Survey reveals organisations are failing to secure USB data

Published on
12/12/2019 01:51 PM

While enterprises reportedly acknowledge the importance of securing USB data, many are failing to do so. This is according to The State of USB Data Protection 2019 report, which also revealed that 9 out of 10 employees surveyed currently use USB devices at work.

USB devices in the enterprise

Overall, the report included responses from almost 300 IT employees. Notably, these respondents were from industries including education, finance, government, healthcare, legal, retail, manufacturing, and power and energy.

Almost all employees currently use USB devices at work, and 9 out of 10 respondents said that USB encryption should be a requirement. Despite this, 6 out of 10 respondents revealed that they use non-encrypted USB devices.

Employees are thus driving USB adoption, but are ultimately failing to follow best security practices. As data breaches become increasingly frequent and severe, "companies need to vigilantly monitor the data flowing into, out of, and across the organisation."

Secure USB data is integral

87% of respondents said that their organisation uses USB drives and 68% confirmed that employee choice was the primary reason. Despite driving adoption, 58% of respondents possessed non-encrypted USB drives.

It is evident that failing to secure USB data leaves organisational data exposed and unprotected. While the overwhelming majority of employees use USB drives, the report notes that "employees are increasingly taking security shortcuts."

In fact, 64% of respondents said that their employees use USB drives without obtaining "advance permission" to do so. This is a 7% increase from 2017, despite the fact that 64% of enterprises have a policy outlining the acceptable use of USB devices.

58% of employees also used non-encrypted USB drives such as those received “free” at conferences – compared to 56% in 2017. Meanwhile, 48% lost USB drives without notifying the appropriate authorities about the incident.

In the retail industry, lost USB drives represented a huge challenge for organisations. Indeed, 14% of respondents confirmed that over 75% of employees had lost a USB drive over the past year alone.

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