Security supplier Reflex Magnetics has found widespread complacency about the security hazards posed by employees using USB storage drives such as iPods.
It polled 100 UK IT managers across a cross-section of large companies and 60% admitted that they took no steps to monitor the use of these devices on their networks. Also, 84% said they had no policies to stop employees using removable media of any type.
Of those questioned, 82% admitted that removable and portable storage represented a threat to their networks, which suggests that the issue is still seen as a lower priority when measured against other security worries.
Analyst firm Gartner has called attention to the problem in recent weeks, even suggesting that devices like Apple’s iPod music player should be banned by companies that want to protect themselves against data theft and virus incursion on their networks. This caused a media frenzy that peaked when the UK military denied that it had banned iPods.
The Reflex Magnetics survey is based on more solid data than Gartner's, even if the company's motive is to publicise its own product for centrally managing USB and other storage devices, Disknet Pro.
That employees could walk out of companies with large amounts of data on a tiny device - drives of 2Gbytes are now on the market - should be of major concern to IT managers, according to Reflex Magnetics managing director Andy Campbell.
"It’s always a worry when a sales person moves on. Now they have the capability to take a whole database," he said.
John E Dunn writes for Techworld.com