USB drive security best practices

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The best practices to securely store sensitive data on USB flash drives fall under two categories: preventive and reactive. Preventive measures require a thorough understanding of where and when USB drives are used in your organization, and their potential to be conduits for a cyberattack. Reactive strategies cover the other end of the spectrum and include methods for data recovery. Enforce both strategies to ensure USB drives are used safely in your organization.

6 security best practices for USB drives


Enforce an organization-wide USB drive usage policy

Develop and enforce a detailed USB drive usage policy that outlines appropriate use, restrictions, and incident response guidelines.


Conduct asset management audits

Manage an inventory of the USB flash drives used in your organization. Periodically evaluate the inventory to ensure users adhere to your organization's USB drive usage policy.


Use encryption to protect sensitive data

Encrypt sensitive information stored on USB drives. Should there be unauthorized use or loss of these drives, the encrypted files will be worthless to intruders.


Keep an eye on file copy and transfer actions

Detect and block unauthorized data transfers, and require authentication when users copy or transfer important files to USBs.


Back up data from decommissioned USB drives

If a USB drive is decommissioned, back up required files and folders to secure locations and wipe all data from the drive to prevent data leak incidents.


Deploy all-around antivirus protection

Scan endpoints periodically and USB flash drives every time they are used to steer clear of malware infections that originated outside your organization.

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