Camden encrypts all of its laptops

The London Borough of Camden has encrypted its 1,400 laptops to protect them against the threat of possible theft and subsequent data losses.

Another reason for the project - which started in January 2008 - was to prepare for Government Connect Secure Extranet (GCSX), a private Wide-Area Network (WAN) for secure interaction between local authorities and other organisations.

The Check Point solution means that the council has full digital encryption on all of its laptops. As well, the process is automated so users don't have to choose which data to encrypt.

John Jackson, assistant director for corporate ICT at Camden council, told IT PRO that encryption was just one part of its security protection. The council also makes use of patching, anti-virus protection and identity authentication to keep data protected.

"Part of the approach is compliance for sure, but we're also very aware of our responsibilities as an organisation the public expects us to process the information securely and in the right way," he said.

"There is significant efficiency and cost avoidance in doing this the right way," he added. 'As we've seen from other security breaches, the costs could be extremely high."

Jackson said private firms as well as public sector have improved data security in the last few years, but there were still big challenges to face.

He claimed that security had been a focus for councils for a while, but new requirements like GCSX had made it a "top-line" agenda.

"Councils can't use shared services, operate new models for working, or share data with their partners without this framework being in place," he said.

"What you've now got a real strategy push in the business, whereas previously it was a technical push. It's a big change," he added.