17,000 USB sticks sent to UK dry-cleaners in 2010

More than 17,000 USB sticks were left in clothes left to be dry cleaned in the UK in 2010, a survey by data protection firm Credent Technologies has found.

This is a 400% increase from 2009, and the result IT consumerisation, which has seen a huge uptick in the amount of data people can store on personal devices, says Sean Glynn, vice president of marketing at Credant.

But inadvertently sending sensitive or proprietary data to the dry-cleaners could very easily result in sending the whole business to the cleaners if the data falls into the wrong hands.

The concern is that the information these devices contain could be devastating if disclosed, over and beyond potential ICO penalties of up to £500,000 for serious data breaches, he says.

“Organizations need to plan for this when developing their security strategies,” says Glynn.

Downtime wonders if promises to search all garments for USB devices before sending them to the cleaners will ever appear in undertakings signed by new employees at businesses keen to protect against embarrassing data breaches.