It’s Cyber Security Awareness Month, so that means it’s time to make sure you have some systems in place that protect your business every month and day to come!
Remember those old, cheesy movies where the fate of the world depended on the contents of a floppy disc? This is a perfect example of at-risk removable media! However, the consequences *probably* aren’t as dire if you lose a USB drive of your own.
These days, removable media takes many forms and often has the capacity to hold huge amounts of data. If you own a business, the possible security breaches presented by removable media can be very serious. Read on to find out some tips for securing and keeping track of removable media.
What Is Removable Media?
Removable media is any sort of portable device that you can download and store information from a computer onto. Some examples of removable media are USB drives, SD cards, external hard drives, CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, and Bluetooth devices. Even iPods, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches that use personal cloud accounts can be used as removable media nowadays. As you can see, there are a LOT of removable media possibilities, and depending on your business, this can be a very real concern.
Keeping Necessary Removable Media Secure
With remote work becoming the new normal for many businesses, having protocols for securing removable media is vital. Employees may need to use USB drives, external hard drives, or other devices to complete their work from home. However, this can create a security risk.
Here are some ways to protect your data if your business needs to use removable media:
Making sure to encrypt any data stored on your removable media will make it harder to access. This helps protect your data if the device gets lost or stolen.
Protecting access to the contents of your removable media with strong passwords is another way to keep your data safe. Unless someone knows the password, they should have a difficult time trying to see what is stored.
Keep an Inventory
Having an inventory of active removable media will help you know when any of them go missing or are unaccounted for. Creating a logging sheet can be helpful for this purpose as well, so removable media can be stored when not in use, and securely checked out when needed.
Removable media should be scanned for malware if received from another place, or if it needs to leave the premises for any reason. A common form of social engineering uses planted USB drives to infect whole systems with malware when plugged in, so never blindly use any removable media you do not recognize.
Delete, Delete, Delete
Over time, data will become obsolete, so it’s important to delete it as needed. This way, old data won’t become compromised, and you will also save space on your removable media.
Data should not be copied onto a removable media device unless absolutely necessary. Avoid putting information onto it “just in case.” If you really need something, you can always upload it later instead of having it and not needing it.
If your business relies heavily on security, you may need to establish a no smartphone/smartwatch policy for your employees. This will help keep your workers from saving sensitive data to their personal devices. In addition to this, be sure to provide proper training of security protocols so there are no excuses for accidental breaches.
As you can see, keeping track of removable media is probably not as difficult as you originally thought. All it takes is planning, vigilance, and consistency, and you can have much more peace of mind about the security of your removable media devices.