Yes, Even Your USB Drives Should Be Secured
Historically there have been several methods to transfer data from one system to the next, and while the cloud has rendered many of them irrelevant and unnecessary, that doesn’t mean they aren’t used by people looking to move data quickly. Many professionals still opt to use USB flash drives to keep certain data close at hand, but how at risk does this put the data on these drives?
Quite a bit, actually. Let’s discuss some of the many challenges that businesses face when dealing with USB flash storage and how it pertains to network and information security.
Consider how small many of these flash drives are. This makes them compact and easy to carry around, and they can store a surprisingly large amount of data for their size. Unfortunately, when a business owner heavily uses a USB flash drive for any reason, they are constantly putting that data at risk of being lost or stolen. What would happen if the user accidentally dropped it while out and about? While some USB flash drives allow for encryption and passcodes to lock access as needed, this is not always the case. For this reason, many users prefer alternative methods of data transfer.
When USB devices are used to transfer data and take it away from the workplace or off of the company network, tracking where, why, and how it is used can become quite problematic, especially when it comes to sensitive data that is governed by the various data privacy guidelines in specific industries. In particular, you should be wary of employees taking information such as customer data, financial information, intellectual property, source code, and other important assets out of the office; just imagine the fallout that could happen if employees were to lose their drive, or worse, sell the information themselves to make a quick buck. It’s just one other reason to not use USB flash drives, or at least partitioning off data based on user roles within your organization.
Just because USB drives are pretty low-tech compared to more modern solutions does not mean that they are any less immune to security threats. In fact, infected USB flash drives can become vehicles for security threats to access networks. Consider the fact that these devices are used to transfer or copy files from one location to another. The more endpoints a flash drive connects to, the more likely it is to become infected. The possibility of these types of threats becoming problematic has been detailed in the past through tactics such as the BadUSB firmware hack, so they must be taken seriously.
Ultimately, it is much easier to secure a cloud-based data storage system and the devices used to access it, but you know what they say: old habits die hard. Do you still use a USB storage device, and if so, did you learn a thing or two about how to keep them secure? If you don’t want to worry about USB technology being used in such a controversial way, we recommend that you implement a cloud-based data storage system that eliminates the need to use physical hardware that could be corrupted or damaged in transit.
Do you routinely use USBs to transfer data from one place to another? If so, the knowledgeable professionals at ISC can help you move past antiquated hardware and provide the means to keep your data safe. Give our consultants a call today at 502.292.5097.