London Councils Lose 1,293 Devices In 3 Years

It has been revealed that London Borough Councils have lost 1,293 devices over the last three financial years, a worrying thought when we consider some of the information that may be on the devices.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request submitted by think tank Parliament Street, revealed 23 out of the 31 borough councils that operate in the capital had the devices lost or stolen between the financial years 2016 and 2019.

304 mobiles, laptops and tablets were unaccounted for in 2016-17, but this paled in comparison when 635 were missing two years later at the financial year end 2018-19.

Naturally, mobile phones were the devices most likely to be lost or stolen, accounting for 951 devices. Laptops were the second most common accounting for 124 devices and tablets registered 33 losses.

Lambeth Council came out the worst in the FoI, recording the highest number of missing devices, a total of 281, most of which were mobile phones.

Brent Council recorded 170 losses whilst Richard and Wandsworth Council recorded 123.

Absolute Software EMEA VP, Andy Harcup, warned that the rise of flexible working combined with opportunistic thieves is increasing the risk of confidential public sector data going missing.

“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.

“It’s time for all organisations 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.”

Do you have any processes in place which enables you to deactivate or lock down missing/stolen devices?