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Why portable media can by an IT Security risk

Use of portable media is an IT Security risk

The Humble USB is something which can be handed out to you simply by walking around an events space or a city centre. It allows you to move data around feely using an open standard, USB 2.0 or USB 3.0. Some USBs even follow the USB-C standard which is akin to a lightning cable.

All of these can hold data, which means they can take sensitive data out of your IT Estate or bring malicious software (Malware) into it.

Protecting against this can be difficult as many operations depend on portable media in order to communicate to one-another, without a secure file-sharing platform or portal things tend to lean towards the use of encrypted-USB devices and on occasion ‘burning’ data onto CD/DVD discs.

In highly regulated industries such as the legal profession or financial services there must be a zero-tolerance approach to the use of such portable media. They are a risk when lost, which often happens, and there is no oversight on what data is being copied over to these systems without an integrated Data Loss Prevention solution.

There is a way to ensure you can still securely process portable media while ensuring they do not circulate within your IT Estate: MetaDefender Kiosk.

Opswat MetaDefender Kiosk

We have worked with customers to implement USB-restrictions through their antivirus, but invariably users request access to a USB at some point – and without DLP that data transfer becomes a grey-zone.

MetaDefender Kiosk simply cuts through all of this by removing the need for USBs.

The ability to process information securely is broadly seen as an agent of innovation, giving an organisation a competitive edge over others in their industry. Conversely, the lack of any capability to securely isolate, sanitize and transfer the data from portable media can result in databreaches or Malware attacks against the very same organization. Fundamentally it is about whether organisation take a zero-trust approach to computing.

When it comes to controlling the flow of information into and out of your organisation there is no beating Opswat’s proactive Data Loss Prevention platform, which MetaDefender Kiosk readily plugs into. It ensures that all methods of communication your organisation use have oversight, control and curation.

The use of portable media is a risky business, it is the case that ‘hardened’ systems will often disable or remove the ports on physical devices to prevent use of them. This can be impractical for institutions outside of government though.

For SMEs and non-governmental organisations that care about data integrity, and wish to avoid fines or losing good staff because of IT mishaps, it is critical to have a process in place to process portable media and one which is backed by proven technology.

A truly secure IT system presumes that everything can be insecure and actively works to mitigate against this, blind faith often results in loss of data and customers. 

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