Figures from the recently published Information Security Breaches Survey, which is backed by the Department of Trade and highlighted the security risks for businesses associated with Smart phones, iPods and USB memory sticks.
The survey found that:
Just over half of companies surveyed revealed that they currently have no processes in place to secure data held on these devices
33% of firms tell staff not to use such devices but rarely do anything to change the configuration of PCs and laptops to stop people moving data around with USB sticks
Only 10% of those companies interviewed for the survey encrypt the confidential data stored on these portable devices.
Now security firms are developing ways to help firms control access to the confidential data held on the gadgets. They are also working on ways to stop the devices being used by viruses as a way to bypass other digital defences.
Dennis Szerszen, spokesman for security software firm Secure Wave, stated that the risk portable storage systems pose has been around since the emergence of the floppy disk. The main difference now is the amount of information that these devices can hold and the speed at which the data can be transferred.
Few companies were mandating use of USB sticks but their usefulness was leading many people to carry and use them, advised Mr Szerszen. As a result, many portable media devices now carried both private and business data.
Mr Szerszen stated that Secure Wave has signed a deal with flash memory firm Lexar so that certain potentially dangerous uses of the hardware are logged and flagged by its security software.
Different ways to manage and monitor USB flash devices so they stay secure were on show at the Information Security trade fair held at Olympia in London from 25-27 April.
Some security measures encrypt data put on removable drives such as flash memory sticks and others just keep an eye on what is being transferred back and forth.
Matt Fisher, said USB sticks could also become an attack vector for viruses and other malicious programs largely because they are swapped between many different computers.
An informal survey by them showed that 66% of people mislay USB sticks and that 60% of those devices have business information on them.
Mr Fisher said firms needed a way to manage the information being stored on these devices to ensure they keep copies of important data and to guard against it going missing by accident or malice.
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