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Latest UK Data Leak Scandal highlights Government's use of old technology

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Latest UK Data Leak Scandal highlights Government's use of old technology

Woking, Surrey: 4th November, 2009 - Farmers’ Weekly has reported(1) that two back up tapes, containing thousands of farmers’ bank details, have been lost by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Concerned whistleblowers recently leaked the story to the publication.

The Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) knew about the loss, back in May, says Farmers Weekly, and the RPA knew in September, but nothing was done to advise farmers of the risk they faced.

Quite who is responsible and how the tapes were lost is still being hotly debated with a lot of buck passing going on. According to one Farmers’ Weekly source, the tapes weren’t encrypted, as they should have been, increasing the risk.

This sorry story clearly illustrates the problem of using tape as a medium for backing-up confidential data. Tape is very vulnerable to human error. It has to be taken off site and stored, which leads to potential loss and damage. Human error is the most common cause of difficulties with tape back-up, while failure of the tape itself is another frequent problem.

Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of IT security specialist Wick Hill, commented: “It really wasn’t necessary for the RPA to put itself at risk by using tape for back-up. Tape is a very old technology and there are modern alternatives available which don’t use tape and could have avoided these problems.

“Barracuda Networks, for example, has a solution which combines a server on-site, for fast restoration of data locally, with secure offsite cloud-based storage, hosted by UK data centres, where data is replicated. Backing up is done automatically and no tape is involved.

“Given that Government is looking to save money in the current recession, the RPA could also have cut its costs and saved on manpower by using this method of back up.

“The combination of inclusive backup software, integrated local storage, data de-duplication technology, and offsite cloud-based storage leads to significantly simplified deployment, less storage space required and cost savings from increased productivity.”


Ian Kilpatrick, the author, is chairman of Wick Hill Group plc, specialists in secure infrastructure solutions for ebusiness. Kilpatrick has been involved with the Group for over 30 years and is the moving force behind its dynamic growth. Wick Hill is an international organisation supplying most of the Times Top 1000 companies through a network of accredited resellers.

Kilpatrick has an in-depth experience of computing with a strong vision of the future in IT. He looks at computing from a business point-of-view and his approach reflects his philosophy that business benefits and ease-of-use are key factors in IT. He has had numerous articles published in the UK and oveseas press, as well as being a regular speaker at IT exhibitions.

CRN 2008 channel awards winnder of ' Channel Personality of the Year', he is never afraid to voice his opinions on all aspects of the industry and on IT security issues in particular. He has an in-depth experience of computing with an excellent understanding of the industry from the vendor, distributor, reseller and end user point-of-view.

He has a strong vision of the future in IT and IT security. His approach reflects his philosophy that business benefits and ease-of-use are key to successful infrastructure deployment.


Please contact Wick Hill on +44 (0)1483 227600, web www.wickhill.com.

 


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