2. Laptops: Protecting Your Roving Safety Deposit Boxes
In today’s world of international commerce and the ease with which we travel the globe carrying thousands of gigabytes of data on laptops (not to mention thumb-drives or other portable storage devices), we must appreciate the fact that in many countries, the only way that data is totally secure is if the laptop is powered down, unconnected to the internet, and under constant physical control. Absent these procedures, in fact, there are several countries in which all the proprietary and vital data stored on these devices can be stolen by state-sponsored digital eavesdroppers the first time you log onto the internet within their borders. It is a popular belief that the Chinese government, for example, actively sponsors the theft of intellectual property both by hacking data from across the Pacific and also by taking advantage of travelers who bring it with them when crossing into China.
It is important to have corporate policies and procedures designed to mitigate these risks and stop that from happening. For example, many companies provide employees access to “travel laptops” that, while fully capable of executing vital business functions, are stripped of any truly proprietary, sensitive, or secure information. It is also important to make sure your information security policies are up-to-date, understandable to the vast majority of non-tech employees, and last but not least, auditable.
Specifically, make sure that your information security policies cover at least the following areas: the creation, transmission, transport and retention of information; when and how information can be disposed of and/or removed from corporate servers/storage; remote, wireless, electronic and physical access to the corporate network; and security precautions to use while traveling.
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