Security specialist Pointsec Mobile Technologies has released an encryption tool that secures corporate data on removable media such as USB Flash drives, PC cards and floppy disks, labelled security risks by analyst Gartner last week.
The company said its tool allows IT security policies to be applied to personal storage devices, such as iPods.
Pointsec Media Encryption is centrally managed by an administrator and operates transparently so that security policy can be enforced across a company without user intervention.
UK firm Reflex Magnetics already ships a product, Disknet Pro, that offers similar features.
Devices such as USB Flash drives allow staff to back up files and transfer data between systems, but pose risks as they can be easily stolen or lost.
Ruggero Contu, client research consultant at analyst Gartner, warned that the use of unauthorised portable storage devices poses several dangers, including the possibility of malicious code being introduced to corporate networks.
High data capacity and transfer rates mean that USB or FireWire devices can also download valuable corporate information which can be leaked to the outside world, the analyst said.
The latest Flash media devices can hold a gigabyte or more and can be carried around unobtrusively.
"We believe it is a mistake to simply dismiss new removable media just because they can be used for illicit purposes. They have obvious practical advantages," said Pointsec chief executive Peter Larsson.
With Pointsec Media Encryption, encrypted files can be sent via email as self-extracting archives, allowing staff to send documents to authorised recipients, such as customers, who do not have Pointsec tools on their systems.
Administrators can set which files, file types and folders are excluded from encryption. The tool also integrates with Pointsec for PC, which secures data on Windows hard drives, so that a single sign-on logs staff into both security products.
A 100-user starter pack of Pointsec Media Encryption costs £55 per user. Existing Pointsec customers get a discount.
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