Businesses: it’s time to start encrypting your USB drives

Cost reports, client information, SWOT reports; when there hasn’t been enough time in the day to complete important tasks and you need to take some files home with you, the small but dependable USB drive is the perfect device for the job. They’re often the unsung hero of the business world and we see them in our data recovery lab almost every day. More-often-than-not, tough, these drives are unencrypted and this needs to change. Here’s why:

You’re risking a big, big fine

Yes, we know, we’ve used ‘big’ twice in the subheading but, trust us, we’re not engaging in melodrama or exaggeration: the fine for failing to encrypt data before taking it out of a business premise is absolutely gargantuan!

In an attempt to get businesses to take data protection more seriously, the European Union introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (more commonly called ‘GDPR’) in 2018. This new piece of legislation allows regulators to impose fines of up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s annual turnover – whichever happens to be higher.

So, look at it this way: if you fail to encrypt your USB drive, you could incur a fine that’ll literally put you out of business! Don’t think you won’t have to observe GDPR after the UK has left the EU, either. If you hold data relating to any EU citizen, these rules still apply.

It’s confidential information

Yes, the potential fine should be more than enough to convince a business’s decision makers to utilise encryption but, if it hasn’t, perhaps the possibility of harming one of your customers will.

A person’s individual data is highly valuable. Why? Because it can be used to steal their identity. In turn, a criminal can then take out credit cards, loans etc. in their victim’s name. Such crimes ruin thousands of lives every year – do you really want to contribute to this?

Plus, this is data that your company has gathered. We’re assuming there are people who work for that you wouldn’t want to see it, let alone a random member of the public.

You need to take digital security seriously

Ultimately, encrypting a USB drive you intend to take out of the office is something that should be second-nature to you; a small part of a much bigger effort.

Keeping data secure is something that far too few businesses take seriously – even though the fines mentioned previously can come about as a result of any kind of data breach.

Taking care of customers’ data is not voluntary, it’s mandatory.