The Information Commissioner's Office has urged the encryption of smartphones.

In a press release issued last week regarding the theft of an unencrypted, password-protected laptop from a UPS employee in October 2008, assistant information commissioner Mick Gorrill urged encryption of laptops and smartphones.

Gorrill said: “Password protected laptops are not secure. I urge all organisations to restrict the amount of personal information that is taken off secure sites. I am pleased that UPS has encrypted its laptops and smartphones, and I urge other organisations to follow suit.”

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro, claimed that the last sentence was the most interesting. “While enterprise deployment of device level encryption has really gained momentum over recent years, the same cannot be said of encrypting the data that resides on the ubiquitous smartphone devices, particularly on the removable media cards they often contain,” said Ferguson.

He claimed that the press release may have some resounding repercussions for enterprises and governments in the near future.

Likewise Simon Ford, international sales director of NCP, claimed that the rise in popularity of smartphones has been caused due to them becoming ‘smarter and easier to use'.

Ford said: “People should be looking into smartphone use in companies but not without the security aspects considered. Some want to experiment and some want to use a smartphone to pick up their emails, so they don't consider the security aspects at the beginning.

“We also tell them to consider what is important to their PC and what they have to do to their smartphone too. The best way to encrypt is by using a VPN and you need to do the same with a smartphone.”