RealTime IT News

Taking Aim At USBs in The Security Mix

Mobile solutions provider Fiberlink Communications is partnering with endpoint security developer SecureWave to deal with workers who may have more than an ace up their sleeve when it comes to swiping confidential corporate data.

The companies will combine their technologies to prove a way for companies to manage and block the use of small USB storage and other removable devices within an office or building. Under terms of the deal, Fiberlink will integrate SecureWave's Sanctuary Suite software into its Extend360 Platform and Dynamic Network Architecture (DNA) mobile protection software.

Fiberlink's software is designed to control and manage access to e-mail, corporate data and other network-based resources. SecureWave's technology can be used to actually lock-out the use of specific components, such as USB storage devices.

Top secret corporate information can be carried on tiny, portable flash drives that store up to 2 gigabytes of data and tuck away in a shirt pocket, said Dennis Szerszen, vice president of marketing and business development of SecureWave. He said companies focus their security efforts on network-based threats and fail to control the use of endpoint devices.

They'd be wise to pay attention. Ultra-tiny USB storage devices make it easy for someone to plug into a laptop or desktop PC and quickly lift gigabytes of information. The devices are easily hidden and can also be used to deliberately or inadvertently transfer viruses and bring a network to its knees.

Stopping the flow of these small data grabbers will be tough, with an estimated 2.8B of them bouncing around by 2010, according to market researcher In-Stat. There are also a lot more people who may be using USB storage devices and mobile systems in the workforce.

More than 66 percent of workers worldwide now use mobile and wireless computers, reports the Gartner Group. Over 60 million people also mix telecommuting and remote activities with the daily work grind, the researcher stated.

"The definition of a mobile worker is someone who travels, but that definition is being challenged lately and now refers to anybody who has laptop device and can leave the corporate office," Jim Somers, Fiberlink's vice president of marketing, told Internetnews.com.

Fiberlink executives are hoping that its rule-based access control and management tools and SecureWave's ability to restrict and lock out the use of mobile storage devices will be a double-whammy against data theft and the possibility of data inadvertently walking out the door in an employee's pocket.

"Companies are usually more focused on security and policy enforcements, with most solutions installed directly on the LAN," added Skip Taylor, Fiberlink vice president of product marketing. "These solutions are focused off the LAN."

Earlier this month, Fiberlink announced an enhanced managed services partnership with Internet Security Systems (ISS). The agreement calls for integrating ISS' Proventia Desktop Threat Protection Software into Fiberlink's Extend360 and DNA software. The union adds Proventia's pre-emptive protection to the Fiberlink management and control suite.