Manage USB Sticks
We love to use USB sticks because they are convenient tools to temporarily store and transfer information. However, because they are small and easily lost or stolen, they also pose a huge risk for your confidential information to fall into the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, we rarely take the time to encrypt our data or use other security features on these drives. And if these drives go missing, it often goes unnoticed, which means the USB memory stick truly is a weak link in our information security.
So, how can you protect your data on these handy mini-drives? Here are some tips you can follow:
- Only use USB devices that require passwords with secure encrypted ‘zones'. You don't need a large or expensive drive. In fact, we recommend getting one with the least memory available so that it forces you to delete files regularly.
- Ensure that the USB device is visible, well-marked, and attached by a lanyard (or similar fob) to make it easy to locate and to prevent accidentally falling behind a desk, into the garbage, or into someone's bag or backpack.
- Develop a routine in your office where all USB devices (including Netcare or RSA remote access fobs) must be returned to a central place at the end of the workday. Provide a hook for each device to quickly identify if one is missing. A key box or a simple cardboard box might also be a good option.
- Implement a procedure, whenever possible, to ‘cut' or ‘move' files from the USB stick to the secure network rather than ‘copy and paste'. This forces you to limit the amount of information on the USB stick.
From the US Archives, Manage USB Sticks
- Create an inventory of all USB or other mobile data storage devices. Record the type of information stored on the device.
- Decide if you truly need each device.
- Test: How would you know if a device was lost? Would you know what information it contained?
- Review your organization's policies and procedures on securing data transfer and data storage.
- Consider updating your practices to ensure greater security (i.e. always encrypting your data on USB sticks).
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