USB flash drives have become as common as CD burners in most organisations. However, these drives can also be a tremendous source of data leakage from an organisation's network.
Users often store the information they need, such as passwords or other corporate secrets, on these USB flash devices. Although confidential data can as well be easily transferred to 3.5-inch floppy disks, writeable CDs, or any other removable media allowed on the network, it is the size of USB devices that pose such a great risk.
Because these devices are so small, they're an easy target for thieves, and they're also easier for users to lose or misplace. And that means that vital secrets can disappear before you know it.
While it may be tempting to ban the use of these devices altogether, that really isn't necessary. These common devices are extremely useful, and it's perfectly fine to allow them on your network. However, to better protect corporate data, you have to take steps to add a layer of security to go with the information these handy devices can store.
For example, you can configure Windows Encrypting File System (EFS) to encrypt user data on the fly. This works extremely well with laptops that travel outside of your company walls.