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UPS Loses Citigroup Customer Data

Wasn't it only 3 months ago that Bank of America--unbelievably, we thought then--lost backup tapes containing data for 1.2 million of its customers, and only 2 months ago a similar mishap occurred at Ameritrade? If you were hoping that these incidents were just a fluke, you might want to call your bank--especially if it's Citigroup--and check your records. That's because Citigroup, the world's largest bank, today announced that United Parcel Service, which was shipping backup tapes containing account and payment history data on 3.9 million Citicorp customers to the Experian credit bureau in Texas, lost those tapes in late May. (I guess UPS's online package tracking system didn't help in this case.)


This latest in series of high-profile data disappearances further strengthens the case against tape-based backup systems. What good is backed-up data if you can't move it offsite securely? Whether, as some message-board posters have suggested, the fault is sabotage or merely stupidity, sensitive data that has to be physically moved from one site to another--in this case, hundreds of miles, is vulnerable.


The per-gigabyte cost of disk continues to decline, and more and more storage vendors--even the heavyweights like EMC and Hitachi Data Systems--have expanded their disk-based backup options to include products geared toward SMBs' storage needs and budgets. Backing up to disk still mandates security measures, but it may be safer moving data over a wire than in an airplane or a truck.

--Anne Grubb

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