According to UTSA Today at utsa.edu, the University of Texas System has “requested that all laptops owned by UT institutions be encrypted by the end of August.” It’s a tremendous effort by UT to ensure that sensitive data remains protected, and what better way to do so than via the use of disk encryption software like AlertBoot?
But, there is one detail in the story that forces me to give mess than a “two thumbs up” to the latest UT move.
Apparently, the UT System “adopted a policy to require encryption on all laptops storing sensitive data” in June 2007. That’s five years ago. And it’s not as if it involved a massive number of computers: according to the story, there are about 4,000 laptops to be protected. Of those, “1,500 that previously were encrypted must be re-encrypted with the newer software tool.”
The implication is that the UT System either couldn’t or wouldn’t encrypt more than 1,500 laptops over the course of five years! That’s 300 per year, or about one each business day. What, did they have one lone IT guy just walk around and protect one laptop at a time?
(I doubt it…but if that’s the case, perhaps UT ought to take a look at AlertBoot, which was used to encrypt over 6,000 computers for a financial company spread around the globe. It took us about a month, and only because we had cover different time zones and people on the move who rarely had an internet connection).
The Longest Trial Period?
If one is looking for a silver lining, I guess you could say that UT ran the world’s longest trial on whether encryption software aids in prevent data breaches. The answer is a resounding “yes”:
In June 2007, the UT System adopted a policy to require encryption on all laptops storing sensitive data. Since the adoption of the policy, UT institutions have avoided a number of serious data exposures because many lost or stolen laptops were encrypted. During the same time frame, however, UT institutions have also experienced serious data exposures as a result of incidents concerning unencrypted laptops. [utsa.edu]
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