Data leakage and data loss is at an all time high. USBs, or memory sticks, which are now used to download and transport large amounts of sensitive data, may be largely to blame. A recent survey by Texas-based data security experts Credant Technologies found that, in the last year, 9,000 USB sticks have been forgotten in pockets when people take their clothes to the local dry cleaners.

The survey was carried out in the United Kingdom (UK) to gauge the frequency and ease with which mobile devices such as USB and memory sticks are lost or forgotten in strange places such as dry cleaners. The survey was also designed as a warning to be vigilant when downloading information, as it does frequently get lost.

A similar survey was conducted by Credant Technologies recently amongst taxi drivers in London and New York and showed that over 12,500 handheld devices such as laptops, iPods, and memory sticks are forgotten at the back of taxis every six months.

Michael Callahan, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Credant Technologies, stated, "Although we conducted this survey in the UK, the idea was to show people everywhere how easy it is to lose data -- even in their local dry cleaners -- and that none of us are infallible. We're convinced if we were to do the same survey in the US we'd get very similar results. If the data is sensitive or valuable then people should protect this information with encryption so no one can access the data at any point, as it could easily end up in the wrong hands."

According to the survey, many mobile devices now have the capacity to store as much as 10,000 documents, 11,000 pictures, 500,000 contact details, or 1.1 million emails, making them an obvious target for identity theft criminals...

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I don't suppose Spare ran their choice of naming their new division past a focus group. The very LAST thing online backup customers want to know is that their service provider has a "Data Mining Division." Look, even if this new division is completely innocent, and the data collection is covered under their Terms of Service, and users' privacy will not be violated (completely), it casts an ominous shadow on Spare and the rest of us, too.

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The online backup industry is one of the very few who are thriving during the recession, and perhaps in part, because of it. As IT budgets are cut, companies are looking for cheaper alternatives to buying large drive arrays, building out data centers, and doing backups themselves. In many cases, it is cheaper to simply outsource their backups.

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This white paper discloses the real costs to a small business for performing proper data backups in-house using portable hard drives, then compares this with the costs and benefits of using an Online Backup Service instead. The example used is a “typical” small company without a dedicated IT person, backing up a single Windows 2003 Server using the generally recommended procedure of rotating multiple USB-attached portable hard drives offsite.

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