During the last three financial years, the number of councils in London reporting lost or stolen mobile computing devices has more than doubled. This comes from new Freedom of Information (FOI) data.
Think tank Parliament Street gathered responses from 23 out of the 31 local borough councils that are run across the UK capital. These responses revealed that 1293 devices were lost or stolen from the beginning of 2016’s financial year. This includes mobile phones, tablets and laptops. The figure jumped from 304 to 635 between 2016 and 2019, a 109 per cent increase.
The most common missing device was the mobile phone, accounting for 951 lost or stolen devices. Laptop losses almost double from 64 to 124, while tablet losses increased slightly from 26 to 33.
Lambeth was most affected by device losses, with 84 per cent 281 losses being mobile phones. Second came Richmond and Wandsworth, followed by Brent. Richmond and Wandsworth, which reported collectively, saw a 666 per cent rise in lost and stolen devices. Brent stood at 74 per cent.
Andy Harcup, VP for Absolute Software EMEA, shared warning of how the increase in flexible working is raising the risk of losing confidential public sector data.
“If said device ends up in the wrong hands, these councils and the constituents they serve could be facing severe consequences, including a major data breach with citizen details finding their way onto the dark web,” he added.
“It’s time for all organizations to wake up to the very real risks posed by stolen devices in terms of data security. Every single council should have robust end-point security measures in place to ensure that devices reported missing can be accessed, tracked, deleted and frozen appropriately.”
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