Security

IBM bans all removable storage, for all staff, everywhere

Risk of ‘financial and reputational damage’ is too high, says CISO

By Simon Sharwood

206 SHARE

IBM has banned its staff from using removable storage devices.

In an advisory to employees, IBM global chief information security officer Shamla Naidoo said the company “is expanding the practice of prohibiting data transfer to all removable portable storage devices (eg: USB, SD card, flash drive).”

The advisory stated some pockets of IBM have had this policy for a while, but “over the next few weeks we are implementing this policy worldwide.”

Big Blue’s doing this because “the possible financial and reputational damage from misplaced, lost or misused removable portable storage devices must be minimised.”

IBMers are advised to use Big Blue’s preferred sync ‘n’ share service to move data around.

But the advisory also admitted that the move may be “disruptive for some.”

She’s not wrong: The Register understands that frontline IBM staff sometimes need to download patches so they can be installed on devices they manage for clients and that bootable USB drives are one means of installing those patches.

Indeed, IBM offers advice on how to install Linux on its own POWER 9 servers using a USB key. ®

UPDATE: Since publishing this story we've heard whispers that IBM has taken note of staff objections to the removable storage ban, especially when doing software updates, and is considering making a few exemptions.

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

206 Comments

More from The Register

Alexa, are you profiting from the illegal storage and analysis of kids' voice commands?

I'm sorry, I won't comment on ongoing litigation: Two privacy lawsuits filed against Amazon

Amazon's bugging of homes has German boffins worried that Alexa may be an outlaw

It records everything, even when someone didn't want to be overheard? And it's in your house? Was zum Teufel!

Alexa Conversations: Amazon's AI assistant is about to get a whole lot more like Clippy

re:MARS Hi! It looks like you're planning a night out! Would you like a taxi with that?

Amazon Alexa: 'Pre-wakeword' patent application suggests plans to process more of your speech

Speaker identification and more listening in: welcome to the future of voice assistants

You: 'Alexa, open Cortana.' Alexa: 'Who?'

Updated A year on, Alexa can look at your emails and Cortana can order groceries. World shrugs

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

That sound ... yes, that lack of sound ... it's here

Alexa! When will Windows 10 19H2 ship? New version promises more toys for assistants

Now, how about those Surface Book 2s?

Oh good. This'll go well. Amazon's Alexa will offer NHS advice

Suggested reading: Making Your Last Will and Testament

As Alexa's secret human army is revealed, we ask: Who else has been listening in on you?

The Lives of Others: Siri, Google and Cortana edition

Pure Storage swallows Swedish filer biz for its, er, purely file storage software

Gulps down firm for undisclosed number of kronor