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Should removable media be encrypted

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Should removable media be encrypted
Should removable media be encrypted
Should removable media be encrypted
Should removable media be encrypted
Should removable media be encrypted

Should removable media be encrypted?

We all use a variety of removable media in our daily lives, both for personal and professional use. 

We tend to store a lot of data on such storage media. But do we ever wonder if this is a safe mode of data storage? Let us understand what removable media actually is, how to keep them safe and is encrypting them the optimal security solution.

A removable storage media is a type of storage device that can be removed from the computer or a system while it is still in the running state. An example of such storage media would be a USB, a CD, DVD, or a blue ray disk. Removable media make it easy for a user to transfer data from one computer to another. It also gives the user the ability to store data externally. 

Tech Savvy people tend to use removable media to save storage space on their computers’ hard drive. 

Removable media is also used for data backup, as they have the ability to provide fast backup and recovery times. 

The main drawback of such a portable storage device is that it is expensive and raises some security concerns. It would be catastrophic if an unauthorised person gets access to a removable media that contains personal/confidential information. 

So how do we protect our data stored on removable media? The answer is very simple. The data stored in the removable media must be encrypted. This means that even if an unauthorised person gets access to the removable media, they won’t be able to read and comprehend the information.  Anyone storing sensitive information or data on the removable and easily transported media such as USB or CDs, must use industry accepted encryption standards to encrypt their data. 

There are many risks associated with storing data on a removable media. A prominent use case would be that a malicious user may gain unauthorised physical or logical access to a removable media, transfer data to their own system and perform other actions that can jeopardise the confidentiality of the data stored on the removable media. 

In order to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the data stored on the removable media, proper security measures must be followed. These measures include:

  1. Ensure that a backup copy of the data exists in another location. 
  2. Use industry compliant encryption software.
  3. Use AES [Advanced Encryption Standard] for the encryption algorithm
  4. After the data is copied to removable media (e.g. CD, external hard drives), Verify that the removable media works by following instructions to read the encrypted data.
  5. If needed, securely delete unencrypted data. 

To conclude, removable media must be encrypted, if sensitive data is stored in it.

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