security and encryption warning

UK schools, colleges and universities have not encrypted their laptops
as they face the reality of device theft.

A survey by LapSafe of 100 UK schools, colleges and universities found that 27 per cent had IT equipment stolen in 2011, and while 83 per cent had an ICT security policy in place, 19 per cent did not include guidelines for physically securing devices.

Laptops were the most common devices to be stolen over the three-year period (42 per cent), with 11 per cent of institutions victim to netbook theft since 2009. Only four per cent reported tablet computer theft.

Denise Crouch, director at LapSafe Products, said: “Our research suggests that theft of laptops and other mobile ICT devices from UK schools, colleges and universities is on the rise. Although the exact reasons for this increase are unclear, it is likely that the economic downturn and the fact that education establishments are often hotbeds of technology are somewhat responsible.

“It is vital that educators have sufficient plans in place to reduce the risk of mobile ICT theft. This should include measures for physically securing laptops, netbooks and tablets, and should be supported by regular IT security training to help avoid the negative consequences of having devices stolen.”