USB Data Security: How to Protect Data on USB Drives?

USB Data Security: Save Your Important Documents

I lost a USB drive recently, which had some private data. Even though I found the USB, I now fear for the security of my data. It could have ended in wrong hands. How can I protect personal data if I lose my USB drive?

Most cases of data and information misuse are due to lost USB drives and laptops. Organizations often use an extra layer of security for saving data stored on PCs. But, how can you achieve USB data security?

Due to their small size, USB drives are more prone to getting lost or stolen than any other media devices. Here are some tips for avoiding USB data and information misuse.

USB Data Security

Consider the example:

You are on a business trip to some other city or country. After a few meetings and work tasks, you thought of taking a break. While sipping your latte in a nearby coffee shop, you took out your pen drive to work for a bit. You had moved some important data to this USB for easy access during the business trip.

But, while leaving the coffee shop you forgot the USB device on the table. The drive had essential business data which could be misused.

This is certainly not a USB drive you can do without. 

Trying to avoid using USB drives is not possible. But, it is possible to protect the data stored on it.

1. Encrypt and Store

The first step for saving your data is to encrypt it before moving it to a USB drive.

It is easy to restore even deleted data with some data recovery software. But, a USB drive with encrypted data will need a decryption key for reading information. And with efficient authentication, decoding data without the decryption key is hard.

Note: Data encryption is the easiest option for saving your data stored on USB. But, you still need to install data encryption software on all devices that use this USB. It will help you decrypt and decode what is in the USB.

2. Inbuilt Encryption

Many drives come with an inbuilt USB encryption system. This ensures data safety at all times. With the right software, you can forget encrypting data at times. But, with an inbuilt encryption system, the USB protects saved files and data.

However, although these USB drives may save your data, they can’t stop malware attacks. This can affect your data or keep you from accessing the files stored on the drive.

Tip: An infected USB drive will spread malware to every PC and laptop which will use the data. To prevent this, install a good quality anti-virus. This will protect your PCs and USB drives.

3. Password Protected Documents

When you don’t have time to encrypt your data on USB, you can password-protect the document.

For instance, to store word documents on your USB drive, you can set a password for your word file.

Go to the Files>Info>Protect Document and expand Protect Document. Select Encrypt with Password. Now, enter your password, click OK, and move the data to a USB device.

For PDF files, you can use an external software or Adobe Acrobat to set a password.

4. Encrypting Hardware

Encrypting hardware by using software may not always be possible for organizations or individuals. Some prefer using encrypted hardware. These USB drives come with fingerprint scanners or a keypad for real-time encryption. If the scanned fingerprint or keypad code is a match, the USB will decrypt data in real time.

Note: Always buy a good brand’s hardware encryption USB because it is easier to make fake designs. Some USB drives may offer an encoding keypad but the internal coding may not encrypt your data.

Is Software Encrypting The Best Option?

Many experts don’t prefer encrypting important data by using the software. You may not know if the encryption is strong enough. Also, hackers can find ways to decode this data via wrong means.

These organizations and individuals can use hardware encryption.

Here are some key points to remember for USB data security

  • Don’t lose the hardware decryption key, as you will lose access to the data.
  • Always take backup of the data and information stored in hardware encrypted USB.
  • Keep your USB and decryption key separately when travelling or in the office.
  • If you are unable to read USB data, consult a data recovery specialist. Don’t tamper with the drive as it can cause lasting damage.

Keep Your Data Protected

USB drive encryption always comes with the risk of forgetting your password. Due to unique programming, some hardware-encrypted drives lock after a few wrong attempts. In this case, avoid trying the wrong password more than two times as it can lock your drive.  Always, keep USB Data Security in mind and follow the above mentioned tips to keep your data safe.

If your data is inaccessible, contact Stellar Data Recovery for professional help.

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