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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

Data Encryption At Schools? Locked Doors And File Cabinets Probably Even More Important

Many may be familiar with the stories of lost laptops and stolen computers at universities.  And, once in a while, I'll read stories where elementary schools were broken into and computers stolen.  Usually, such computers are not protected via hard disk encryption like AlertBoot, but damage is generally negligible (but not all the time.  Children's Social Security numbers sometimes are stored on said computers).

Now, most schools will make a statement that they believe the computer was stolen not for the information, but because of the computer's inherent value.  Usually, I'd dismiss such remarks as ill-conceived words of reassurance.  But not when it comes to schools.

Chances Are Your Elementary School Has Your Birth Certificate

There are several things required by most states when a child enrolls into school.  Generally, a certified birth certificate (photocopies will not do) and proof of immunization is required, among other things.

I haven't been able to find out why a birth certificate is necessary (and we don't have a lawyer on retainer for finding such stuff out), but it seems to revolve around these two requirements: proof of age or proof of identity or both.  Other documents can be provided if they meet the necessary requirements.  But let's face it, children don't generally have any form of ID.  A birth certificate is as close as it gets.

As far as I can tell, these certificates become part of the school's permanent records.

Birth Certificates Vs. School Computers

If you were an identity thief, would you target a computer that could possibly harbor sensitive information like students' SSNs?  Or would you make a beeline for the school's archives where each folder would hold a birth certificate?  A certified birth certificate?

For some criminals, it's the latter.  And why not?  You can change a SSN (it's very hard to do so, but not impossible), but a birth certificate is forever: there's no way to "cancel" a birth certificate.  Plus, there are systems in place for raising red flags when a particular SSN is used--there's no such thing for birth certificates, as far as I know.

School Records Are Permanent - That Means For Life

If you followed the above link, you'll see how the records of 7,000 to 10,000 Puerto Rican students--going all the way back to the 1980s--have been stolen by an identity theft ring.  Thankfully, they were arrested.

Of course, the number of people affected by this crime caper is a result of permanently archiving information.  But, a school does not have the option of shredding documents once a student has graduated.

Different Entities Have Different Security Needs

Encryption software is powerful and, depending on the settings, would require all the computers in the world to chug along for decades, perhaps centuries, to break into a computer's contents.

And due to this fact alone, many see encryption programs like some kind of panacea for all data-related breaches.  However, as you can see from above, this is not necessarily the case.

Depending on what type of data your company or organization has, you may find that thick walls and a good lock is of more value than an algorithm that the NSA has trouble breaking.

Remember, the first rule of data security is "know what it is you're trying to secure."  Otherwise, you may find you have a formidable (and expensive) security product that doesn't do anything but drain your bank account.

 
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About sang_lee

Sang Lee is a Senior Account Manager and Security Analyst with AlertBoot, Inc., the leading provider of managed endpoint security services, based in Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Lee helps with the deployment and ongoing support of the AlertBoot disk encryption managed service. Prior to working at AlertBoot, Mr. Lee served in the South Korean Navy. He holds both a B.S. and an M.S. from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.