Recent articles highlighting the danger thumb drives (i.e. flash drives, key drives, usb drives) can cause in high-secure government facilities and in the corporate world. The greatest benefit and threat of a thumb drive is their portability.

Here are a few security tips to help secure the use of a thumb drive:

Keep an eye on it.

Don’t be careless with thumb drives. Don’t leave them lying around (especially still in the machine). It may be a little nerdy, but around it around you neck isn’t a bad idea.

Look out for viruses

Be careful when you connect your thumb drive to shared computers ? viruses could be floating about. An anti-virus program should scan the thumb drive when it connects to the machine. Also, if you don’t know where the thumb drive has been, don’t use it!

Encrypt your data

If your thumb drive falls into the wrong hands, your data will be there for everyone to see. You need to protect your files. Think about encrypting your data. Some thumb drives already have encryption features with it. You may have to purchase encryption software yourself. There is also a free, open source disk encryption software called TrueCrypt.

The hardest part of having encryption software ? actually getting in the habit of using it!

Backing up your data

It’s great to have all your data protected ? however, encrypted data can be lost as easily as unprotected. So back it up?and protect that as well! It’s never ending.

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.