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USB drives become so popular that you can find them in all walks of life. Businesses are no exception. A study shows that the most majority of users know the importance of using encrypted USB drive in order to ensure USB drive data security. Yet, more than half of the employees are actually using the non-encrypted USB drives.

Data protection is always correct and necessary across industries. However, it is more and more difficult to ensure USB flash drive security with the development of computer and internet technology. That’s why you are advised to encrypt USB drive that contains important data.

USB drive security

Apricorn, the manufacturer of 256-bit AES XTS hardware-encrypted USB data storage devices, has conducted a study on USB data protection: “The State of USB Data Protection 2019: Employee Spotlight.” The survey report shows though many employees noticed the risks associated with USB security, they are not following the best practices.

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A Survey Focusing on USB Flash Drive Security

Apricorn selected 300 IT employees from different industries, such as legal, retail, finance, education, healthcare, government, manufacturing, and power & energy to study their awareness of pen drive security and the actual use of USB drive at work.

The result shows:

  • 91 percent of the respondents think encrypted USB drives are necessary; they are indeed aware of the USB flash drive security risk. Yet, it turns out that 58 percent of the respondents said they often use non-encrypted USB drives.
  • 64 percent of the organizations claimed that the use of USB devices is acceptable, yet the problem is 64 percent of the organizations said their employees often use USB drives without getting permission first.
  • In another example of employees giving up the best practices and policies, about half of the employees have lost a USB drive, but they didn’t tell the appropriate authorities about the incident.

The State of USB Data Protection 2019

Previously, Apricorn has conducted a USB data protection survey. By comparing the result of this survey to the previous one, you can find the following things:

  • The percentage of employees who use USB drives without permission is higher than before.
  • The percentage of employees who don’t tell appropriate authorities the USB drive loss incident is also increasing.
  • The percentage of employees who use non-encrypted USB drives and put organizations in danger unintentionally is slightly higher than before.

Since there are more and more data breaches cases, it's necessary for companies to monitor the data flowing into, out of, and across the organization.

  • 87% of the respondents confirmed that the USB drives are used widely in their organizations. Yet, 68 % of the respondents said employee’s choice was the primary reason for using USB drives at work.
  • 91% of the respondents consider USB device encryption as mandatory. However, 58% of respondents said they have been using non-encrypted USB drives at work.

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The exciting news is: the percentage of the number of organizations who are using non-encrypted USB devices has been decreased by 24% (dropping from 82 percent in 2017 to 58 percent in 2018). It is estimated by Ponemon Institute that the average total cost of a data breach has been increased by 6% (rising to $3.86 million per breach).

Therefore, the percentage dropping is a good trend and it will be crucial if the percentage continues to drop in the future.

Vice President’s Words

Organizations need to be more vigilant than ever about data protection, and this isn’t simply due to the increased sophistication of attackers, but also the significant unintended risk organizations are exposed to by their employees.- said Mike McCandless, who’s the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Apricorn.
Our report confirms that while employees have good intentions for USB device security, their employers need to implement strict security policies to defend against the shortcuts employees will invariably take. And beyond policies and procedures, organizations would be wise to reinforce that their employees use encrypted USB drives that require a unique PIN.- said also Mike McCandless
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