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Should schools continue backing up onto tape?
Tape containing sensitive information on pupils stolen from a Wolverhampton School, KeepItSafe, comment
Dublin, Ireland, Nov 21, 2011 –/BackupReview.info/– Following news that an unencrypted data tape containing sensitive information about pupils and parents has been stolen from The Phoenix Nursery School in Wolverhampton, online backup experts KeepItSafe are calling on all schools, both in Ireland and the UK, to review their data security practices and wake up to the risks involved with tape – namely theft and loss in this case.
“Data left lying around on tape is an easy target for thieves – especially when it isn’t even encrypted,” said Eoin Blacklock, Managing Director at KeepItSafe. “Yes, the data on the tape, may have been recovered, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t also fallen into the wrong hands – the tape has still been stolen and we may well see more repercussions down the line. This incident should act as a wake-up call to other schools – it’s simply unacceptable that information on children is left out for anyone to steal.”
According to reports, the data has been recovered but the actual tape containing names and addresses of 70 pupils and their families has not been found. The school was found to have fallen foul of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and has now been forced to sign an undertaking to improve its data handling procedures through the use of encryption and better staff training.
“The ICO is right to berate The Phoenix Nursery School on its careless use of tapes and the lack of data encryption, but the more fundamental question here is why such sensitive information was saved on a portable device in the first place, and why it was then left in the school rather than safely stored elsewhere?” continued Blacklock. “What’s more, it seems unreasonable to ask school staff to accept the responsibility of looking after this information – a much simpler solution would be to automate the process and back up to an encrypted service online.”
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