The government's laptop security policies are once again in the spotlight, after the Insolvency Service revealed that a laptop containing personal data on directors of 122 bankrupt companies has been lost.

The Insolvency Service said four laptops were stolen in total, but only one of the systems held sensitive information. As well as the personal data, the laptop contained details of insolvency practitioners and creditors.

"The theft of four laptop computers has been reported to Greater Manchester police, who are investigating," the Insolvency Service said. "The Insolvency Service is working with Greater Manchester Police to try to recover the computers that were stolen from its premises."

The loss will bolster the support for Information Commissioner Richard Thomas' calls that the government needs to strengthen data sharing rules, and that his office needs more effective powers to enforce data protection.

Thomas recently served enforcement notices on HMRC and the MoD for their data losses, insisting they report regularly on their data handling.

How to protect your laptop and data from thieves