CBCnews.ca reports that a portable hard drive with personal information on 583,000 Canadians, who were part of a Student Loans program between 2000 and 2006, has gone missing. The hard drive contained sensitive information including: student names, social insurance numbers, date of birth, contact information and loan balance. It also contained personal information for 250 government officials.
Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley responded in a statement and in her own words mentioned that the incident was both unacceptable and avoidable. She further went on to note that a communications plan will go out to all government employees about the seriousness of the event and suggested mandatory training on new security policies to ensure that these situations do not occur again.
But it begs the question: if such incidents are unacceptable and avoidable, then why aren’t the proper technological solutions in place? Instead of putting the onus on training staff about new security policies, having a comprehensive data backup and recovery solution in place can ensure that any data that goes missing remains encrypted and recoverable.
You would hope that a government agency would learn from its mistakes but unfortunately the same agency lost data on a USB key only a few weeks ago.