As further redundancies are inflicted on the financial sector, computer forensics firm Kroll Ontrack is warning companies of the risks of not backing up data on redundant computers and other hardware.
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The Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted 62,000 job losses in the UK's financial sector alone by the end of 2009, and computer forensics specialists are warning that companies may not have the necessary resources to adequately back up data from computers.
With each device requiring anywhere between two and six hours of work to image contents, the financial sector alone could collectively require a quarter of a million human hours to complete the task, said Kroll.
Though redundancies have been most rife in the financial sector, the issue of preserving data is one that could affect companies in other sectors that are highly regulated.
Whilst most companies are not legally required to back up all data on computers and other hardware devices that are no longer in use, these companies leave themselves open to data loss and theft of intellectual property by not doing so.
They may also find themselves unable to meet obligations for data disclosure that could disadvantage them in future litigation.
Martin Carey, managing director of Kroll Ontrack, said, "We have already seen a large number of redundancies in several sectors and predictions claim those numbers will keep climbing throughout 2009. With fewer personnel and financial resources available, many companies are unlikely to have the means to perform the necessary tasks associated with creating forensic images prior to disposal."
He said, "In bypassing a process that at other times would be manageable, companies are leaving themselves open to risks, including theft of intellectual property and the potential inability to supply necessary data under legal obligations, which could have considerable financial implications."