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article imageWorkers banned from using memory sticks

By Tim Sandle     May 10, 2018 in Business
In an attempt to tackle security potential security threats, IBM has banned its employees from using portable data capture devices like USB sticks, SD cards and flash drives.
News about IBM's decision to clamp down on the use of data capture devices by its employees has been reported by The Register. The reasons given by the technology firm relate to the possibility of "financial and reputational" damage if staff were to lose or misuse the devices in any way.
Shamla Naidoo, who is the IBM global chief Information security officer, has stated that IBM “is expanding the practice of prohibiting data transfer to all removable portable storage devices (eg: USB, SD card, flash drive).”
He adds that the decision has been taken due to: “the possible financial and reputational damage from misplaced, lost or misused removable portable storage devices must be minimized.”
A SanDisk USB stick
A SanDisk USB stick
The website 'Make Use Of' lists five ways that a memory stick poses a security risk. These are:
1. It can easily be lost.
2. Freely given away sticks often come loaded with malware.
3. People who lend memory sticks to friends can pass on unauthorized data.
4. May Trojans found on memory sticks can easily by-pass security systems on PCs.
5. Many sticks are difficult to tell apart; it is easy to pick up the wrong stick in error.
Instead of flash memory devices, IBM staff will be required to move data only through the company's internal network. At the same time, IBM recognizes that introducing the ban will temporarily hit business efficiency, with The Register noting that IBM is fully aware that the move could be "disruptive" to operations.
The move has also been reported on by the BBC, who questioned IBM about the new policy. In response an IBM spokeswoman is quoted as saying: "We regularly review and enhance our security standards and practices to protect both IBM and our clients in an increasingly complex threat environment."
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