Should Your Company Have a USB Drive Policy?
As security concerns grow with the evolution of technology, USB drives have remained a staple for individuals and businesses alike. They are functional, portable, easy to use, and can store plenty of important data. But certain precautions must be taken to secure that data, which is why as a business owner, you should be asking yourself whether or not your company should have a USB drive policy.
USB drives are incredibly convenient but they require the proper care and attention to detail. So with that in mind, the answer to that looming question is a resounding YES! Any company that uses a USB drive should absolutely consider a strict policy to which every employee is bound. An experienced IT services company can assist you in drafting something like this. As long as everyone complies with safety protocols to protect corporate data, the use of portable drives can be an incredible asset.
Know the Risks of Using USB Drives
Understanding the risks is the first step in developing a USB policy:
Malware – An unprotected USB drive can easily become infected with unwelcome software which can then infect any device that the drive connects with.
Data Loss – If a USB drive is misplaced, you could potentially lose all that data if it’s not backed up on another system. What’s worse is when a drive is stolen and the sensitive data becomes available to criminals or competitors, leaving your company exposed.
Booting Through a USB Drive – Someone who picks up a USB drive can set their computer settings to boot through the drive itself, giving them access to everything on it, including the operating system or applications.
Setting Policies to Protect USB Drive Data
By knowing the risks involved in dealing with USB drives, you can set appropriate company policies to mitigate those risks. While it’s impossible to ensure complete protection against external drive mishaps, the right policies can offer sensible protection.
- Encryption – Be certain that your USB drive encrypts all the data as it is stored on the device to help limit unauthorized access.
- Check USB devices frequently through audit trials to ensure the accuracy of the data.
- Extend notices to your employees to ensure external drives are only used on regulated systems.
- Create a centrally managed database for portable devices to keep track of all usage both inside and outside the network.
- Password protect all flash drives to counter unauthorized access to confidential material.
- For added protection, a biometric software package can also be implemented to identify the user each time the USB flash drive is used.
- Include a chain on the device to reduce the risk of loss when outside of the office.
The use of USB flash drives will only become more prevalent as technologies advance. In one form or another, we will continue to have external drives to help with business. That’s why it’s so important to have a company policy on the use of USB flash drives. To learn more about how you can protect your data and your portable storage devices, speak to the professionals at Longhurst Consulting.