December 27 2010

Do you use USB Thumb Drives?

Posted on the 10:58 am under IT Security by Darren Boyer

USB Thumb Drives or USB Memory Sticks are everywhere.  The use of USB devices is on the rise. They are inexpensive and very convenient. They are amazing for making quick backups of important information and for sharing information from one person to another.

They also pose a serious risk to your business if thumb drives are lost or even stolen. Unless your thumb drive uses encryption, the data is open for anyone to see and use.

Your iPhone or BlackBerry is more than a phone!  Keep in mind, an iPod, iPhone, BlackBerry and other devices you plug into a computer and have storage built into the device have the potential to store your business information.

Microsoft makes it easy to keep your thumb drive information secure. The Windows Encrypting File System (EFS) provides an easy way for any computer user to encrypt the contents of their thumb drive. Keeping your business information safe and secure.

Windows Encrypting File System is a feature found in Windows 7.  EFS provides a computer user the ability to store information on a hard disk or thumb drive securely.  EFS Encryption is the strongest protection Windows provides and found in most versions of Windows 7. EFS is not fully supported on the Windows 7 Starter Edition, Windows 7 Home Basic and Windows 7 Home Premium (Read Microsoft article on how to use EFS at home below).

Encryption is as easy as selecting a check box in the file or folder properties.  If you ever change your mind about encryption, just uncheck the check box.

Read more from Microsoft on the Encrypting File System.

There is more to making sure your business data is secure than just checking a box in Windows.  Your business needs a removable media use policy and PCIT can help you.  It is a must in business today to make sure that all records are safe from unauthorized viewing.  Just look at WikiLeaks and the challenges that arose from unsecured information.

PCIT recommends that all Grande Prairie businesses start a USB thumb drive policy ensuring that all your employees understand the risks associated with using these portable storage devices.  If your business needs help with understand the risks with USB thumb drives give our team at PCIT a call.

To learn more about how to set up your thumb drive to use Windows EFS follow the steps that Experts Exchange’s Dan Rollins wrote on setting up encryption using Windows EFS and your thumb drive.  Read the article here – http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/A_1297-Encrypt-your-Thumb-Drive-at-Work-and-Use-it-at-Home-PART-ONE.html?cid=2632

Written by Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer is the founder and president of pcit.

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