Companies unprepared for USB security challenge

11 Jun 2007

Three quarters of companies have no security in place to prevent employees taking confidential information with them when they leave a job, new research has revealed.

Check Point Software Technologies surveyed 200 senior IT personnel in the UK and found that 74pc of companies had a policy specifically stating that employees are not allowed take company information out of the office. Despite this, 85pc of employees admitted they could easily download competitive information and take it to their next job.

USB sticks have become the preferred way to transport data out of the office; 33pc store work data on their USB stick versus 14pc who use a laptop.

Martin Allen, spokesman for Check Point, said: “USB sticks are now more popular than ever, with everyone from children up to the CEO now travelling around with data on their USB sticks. Many can now carry 16 gigabytes around with them in their pockets which compares with 640 reams of paper in your pocket. At this estimation it’s not surprising they can become a serious security risk.

“Companies spend millions on their security and just forget about the fact that millions of pounds’ worth of valuable data is ‘going walk about’ on people’s key rings and a great deal are very happy to download information to take with them to their next job. Without being too draconian our advice is to lock down computers with vital information and make sure you centrally control USB sticks by supplying them to your staff with mandatory encryption in place. That way they can freely use them keeping the data safe at all times.”

By Niall Byrne