Thumb drives a major security threat

Jul 29th, 2013 / Category: Managed File Transfer

Organizations in every industry are becoming increasingly security-conscious as they strive to better leverage tremendous stores of sensitive data. Without adequate protection, corporate information, including big data and clients' records, can become a significant liability. Those firms that experience data breaches can suffer major losses, both directly and indirectly, as well as struggle to regain a trustworthy reputation.

While some of the data threats companies face are fairly apparent, others are more subtle. An example of the latter category, as Business Insider recently reported, is the simple use of thumb drives. These devices have the potential to devastate companies, leading many industry experts to advocate software solutions such as secure file sharing tools.

Thumb drive insecurity
The news source noted that two recent events have demonstrated the potential damage that can be wrought by thumb drives. First, Iranian nuclear facilities were devastated when thumb drives uploaded destructive files onto their networks. Secondly, Edward Snowden allegedly smuggled out a tremendous load of NSA data by downloading this information onto a thumb drive.

The problem is not limited to spies and the government. On the contrary, regular businesses must also account for this threat. A recent AhnLab study found that 78 percent of IT security professionals admitted to having used randomly found USB flash drives on their companies' computers. It is very possible for such actions to upload viruses that can lead to the loss, destruction or exposure of corporate data.

The obvious solution is to forbid employees from using thumb drives. However, because thumb drives are so convenient, the organization must supply a reasonable alternative, or else workers will simply ignore this rule. That is why businesses should consider deploying secure file sharing solutions. Easy to use, these tools can provide the same service as thumb drives, but with far less risk.