Keeping tabs on old laptops

An article about an unusual data breach caught our eye this week.  It’s unusual because of the length of time it had been going on for (http://www.cio.co.uk/news/security/coca-cola-data-breach-as-employee-borrows-55-laptops/).

Around 74,000 records, including personal data of employees and other sensitive information, were taken from Coca-Cola in a protracted loss that went on for several years.  A Coca-Cola employee took 55 – yes that’s right, 55 laptops – from under the noses of his bosses.  The employee was able to do so because it was part of his role to dispose of equipment.  The twist in the tale is that the laptops reappeared leading Coca Cola to categorise the leak as ‘temporary’.

There have been many equipment-based data loss stories in recent years, such as laptops turning up on eBay containing sensitive personal or corporate information.  So this begs the question, are you sure that when your equipment comes to the end of its useful business life it is being properly disposed of or wiped clean of any information that may be stored on it?

The need to know the fate of your old hardware, and knowing it’s been disposed of responsibly, is a key issue that could impact a business financially, legally and in terms of reputation if any sensitive data were to get into the wrong hands.

It’s a point worth remembering the next time you’re on your Diet Coke break (other drinks brands are available, of course!).