Sodexo, a global company that provides integrated food and facilities management (cafeteria food and HVAC maintenance—a winning combo? Well, it’s working for them to the tune of billions in revenue) has notified the Maryland AG that a company laptop was lost, according to pogowasright.org. The lost laptop, which one concludes is lacking full disk encryption, may affect 919 employees, a fraction of the 342,000 employees that work for Sodexo. Does the figure of nine hundred just mean
The laptop was stolen from an employee’s car, and while the computer had password protection, it looks there wasn’t much else in terms of data protection. Sodexo thinks that there may be names and Social Security numbers in the lost laptop, data that could lead to identity theft if someone with rudimentary knowledge of computers is able to get to the data.
They think there may be such data?
A common problem with trying to find what was exactly on a computer after it’s been lost or stolen: there’s no real way to know. The best IT administrators can do is make an assumption based on the last back up of the data; but anything that was saved in the laptop between the time data was backed up and the laptop was lost…there is no way for anyone but the user of the laptop to know, assuming he can remember.
This is why people tend to recommend that computers be protected using encryption solutions like AlertBoot. In this case, full disk encryption would have been advantageous over file encryption due to the fact that Sodexo doesn’t have an exact idea of what was in the laptop. If one file, with sensitive data, is encrypted, and another file with similar data is saved in the laptop without encryption—you’ve still got the possibility of a data breach.
However, if full disk encryption is employed, the entire hard drive is protected, and the chances of an information security breach becoming reality are drastically diminished. In fact, the chances become nil, unless the user did something unusual, like taping the username and password, necessary for accessing the encrypted data, to the bottom of the laptop.
Full disk encryption is in many ways the easiest and most hassle?free way of protecting your digital assets, since it requires a one?time encryption process. Once your hard drive is encrypted, placing any kind of document in the hard drive will ensure that it’s encrypted as long as it remains in the disk itself.