Ameritrade Shows Peril of Backup Tapes
Source: Enterprise IT Planet - Posted by Pax Dickinson   
Security For the second time this year, a high-profile financial company has lost a backup tape containing customer data while shipping the tape to an off-site storage facility.

Brokerage company Ameritrade has begun warning about 200,000 current and former customers about the loss of a backup tape containing their personal information, officials said this week.

The news follows Bank of America's admission in February that it lost tapes containing the personal data of 1.2 million federal employees.

The incidents show the vulnerability that companies face when storing backup tapes off site, and could add to growing calls for data encryption and a national data privacy law.

"Companies need to do risk assessments on their backup processes," said Jon Oltsik, senior analyst for information security at Enterprise Strategy Group. "There are far more vulnerabilities than most people think."

Ameritrade discovered the loss in February when it received a damaged package containing a number of backup tapes shipped from its secure facilities in the U.S. Katrina Becker, an Ameritrade spokeswoman, said the shipping company caused the damage to the package.

Ameritrade immediately launched an investigation and learned four tapes were missing, three of which were subsequently recovered at the shipper's facility. The fourth, containing personal information on customers who used the company's service between 2000 and 2003, hasn't been recovered, she said.

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