News that Russia's Kremlin is spending £9,860 on typewriters in a bid to reduce data leaks appears to have alarmed at least one IT channel company.
Earlier this month, Kremlin security placed an order for 486,540 roubles-worth (£9,860) of typewriters on the Russian state procurement website – with a leak revealing to the Izvestiya newspaper that it is thought it will help prevent data leakage.
The Izvestiya source reportedly said: "After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposés by Edward Snowden and reports about Dmitry Medvedev being bugged during his visit to the G20 London summit (in 2009), it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents."
However, Michel Robert, managing director of managed services provider Claranet, has poked fun at the move, saying that increasing the creation of paper documentation is "probably not a great idea".
"Not only can it be difficult and time-consuming to identify valuable information in paper documents, but they can also represent a security risk themselves, especially from internal threats," he opined.
"And that is before even considering the threats posed by fire, flood, or other natural disaster that might destroy those documents."
Unsurprisingly, Robert suggests that managed services are a more practical solution for most organisations.
Of course, the Kremlin's intriguing move does reflect the level of concern for data security in an increasingly complex IT world, he conceded, but he insisted the primary focus must remain on securing IT systems.
"Your first step should be to evaluate how much of your data is actually sensitive, how long it needs to be retained for, and how often it will be accessed. In taking this approach there is the opportunity to reduce complexity and the volumes of data stored securely," Robert said.
We have a feeling that the Kremlin security agency may have already considered these questions.
Perhaps the channel should reconsider its decision generally not to stock the modern equivalent of Olivetti. Brother UK still sells electronic typewriters, for a cool £100 or thereabouts.
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