USB encryption allows all the content stored within USB devices to be encoded so that it is not legible to unauthorized viewers. Only users with verified credentials can access the data and view it in its original form. There are many USB encryption software on the market, with BitLocker being one of the most reputable. As a best practice to safeguard your network, admins can use Device Control Plus to configure policies such that only BitLocker-encrypted USB devices can access the organizational data in order to view information or perform specific file actions.
USB devices are often utilized as a way to accumulate data from one source and transfer it to another. Such data can include business-critical files containing intellectual property, clientele information, etc., and cannot always be transferred through email or cloud services for fear of susceptibility to third-party users. Instead, USB portable storage devices can be kept on one's person until arrival at a safe location, such as a protected server within company barriers, where it can be directly deposited. However, even USBs can be lost or stolen, and during these times it's important that the data is not disclosed to malicious actors. USB content encryption is also a crucial step towards achieving compliance by meeting various privacy regulations such as GDPR.
Another reason to encrypt USBs lies in the common occurrence of USB devices found in random locations or near office premises, which are then picked up by unsuspecting employees and plugged in to computers. Many of these USBs contain malware and are also unencrypted, a telltale sign that they're unsafe. If unencrypted and dangerous devices like these are attempting to access network computers, they can be immediately stopped using Device Control Plus.
It's important for administrators to take precautions throughout the entire life cycle of data, from its creation, archival, and transference to its deletion/disposal. However, sometimes when USB devices are disposed of, they still contain important content or may not be reverted to their factory settings. For this reason, when the USB is discarded, the remaining contents can be vulnerable to a third-party who may attempt to view the contents out of curiosity or use it for their own personal purposes; this can lead to the inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information, or be salvaged by hackers to use for illicit activities. To avoid potential data leakage hazards such as these, it's important to have USB devices encrypted until the very end of the data life cycle.
One of the primary benefits of only allowing encrypted USB devices in a network is that these devices can't be accessed remotely, and require the physical presence of the authorized user in order to be permitted to view the contents using a computer. This offers enhanced security for organizations, especially when it comes to the consolidation and retrieval of confidential data.
If an employee finds a discarded USB device and attempts to access it via business computers, one of two things will happen. If the device is encrypted, it cannot be accessed without the right credentials; if the device is not encrypted, it will be automatically blacklisted thanks to Device Control Plus, which will discourage the employee from further utilizing the unauthorized device.
Another important advantage is that once data is extracted from the organization, having USB devices encrypted means the data will remain ciphered for all users except those permitted by the administrator, i.e., those with verified credentials.
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