USB Flash Drives: Useful Tool or Security Threat

I wrote the following for a company newsletter. Based on a recent discussion over at I thought I’d go into the archives, sanitize references to my company and go with a retro article today.
Imagine the ability to carry up to 1 GB of data with you from home to work in a device that is no bigger than a highlighter. USB Flash drives are pocket sized portable storage devices that can be accessed via any PC with a USB port. They offer more storage than a floppy, are more portable than ZIP drives, and are easier to use than CD-RW disks.
With the ease of use and compatibility found in these drives it is easy to imagine that employees will purchase and use these devices. With that in mind, consider the following points to ensure a safe computing environment on your company network.
1. Watch out for viruses!
When you transfer files between one location and your company make certain to scan the files with an up-to-date virus scanner. (This is also true when transferring files using floppy disk, CD-Rs and ZIP/JAZZ drives.)
2. Protect your data
Most USB flash cards do not contain any protection if your flash card is stolen or lost. More expensive models can be protected by a PIN or even a thumbprint. If you have a model without any data protection, don’t store any information on there you can’t afford to lose. Client data, social security numbers, and credit card numbers should never be stored on these device.
3. Include return information
Include a text file on the flash drive with your contact information so it can be returned if it is misplaced.
USB Flash drives are very convenient. When using the latest tech gadgets, it is important to be aware of security concerns. By doing these simple steps you can safeguard your own data and that of your company.