - the ability to produce defensible records that can verify what sensitive information was
lost or stolen, its encryption status and the last known location of the mobile asset.
Data protection tools need to be properly aligned to achieve the three corporate goals of CPR: Compliance,
Protection and Recovery.
COMPLIANCE Compliance with applicable mobile data protection statutes (also the ability to prove that
your organization was in compliance with government regulations), as well as easily
accessed audit records.
PROTECTION Deterrence and precautionary action to prevent mobile data losses; protection also
implies the ability to adequately protect information should a theft or loss occur.
RECOVERY The ability to recover lost mobile data, bring the data back under the control of the
organization and facilitate prosecution of the perpetrator.
Starting today, what steps can an organization take to put in place a better, more compliant environment for
protecting data, especially in mobile devices? Here are some quick tips on protecting data:
ENCOURAGE BEST PRACTICES
- 1. Educate employees on the need to avoid leaving laptops unattended. If they must be left in a vehicle, they
should be locked in the trunk.
- 2. Explain the importance of data security for corporate compliance purposes and the benefits of a best
practices approach to data protection.
- 3. Ensure that all laptop computers are locked in cupboards or other secure facilities at work or at home when
not in use.
- 4. Provide cable locks for laptops that must be left unattended.
- 5. Implement a sign-in system for visitors and do not let unaccompanied visitors into work areas.
ASSET TRACKING AND RECOVERY
- 6. Install an asset tracking and recovery tool such as ComputraceComplete to track and recover computers
that are lost or stolen, and monitor any changes or disappearances in computer memory, hard drives or
- 7. Deploy a data encryption tool to protect sensitive data.
REMOTE DATA DELETE
- 8. Use a remote data delete tool to remove potentially sensitive information from a lost, stolen or end-oflease
For more information on Compliance, Protection and Recovery, and to learn how your organization can deliver a
layered approach to corporate security, please contact:
ABSOLUTE SOFTWARE CORPORATION
Suite 800 - 111 Dunsmuir Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Tel 1-800-220-0733 or 604-730-9851