… and all other removable media.

IBM has announced to its workers that they are no longer allowed to use USB sticks or any other form of portable data, including DVDs, SD cards, and even data stored on their phones. The ban will affect employees at every IBM facility across the globe.

Knowledge of the USB ban originally came by way of a leaked memo written and distributed to IBM workers by the Chief Information Security Officer Shamla Naidoo. 

The original IBM Personal Computer from 1981. IBM employees will no longer be allowed to use flash drives or 5.25 inch floppy disks going forward.

Big risks

Naidoo listed “possible financial and reputational damage from misplaced, lost or misused removable portable storage devices” as the primary reason for the ban, but also wrote that essentially, in 2018, there was no need to use Flash drives to transfer or store information anymore. “Using the desktop plug-ins, you can easily share content between your Windows or Mac desktop and IBM Connections and Connections Cloud… You can also use sync so that you always have the latest copy of a file, whether you are opening it from your desktop, from a Connections server, or rom Connections Cloud.”

Join the line

The move isn’t a new thing for IBM, however. Certain sections of the company have had a portable storage embargo in place several years. The ban will roll out throughout the entire company over the coming weeks.

GDPR

The reason for the company wide ban are probably self-evident, but it is perhaps relevant that the news comes just weeks before strict regulations in the EU concerning the use and storage of data come into effect. As of May 25th, 2018, the EU can and will levy heavy fines against any organization that do not do enough to protect sensitive data and information.

BIG breaches

There have been a spate of worldwide scandals involving the hacking, theft and loss of data among IT companies in recent years, including AshleyMadison.com, Uber, Facebook, Equifax, Yahoo, Apple, and even IBM, just to name a few.

Exhibit A

In 2013, for instance, a former IBM employee leaked hundreds of pages of information revealing confidential information about IBM’s cloud computing technology. And just in January of this year, an unknown source leaked what seemed to be part of a Powerpoint presentation revealing that IBM was considering cutting 10,000 staff roles.

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