9,000 USB sticks turn up at dry cleaners
A new survey has revealed that 9,000 USB sticks have been left at dry cleaners over the last year as forgetful workers hand them in with their dirty clothes.
The survey was released by data security vendor Credant Technologies and aimed to examine the frequency and ease with which mobile devices such as USB and memory sticks are lost or forgotten in more unusual locations.
A total of 500 dry cleaners were quizzed and they found on average two USB sticks during the course of a year. The survey says that these figures were then extrapolated amongst the number of dry cleaners, which is 4,500 according to the Textile Services Association.
The survey should serve as a reminder to businesses of the need to make sure data is secured before it is copied onto a moveable device, such as a USB stick.
Michael Callahan, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Credant Technologies, said: “We conducted this survey to show people how easy it is to lose data, even in their local laundrette and that none of us are infallible. If the data is sensitive or valuable then people should protect this information with encryption so no-one can access the data at any point – as it could easily end up in the wrong hands.”
One dry cleaner, based in the City of London, claimed to be receiving one USB stick every two weeks. Dry cleaners in the suburbs, on the commuter belt or based in city centres found the most USB devices, the survey said.
Credant Technologies carried out a similar survey in September 2008, which found that over 6,000 handheld devices such as laptops, iPods and memory sticks are left in London’s taxis every six months.