Companies without appropriate controls to manage data on portable devices are leaving themselves "wide open" to security breaches and possible prosecution, a security expert told vnunet.com today.
Today's ultra-portable devices, such as smartphones and USB Flash memory sticks, can easily be stolen or lost, compromising sensitive data.
Security experts have been recommending for some time that encryption is used on such devices to protect the data.
Furthermore, U3 USB Flash memory sticks, which are able launch applications as soon as they are plugged into a PC, present new dangers to organisations.
The devices enable unauthorised applications and data to be introduced behind the firewall, and sensitive data to be copied to the sticks without leaving a trace.
Allowing users to connect unregistered devices to the network inside the firewall leaves companies vulnerable to everything from corporate espionage to the prosecution of directors for hosting inappropriate material on their network.
Andy Burton, chief executive at IT security specialist Centennial, said: "Ignorance is no longer a defence. You have to take control."
A recent spate of thefts from the US Department of Veteran Affairs, which resulted in the exposure of personal data of ex-military personnel, highlighted the dangers of sensitive data being compromised accidentally.
In another instance, military USB Flash memory sticks containing the personal data of currently serving personnel were found for sale in an Afghan bazaar.
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