The Fraud Examiner

Coca-Cola Data Breach Highlights Importance of Laptop Security

By Mark Scott, J.D., CFE

December 2014

A recent data breach involving Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. highlights a threat faced by almost every organization: lost or stolen laptops can result in devastating data breaches. A data breach is an incident that involves the loss, theft or unauthorized access of sensitive information.

The Coca-Cola Breach

On January 24, 2014, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. announced that the personal information of about 74,000 employees, contractors and suppliers might have been compromised when several laptops containing unencrypted personal data were stolen from its Atlanta headquarters.

Although the laptops were later retrieved, a former employee filed a class action suit against Coca-Cola in November 2014 over the laptops breach, alleging, among other things, the beverage giant did not adequately secure the personal data and failed to notify the affected individuals quickly enough.

The breach will likely harm Coca Cola’s reputation and place its information security practices in the public spotlight.

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