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April 2010

Removable storage device endpoint security and control

Thumb drives, removable memory cards and smartphones often carry business data without IT permission, oversight or protection against loss or theft. Unfortunately, these handy little portable storage devices can jeopardize gigabytes of sensitive information. According to a study by Applied Research-West, three of four workers save corporate data on thumb drives, including customer records (25 percent), financials (17 percent), and business plans (15 percent). Yet, fewer than half of businesses routinely encrypt thumb drives. Fewer still consistently secure data copied onto today's rising tide of consumer smartphones. Some companies underestimate business risk posed by unencrypted portable storage. Others acknowledge the risk but, in lean economic times, lack the budget to battle it. But these excuses could leave employers in hot water if a regulated data breach occurs. "If [a portable device] carries customer or payment information, you have to protect it, no matter who owns it," says Mark Jordan, senior product manager at ...

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