Potential Data Loss, Be Prepared

November 19, 2009

The March 11th Buffalo News reported that HealthNow had informed 40,000 members that they were at risk of identity theft; their private data, stored on a former employee's laptop computer, had gone missing along with the machine, according to the article. Among the data lost were names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, employer group names, and health insurance identifier numbers.

The theft of a laptop belonging to an employee of an insurance trade group has put hundreds of thousands of physicians around the country at risk of identity theft. The laptop, belonging to an employee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, was stolen from a car in late August, according to reports in the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune. It contained a database listing the business and personal information of about 800,000 doctors. Why is it that announcements like these are commonplace these days? Laptops are becoming increasingly important in the day-to-day business of most businesses and, because they are mobile and often used outside of the secure office environment, they are also prone to being lost or stolen.  Recent studies state that 1 in 5 laptops are lost or stolen and this is the cause of 40% of all data security breaches.

Wouldn’t it be better to hear about a laptop that was lost where the company said, "We know exactly what files were on the laptop when it went missing.  These files contained the personal information of exactly 6 customers.  The laptop was remotely locked down 2 hours after the incident was reported.  We are confident that no personal information has been exposed." With Laptop Protective Services activated on your company laptops, you would be able to make this kind of announcement, protect your customer’s information, your business reputation and potentially prevent fines and penalties under state-specific data security legislation.

For additional information on Laptop Protective Services, please visit alta.mobilesecure.com

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.