IT Support - Flashdrive security

Virus infected memory stick costs council £500,000: How you can prevent this.

What actually happened?
A member of staff plugged a memory stick infected with the Cornficker virus into a computer. This spread through Ealing council’s network crippling internal communications including their phone system. The resulting costs of £500,000 was due to lost revenue and system repairs. Liberal Democrat councillor Gary Malcolm called for people to be sacked!

Here is some practical advice to prevent it happening to you.
Ealing Council has now introduced a new policy on removable devices such as memory sticks, which must now all be registered with the council and encrypted. We recommend that you do likewise. It is also worth re-visiting your IT security communication to employees and ensuring employees are completely clear on their responsibilities.

Now, whilst memory sticks are now inexpensive and can hold large amounts of data there are some inherent risks in using them. Just like any disc storage device they can fail. It is also very easy for them to fall into the wrong hands. Over the last couple of years there have been some high profile cases where confidential data from laptops and memory sticks has been mislaid.

So, instead of using memory sticks we recommend you negate the need to use them in the first place. The usual reason for someone to use a memory stick is because they work from home occasionally or are frequently away on business. The most efficient and secure option is to enable employees to have remote access to your company network. The advent of mobile broadband and wi-fi in recent years means this option is now easier and more affordable than before.

If implemented professionally with security policies and procedures in place this could mean you can prevent your business from enduring an Ealing style meltdown.

BITS can advise you on all the points raised above.

You can easily contact us by email, via our enquiry form or simply call us on 01373 888 333. Posted by Lee Edge on 13/10/2009

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