Up to 99 percent of computer users, welcome the addition of a USB port to their work desktop. USB transfer speeds and plug-and-play ease of use have shortened the amount of time that it takes to get the work done. Any reasonable person would conclude that employers would be the ones to derive the most satisfaction from this ubiquitous feature, but to employers, USB might as well mean “Unlimited Security Breach”.
Keeping It In-House
There’s a reason why many workstations are not equipped with CD or DVD drives and burners. And why large corporations use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for file sharing within the parameters of their own Intranet. In the eyes of Big Business, the USB port is no different than a hole in the side of a bank vault. All manner of files, data, corporate secrets up to and including the recipe for Coca-Cola are at risk if a computer has a USB port – and what computer doesn’t?
A Game of Cat and “Mouse”
No manager wants to think that his or her Board Member boss was suffering through sleepless nights over something like that, so they tend to go a little bit further than covering their USB ports with masking tape (although it has been tried). They also have to worry about viruses coming into their networks by way of an unsuspecting employee with an infected flash drive. It all begs the question: What’s a boss to do?
Some in the administrative strata have taken to changing the BIOS settings on computers and providing password protection (passwords can be changed and assigned daily, if those in charge really want to go that far). Others take a less hands-on approach and simply disable write access to the USB port, rendering them read-only. Their concern is understandable in this day and age, when intellectual property is as sought after by criminals and competitors as is one’s client list or car stereo.