Using Flash Drives? Encrypt Them

Flash drives are becoming an increasingly popular means for transferring files from one computer to another – especially now that they are capable of storing up to a whopping 256 GB. These handy devices are easy to tote because of their small physical size and are a no-brainer to use since they pop right in and out of a USB port. So, it’s no surprise that employees may use flash drives to transfer work from the office to home. While this may initially sound like a run-of-the-mill activity, think about the ramifications of taking sensitive company data out of the building.

A variety of methods have been used to prevent employees from using flash drives due to the security risk it poses. While establishing policies for using removable data is good practice, it isn’t necessarily effective, and it is virtually impossible to monitor if and how flash drives have been used. This has spurred some businesses to physically disable the USB ports on its computers by calking ports or using software to disable them. This certainly works, but it is possible to eliminate the security risk without damaging any equipment or putting restrictions on employees simply by encrypting the data on drives.

There are two main ways to encrypt flash drives in order to prevent prying eyes from viewing your important business information. The first is to use drives that are outfitted with encryption service. As such, there is no worry about training your staff how to encrypt files or a question on whether it’s being done at all. Encryption, however, can still be achieved on regular flash drives that may already be in employees’ possession with software-based encryption services, most of which are low-cost.

In either case, sensitive business data that is encrypted is secure without a lot of hassle. When your employees need to access such files from flash drives outside of the office, they will be prompted to enter a password or encryption key to view them.

If a flash drive falls into the wrong hands, the information stored is completely unreadable without the proper key or password. This prevents any data breach while still allowing employees the ease of using flash drives to relay their work between the home and office.