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Portable storage options?

  • If your nonprofit is looking for a way to back up and transfer data, you may want to consider portable storage devices, which can be lightweight, mobile, and affordable. In TechSoup's article Portable Storage Options for Nonprofits, Agam Shah describes what's out there, what it costs, and what you should look for in a portable storage device.

    Is portable storage for your nonprofit? Share your thoughts here.
    senior editor, TechSoup
  • One other portable storage option is also available and that is standard flashcards typically used in cameras with an inexpensive card reader connected to the USB port of the computer if the computer doesn't have a built in reader.
  • The portable media craze is a double edged sword. As convenient as the portability is, there is also a huge security risk as your organization's confidential data goes strolling out the door with any number of employees every night at five o' clock.

    The vast majority of the time, the employee has the best of intentions with the data and it's use. It is most often used to get some additional work done at home in time for an upcoming deadline. But is the security risk worth the tradeoff of convenience?

    As a network administrator, I have every reason to believe that the security on my network is up to par with industry standards. It is my job to make it so. I do not have that same confidence in each of my user's home systems.

    Once the work related data on the drive is copied to a home system, I have no idea how long it will stay there. If the home user suffers a data loss over the network, I don't know where our organization's data will wind up. And, once that portable drive travels back from a home system to our work system, there is the risk of infection of the work computer.

    This has led us to install software blocks on the majority of the computers at work. When a flash drive is detected, it blocks the copy of data to the drive.

    Does your organization have a policy in place for portable media?

    Tim Claremont
    Systems Administrator
    Rochester, NY

  • Another concern I have is that portable drive slipping out of the pocket in the parking lot when the car keys are pulled out and the drive lost.

    What are you using to detect a portable drive and deny data copying?

  • Here is the tutorial that I used:

    Under Vista:

    1. Open Notepad and copy the following

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Explorer\ Advanced] “EncryptionContextMenu”=dword:00000001

    2. Save the file as USBNoWrite_Vista.reg

    3. If you double click the file(and using Vista you will see the UAC prompt. Click Continue) click Yes to the confirmation box that appears.

    4. Restart the computer for this setting to take affect

    Now, the next time someone tries to send files to a USB drive, they will see a message saying

    ” The Disk is write-proteced.

    Remove the write-protection or use another disk

    Note: System Administrators can also configure this setting to use Group Policy. So block of all USB writing permission to say a group of employees.

    NOTE: Remove the spaces that I added to the HKEY statement above. I needed to add them in order to avoid the URL assumption made by the bulletin board software.

    Here is a tutorial for XP SP 2:

    Disabling USB Drives

    Tim Claremont
    Systems Administrator
    Rochester, NY