USB devices a threat to data security

USB Pen DriveEven with the growth of cloud computing, many company employees are still using USB storage devices, indicating that there continue to be risks to data security due to employee behaviour.

Research by CoSoSys has shown that 74% of companies surveyed allow the continued use of USB devices, but just 35% ensure that their employees use devices that are encrypted. Industry experts have expressed surprise that 65% of workers are still using this type of storage even though most companies have some form of cloud storage available. The fact that USB storage devices are constantly being improved to allow for larger and larger files to be stored and to increase the upload and download speeds of the storage devices, means that they are vulnerable in terms of data security. Companies are exposed to the potential of data leakage and even loss.

The risks associated with using this type of storage device are highlighted by the fact that only 56% of employees have said that they have never lost one of these devices, while nearly half of all employees have lost one, or know a colleague that has. Of those employees that have lost a device, only 55% chose to report the loss to their company’s IT department. Almost a fifth of employees have admitted that they did not report the loss to any member of staff, and a similar number admitted that they had no idea about what to do when the loss occurred, meaning that a great deal of data could have been lost without bosses ever becoming aware of it.