Kanguru's Secure USB Memory Stick

Customer Information On Private USB Sticks

The company SanDisk, manufacturer of USB flash drives, has sponsored a study that focuses on the storage of company data on private USB flash drives. One result of this study clearly shows that many IT professionals are not aware of the potential risks.

Seventy-seven percent of the employees participating in the study have used private USB sticks to store job-related data. However, IT professionals underestimated the number of private USB sticks used for job-related purposes at only 35 percent.

Most often, customer data found its way onto the electronic storage medium (25%) followed by financial information (17%) and then sensitive business plans (15%). But employee data, marketing plans, intellectual property and source code were also copied onto private flash drives, which can be taken out of the office often uncontrolled and unnoticed. Even though employees do not intend to cause damage, the risk of losing the device or having it fall into the wrong hands is substantial, and can cause great damage to the company.

Selective Approval of USB Devices

Costly Intrusion Detection System (IDS) implementations and extremely expensive firewall solutions that protect from incoming attacks are useless if users at their desks can easily copy sensitive information on flash memory, and in the worst case scenario give it to a competitor. To control such scenarios effectively, programs like Drive Lock, Device Lock or Tetraguard are helpful—with these solutions, one can deactivate USB ports on the computer, while selectively allowing approval for certain devices. Approved devices are identified by the serial number or the hardware ID and activated. In addition, approved USB flash drives should also be capable of the hardware encryption.

The American company Kanguru Solutions goes one step further. The USB flash drives in the Kanguru Defender series are not only equipped with hardware-based encryption, but also be erased over the Internet.

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  • The 2gb Jumpdrive Lightning from Lexar costs under $35 and also has AES256 hardware encryption and, if you really want it, "free" laser engraving (only if you buy direct from Lexar, at an additional $20 premium). It doesn't have any sort of auto-expire feature, but eh. Considering that Staples gives out FREE thumbdrives with spindles of DVD-Rs, its a bit of a jump to invest $50+ for one of them these days.
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  • As a contractor I simply ask my employer for a USB drive and they ordered me one the next day. When I was a full-time employee at a different employer, not only did I have to use my own USB drive if I wanted to copy files from my workstation to a computer in a separate lab, I couldn't get a hard drive bigger than 40gigs in my workstation.

    Simple point is, some companies actually care about making the jobs of their employees easier, and if that means supplying a $10 USB drive (that they can confiscate at any time) they make that effort. Most companies, however, spend as little as possible to aid their employees and don't understand why their productivety suffers. Their IT departments are also people who have simply undergone a multi-day training session, and are only there to look confused and package the broken components and ship them back to HP or Dell, they don't understand nor care that someone can copy sensitive information to a USB drive and walk out the door with it.

    While it's interesting to see a product like this, the prohibitive cost and complexity will never see a vast market segment. Too many large companies simply care more about the bottom line than anything else.
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  • Wouldn't the write-protect switch prevent you from deleting files over the Internet?
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  • In six months the IEEE 1667 enabled flash sticks will render this product moot- and obsolete.
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  • Check out SanDisk’s solutions at:http://www.sandisk.com/enterprise
    A really reliable and easy to use secure USB drive.
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