McAfee Locks Down Removable Devices

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McAfee on Tuesday detailed its full-service approach and product line for enterprise customers looking to extend their data security beyond the datacenter to the removable devices that are too often stolen or misplaced by employees.

Beyond the nuts-and-bolts antivirus and antispyware applications, McAfee is urging existing and potential customers to combat this emerging data-loss epidemic by embracing the full spectrum of security solutions including device control, endpoint encryption, and encrypted USB drives.

According to the Ponemon Institute, a security research firm, more than 800,000 data-sensitive memory devices--including USB drives, hard drives, and laptops--are either lost or stolen each year.

"Employee-sourced storage devices, employer-provided USB sticks, and the management and enforcement of corporate device policy all need to be addressed in a cost-effective manner that doesn't sacrifice security," said IDC analyst Brian Burke. "A complete removable media solution requires behavior and content-aware controls, fully-secure managed devices for users with integrated anti-malware, and portable software encryption."

To assuage these serious security and compliance concerns, McAfee is now offering a trio of products for enterprise customers looking to alleviate the uncertainty and insecurity that accompany the proliferation of mobile phones, USB sticks, and laptops in the enterprise.

McAfee Device Control protects data by enabling companies to embed USB drives and laptops with the security rules and access controls used on desktop machines and servers, helping corporate IT monitor and control how users copy data onto these devices.

Its Endpoint Encryption applications employ encryption algorithms and extensive access control to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. Endpoint Encryption offers multiple layers of protection that address specific areas of risk--especially customer data, intellectual property, and legal and financial documents.

Finally, by encrypting the USB devices themselves, customers can be assured that any data copied and transported on the drives can only be read and accessed by authorized employees.

"Encryption is not enough," Gerhard Watzinger, general manager and executive vice president of McAfee's Data Protection Business Unit, said in a statement. "Companies must manage device usage in order to cut down on harmful data loss, but they must also enable safe usage of USB devices."

McAfee officials said all three product offerings are integrated through its ePolicy Orchestrator platform to ensure uniformity of security and compliance policies.

Just last month, the U.S. Army revealed that a hard drive was either stolen or lost from the Army Corp of Engineers' Southwestern Division in Dallas, exposing the names and Social Security numbers of more than 60,000 soldiers and civilian personnel.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com.