Nationwide under fire for customer data loss

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Nationwide Building Society could have easily and cheaply avoided the financial loss and reputation damage it suffered recently when one of its laptops containing the details of nearly 11 million customers was stolen, it was claimed today.

The organisation was fined £980,000 ($2.4 million) by the Financial Services Authority when the laptop was stolen from an employee's home last year.

Security company Wick Hill claimed that companies can easily and inexpensively protect against this kind of data leakage with encryption software.

Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of Wick Hill, said: "It really is very easy and economical for companies to protect data on their laptops using encryption software from vendors such as Utimaco.

"This can cost as little as £75 ($186)per device protected and will make it impossible for anyone stealing a laptop to decipher its contents."

Businesses are responsible for safeguarding personal information held on their systems under data protection laws and other regulatory requirements.

"With the ever-increasing use of laptops out of the office, their vulnerability to theft, and the availability now of low-cost security solutions, it is time for companies to take the leap to securing laptops," said Kilpatrick.

"By doing so, they protect key data from potential exposure and meet their regulatory obligations."
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