Once famed as European City of Culture at the start of the nineties, Glasgow is this month less celebratory as it berates the loss of what is suspected to be more than 700 computers from Glasgow City Council’s offices and confines.
Reports suggest that the following machines have been “lost” :
- A total of 256 unencrypted laptops
- Approximately 450 PCs.
- A further 541 unencrypted laptops
One report from May of this year suggests that two particular laptops have been stolen containing the bank details of 16,541 businesses and individuals. Arguably even worse, data loss regarding the details of local sex offenders and victim may have also been lost.
The losses and thefts have been confirmed by the council to have occurred over a number of years and have been described as both “organised and systematic” in their nature.
A council spokesman has confirmed that a report into these losses shows that the council has been “poor at keeping accurate records of its IT equipment” in the past. The public body is said to be dealing with the amount of unencrypted IT equipment it has been operating with.
Independent comment has been made by Stephen Midgley, VP of endpoint security and management solutions company Absolute Software.
“Although the public may be shocked to hear these high figures of theft and loss, what is more surprising is the lack of proper security measures and processes. Government bodies really should know better and education on the importance of data security should be of the highest priority at all levels of public service,” said Midgley.
“The value of information on a device is almost certainly of greater than the value of the laptop itself, especially when that information consists of personal and sensitive data inevitably held by public bodies. Mobile devices do get lost and stolen but this does not mean all is lost. Remote file recovery, remote data deletion and assisted theft recovery need to be engaged quickly and decisively when losses occur so it is not only important to employ effective security software but also ensure that processes are in place to recognise losses the moment they occur,” added Midgley.