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Users Go for Data Lockdown

IRVINE, Calif. -- Data Protection Summit -- Removable storage devices are turning firms' employees into data security time bombs, forcing many CIOs to rethink their security strategies, according to concerned IT managers here today.

USB drives, in particular, are a major source of anxiety. "The ordinary person is like a mini-data center -- he is walking around with a lot of data in his pocket," warned Kumar Mallavalli, chief strategy officer of InMage and co-founder of Brocade, during a keynote this morning. "The most critical issues that we face today [involve] endpoint security [for] laptops, PDAs, and removable media."

A spate of high-profile storage snafus involving removable media has clearly added to users' paranoia about lost data and negative publicity. (See VA Reports Massive Data Theft, Los Alamos Fallout Continues, NASA Goes to the Dark Side, and Houston, We've Got a Storage Problem.)

Another of today's keynoters, Kevin Collins, production systems analyst at Sony Computer Entertainment, agreed that USB drives are a security nightmare. "It's a pain," he said. "We have a lot of content [and] we dont want pre-releases of games coming out on the Web."

To avoid this happening, Sony has set up strict policies for how its data is handled. "We don't allow employees to bring in personal drives unless they speak to the IT department," said Collins. Sony has also implemented a rule whereby USB drives are not allowed out of its building, which is enforced by security staff.

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