£980K fine for the Nationwide - serves the BS right

I was immensely gratified to see that Nationwide Building Society has been fined a whacking £980,000 by the FSA for failing to devise and implement contingency arrangements for the possible loss of customer data on employee's laptops.

Having had experience of the Nationwide's parochial approach to finance back in the early 1990s when I applied for my first mortgage, I realised long ago that the humorous ads starring Mark Benton are actually more true to life at the Nationwide than you'd believe.

And I think IT security vendor Safeboot agrees, as it notes that the loss of a employee's laptop last year meant that over 11 million customers were at risk of financial crime.

As reported elsewhere, the information on the laptop was not encrypted, leading the FSA to rule that the Nationwide breached customer confidence with such a flagrant security breach.

Tom de Jongh, product manager at SafeBoot, says that the building society took its eye off the ball and underestimated how simple it would be to secure its critical customer data.

"Data security isn't hard to implement - most of the time it just takes a bit of common sense," he said, adding that security policies are very simple to put in place and this case goes to show how costly it can be to think otherwise.

"In today's business environment, even the smallest file can have a significant monetary value so ensuring that information is protected from prying eyes is imperative," he explained....

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