1 little computer, 3.3 million people, how much will it cost?

So, a local-ish hospital system came into the office on Monday to find that one of their desktop computers had been stolen. Probably cost them about $500 to replace. No big deal right? Wrong! This little theft might amount to more than a half a million dollars!  

This little desktop computer had the names of 3.3 million patients of this broader hospital network. It had their basic information: name, address, phone number, medical provider, etc. For a smaller group of 945,000, the computer had information on procedures they had done, diagnosis, and dates of service. The organization is in the process of notifying each of the 945,000 individually about the medical data that may have been compromised. That means 945,000 pieces of mail- On the low end- that would cost almost half a million dollars just to send out a 1 page notice! They have set up a toll free number to respond to inquiries- can you imagine how many phone calls they are getting? How many man hours are going into this breach? 

What can you as a small business owner take away (besides being glad you aren't responsible for 3.3 million people?) 


  • Think twice, three times, or four times before storing protected health information (medical records), credit card numbers, or other sensitive data on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone.

  • Do think strongly about putting remote software or application onto your desktop, laptop, or mobile phone- even if you don't regularly store data on your system.

  • Be sure that wherever your store your sensitive data, it is stored in an encrypted system. What does that mean? It means that if someone gets the "data" it looks like gobbly gook and they have to crack a code to access it. A password protected computer is NOT encrypted!


This story is just one reason I love having a paperless office. Although the next thing on my list is to install a remote softare on my desktop and laptop for a "worst case scenario" situation. 

What are you doing to secure sensitive data on your laptop, computer, tablet, or mobile phone?