Progress in new technology, driven by the fall in Nand Flash price, has led to numerous small devices that can hold a substantial amount of data. The device that epitomises all of these is the USB Flash Drive. In 1999 a 16MB USB Flash Drive cost ?Â¨Âº50 now a 4GB USB Flash Drive costs only ?Â¨Âº10.
USB Flash Drives have been a excellent friend to businesses over the last couple of years, making it fast and straightforward to transfer data from 1 machine to an additional and to carry work property to finish without needing to haul around a heavy laptop. However, with flash drives being able to hold ever growing amounts of data and transfer data quicker than ever, USB flash drives are being looked at by some firms as 1 of their biggest threats to security.
The use of USB Flash Drives in business poses 3 categories of risk: the contraction of a personal computer virus; the loss of data and also the theft of data. All 3 of these are considerably serious: a computer virus could completely wipe out a company’s IT infrastructure and delete their most crucial files, if the firm hasn’t an successful data backup this could ruin it; if a company holds sensitive information and loses it, the firm could be found to have broken the DPA and could get fined a crippling sum of cash, not to mention the damage to its reputation; if a sales person walks out with your entire clients database and gives it to his new firm you are going to lose at least a couple of consumers.
Fortunately you will find some solutions out there to decrease the chances of businesses being a victim of one of the sad situations mentioned above.
1. Removal of USB ports – The removal of USB ports is a rather severe reaction to this potential threat and is frequently a practically hard one to implement, lots of firms use USB ports for their mice and keyboards and these would all have to be changed.
2. Encryption of USB Drives – Encryption on USB Flash Drive can take 1 of two forms either a hardware encryption or software encryption. Forms of difficult ware inscription might include only allowing access to the USB Flash Drive after the user has authenticated his or her authority utilizing a password, encryption certificate or biometric authentication (most commonly finger print recognition but occasionally also retina recognition). The encryption of storage media may also be managed via software two examples are Microsoft’s Active Directory and Novell’s eDirectory, both may be set up to use certificates to data held on USB Flash Drives.
3. Restrict access to crucial files on critical servers – As with all firm data access must be given on a want to basis and taken away from employees as soon as they no longer require that access: if you are going to give someone their notice is it worth letting them have access while they sit it out?
4. Monitor access of organization employees to sensitive files – Just since your employees have access to the data doesn’t mean they’ve ant rights to do with as they please. Monitoring their behaviour with sensitive data is the best way to spot any unusual pattern and can give you time to act and stop any feasible data leaks.
5. Limit size of data transferred to USB drives- Data transfer restriction software can be used to protect sensitive files by capping the sizes of files that may be copied to a USB Flash Drive. The file size limit simply wants to be set to the size of the smallest sensitive files.
6. Enforce USB Flash Drive policies – Enforcing USB Flash Drive Policies can go a lengthy method to decreasing the risk of accidental loss of data, policies alone aren’t likely to stop a disgruntled employee from performing any damage. Here are some policies you may need to consider: USB Flash Drives should only be utilized for data transfer and not storage. Data ought to not be on USB Flash Drives for over a week. Data should not be transferred to USB flash drives with out prior consent form a manager.
7. Firewalls and Anti viruses – Viruses could be contracted from USB Flash Drives just as they might be contracted from any other kind of media. To keep your self secure ensure you might have the newest updates installed for whichever antivirus software you use.
Even though the removal of USB ports is the only 100% particular way of making sure USB flash drives pose you no risk it is not a solution, the benefits of USB flash drives are vast and getting rid of them would be a step back for computing. By being vigilant to the behaviour of company staff and using 1 or many different the security solutions mentioned above you are able to protect yourself from flash drive misuse but still benefit from their versatility.