2006/02/17

Laptops, USB Flash Drives, and Security

Trusted Platform Module (TPM)

An article in InformationWeek on 15 Feb 2006 talks about new security measures for hard drives and USB flash drives. The article states that 1 in 10 laptops are stolen, and the new TPM encryption standard will improve the security of those stolen laptops.

Another mostly nice feature mentioned is that a "USB drive could be set to carry data between a person’s home and office machines, but not function when plugged into any other PC." This would decrease the chance of having your data stolen or copied if you lose your flash drive or external hard drive or have it stolen. The drawback is one might occasionally forget that a USB flash drive only works on specified machines, then try to run that flash drive on a non-authorized machine at a time when you desperately need to get the file from the flash drive.

Flash drives are convenient because they are so small. However, flash drives are also easy to lose because they are so small. The new TPM standard will provide great security for people who put business information on flash drives and only need it on a few specific computers.

Losing a laptop, flash drive, pda or some other portable computing device is almost certain to happen to you at some point. How do you make sure your data is secure and do you do regular backups of all your important data, including emails and bookmarks?

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