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Laptops, Smartphones Sources of Cyber Losses, Privacy Risks

Laptops, Smartphones Sources of Cyber Losses, Privacy RisksLaptops, Smartphones Sources of Cyber Losses, Privacy Risks

Back in May, we were interviewed for an article for an insurance industry publication on the growing exposure and privacy risks that impact today’s businesses, and what steps companies can take towards getting the proper protection. One of the issues discussed is that most losses are typically due to errant reasons, such as a lost laptop or smartphone. A recent case (June 2012) involving Apria Healthcare underscores this point when an employee negligently left his laptop in a locked car, which was then stolen. Apria provides home infusion, respiratory, and medical equipment in all 50 states in more than 500 locations.

According to Apria, the employee had exposed the protected health information (PHI) of as many as 11,000 patients. The theft occurred in Phoenix, Arizona; however, its ramifications could extend to California, New Mexico, and Nevada because of the laptop’s use in billing services. The California-based company immediately notified local law enforcement and began its own internal investigations, which revealed that PHI included Social Security numbers and names. Potentially, it also comprises dates of birth and other personal information.

The company’s legal spokesperson revealed that Apria will review its security measures, which includes encrypting laptops and other internal privacy safeguards. Apria will also supply affected patients with a year’s worth of credit monitoring.

The theft of the laptops reflects both a lack of technical (encryption) and physical safeguards. Yes, the car was locked and perhaps it even had an alarm system. But safeguards and procedures are needed to prevent the exposure of the laptop to thieves in the first place. This includes implementing policies and protocols regarding laptops, smartphones, etc. when off the premises or in transit, and educating all staff on these policies.

When it comes to risk management and data breaches, privacy insurance also offers the right protection, including payment to notify clients, credit monitoring services, and other key features. Axis Insurance Services, LLC provides privacy/cyber liability coverage to all types of firms. Give us a call at (877) 787-5258.

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Blogged on: September 7, 2012 by Mike Smith
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