The use of portable storage devices such as USBs, PDAs, laptops, mobile phones and notebooks in business is still on the increase because the tech involved makes them cheap and can store large amounts of data despite their small size.
This means that employees can use these devices outside their workstations. While this increases flexibility, it also increases the risk of losing valuable business data because they can easily be lost or stolen. This problem is further complicated by the fact that devices like USBs are hard to track because they are small and constantly moving.
Another risk that USB storage devices pose is the infection of systems with malware and viruses.
How to secure data by encryption
There are two methods of encryption security that you can use on your drives: software and hardware encryption. In software encryption, data is secured by external software. Although such software is available on the market, they require constant updates to keep up with the sophisticated hacking knowledge.
The encryption process can be complex and may be vulnerable to user error which may create a data leak. With hardware encryption, the encryption happens inside the drive itself, and no one can gain access without the password. This means that only the user can decrypt the data using the correct password.
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Risks of using non-encrypted flash drives
When a portable device like a laptop or USB drive is lost or stolen, the resultant losses has nothing at all to do with the cost of replacement (2%) but rather the cost of the data breach (80%).
The costs associated with data breach include forensics and investigations, data breach, decreased production, loss of intellectual property, legal costs and loss of employee time during detection. Despite these losses, organizations are still reluctant to use encrypted flash drives which have been shown to reduce these costs tremendously.
How to use flash drives safely
The use of flash drives elicits fear in many organizations because of the risks associated with their use. In fact, many have banned them while others have come up with strict policies concerning their use. On the other side, much more are unaware of the risks that they present to the entire system.
The best thing that organizations or any business should do is to implement the use of encrypted flash drives only. This will ensure that in case they get lost or stolen, no one can get access to such data because it is encrypted.
It terms of transferring malware to the system; it is necessary to use a security measure like port management software to ensure that only permitted flash drives are used on the computers belonging to the organization.
Extra measures when using portable storage devices
When doing encryption of your data in portable devices, it is important to use compliant encryption tools and algorithms with high speed and strength. The passwords used should also be strong and different from other passwords that are used in the system.
Your password management tool should also be secure and not shared it with unauthorized users. All devices should be labeled and stored under lock when not in use.
If the data in your flash drives is not secured, it is important to do so by encrypting it using the available tech. Without it, you run a risk of a data breach which can cost your organization a lot of money. If you think that securing your data in this way is inconvenient as a result of having to update tools like your USB software, then you will not be able to handle the inconvenience that will be caused by a data breach.