Security Practices for Using USB’s and Other Devices

Ever wondered how to properly use a USB device? We will guide you through the safest practices for using portable media devices.

Modern technology sees an over reliance on USBs and other portable devices. Such devices include flash drives, external hard drives or even SD cards. 

Many of us are still unaware of how to use said devices, often ignoring warning signs. The most common cause of a flash drive spreading malware is being plugged into a computer. It can happen when you are unaware of the source or the flash drive. However, we are here to teach you through this article how to tackle risks associated with portable devices and offer the best solutions. 

Image: Shutterstock

Examples of Portable Device Security Risk

Here are some examples of how a flash drive can cause damage to critical data or personal information: 

  • A lost or stolen flash drive that may end up in the wrong hands 
  • An employee leaving the company with a USB that contains essential information about the organization 
  • Giving mobile for repair and forgetting to remove the SD card
  • Keeping sensitive information on your external hard drive when modifying or repairing

Best Practices For Using Portable Devices

The Overhaul: Enforce an Organization-wide USB Drive Usage Policy

If you are an employer, it’s best to enforce rules and regulations about the use of portable devices. Securing important company information should be the priority. Therefore, it is best to develop or delegate a USB drive policy. Ensure that it defines precise use, places appropriate restrictions and guides employees about the usage of portable devices. The overhaul will streamline the security processes of your organization. This in turn, will make it easier for employees to protect data.

The Modern Way: Use Encryption To Protect Sensitive Data

Every application emphasizes data encryption nowadays. You could do the same for your portable devices. This will make any invasion of your device futile, as encrypted files in your flash drives or SD cards will be inaccessible. So, it is the easiest way to protect your data stored on a USB or any portable device. Nowadays, encryption is the first and foremost security measure that companies take to ensure privacy of data.

Image: Clever How-To’s

Rely On Software: Deploy All-round Antivirus Protection


Antivirus is often complex to use for regular users, but it is the most efficient way to protect portable devices. Always scan endpoints and USB drives for viruses. A screening process helps steer clear of any malware infections. Antivirus protection could be the answer to the stress-free use of portable devices, especially USBs. 

When In Doubt, Backup: Back up data from decommissioned USB drives

The best way to protect yourself against any viruses or malware is through backup. Analyze which files and folders are essential and immediately back them up on your USB drive. This will ensure information recovery from any data leaking instances. You can also stop any attempt of data leakage by deleting vulnerable files off the drive. 

Switch To Auditing: Conduct Asset Management Audits with IT team.

Auditing data can be suitable for high-end organizations. Employers can assign tasks to the IT team. They can manage and oversee the inventory of USB drives used in the organization. The employees can conduct further evaluations of the inventory. This is best done to ensure that employees follow the regulations set by the company. The problem with asset management is that only professionals would be able to manage such arduous tasks. 

Store and Dispose: Never Throw Away USB Devices

You might have thrown away your old USB or SD cards when purchasing new ones. This can be a fatal mistake as anyone can compromise your important data. Instead, bring it over to IT professionals before disposing. The key is to make it impossible for your data to fall into the wrong hands. Even if it does, the data on the USB would be unavailable, making it safe to throw away the device. 

Are portable devices safe to use for personal and business purposes?

Portable devices are safe to use with the proper precautions. You cannot stop using them out of fear of losing sensitive information. The importance of portable devices makes it impossible to get rid of them. The way from now on is to practice safety using the solutions mentioned above. You can never be too careful in the modern world. Incorporate encryption, keep an eye out for unknown sources, do regular backups, and you will be safe. 

We hope this article will help you understand safer ways to use portable media devices and keep you out of reach of hackers. Feel free to let us know if you have any queries down below in the comments section!


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