Dongling Modifiers

Mobile security shrinks even further - into the USB

LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- With users bringing more and more mobile (and potentially insecure) storage devices into the enterprise, vendors are now scrambling to devise ways to secure these tiny widgets.

Israeli Flash memory pioneer M-Systems (Nasdaq: FLSH) is the latest company to get in the game with its mTrust USB key management system. The software is supposed to help users deploy, provision, track, and audit company-issued USB drives while stopping the use of unauthorized drives.

To do this, the company will deploy a software agent on the USB keys to allow network managers to manage the storage devices via a central server.

Other companies, such as SecureWave S.A. , have taken similar steps by installing software agents on laptops that are intended to prevent unauthorized downloads onto USB devices. M-Systems' head of enterprise marketing, Nimrod Reichenberg, claims, however, that his firm is the first to offer a system that will allow network administrators to centrally manage the USB dongles themselves. (See SecureWave's Security Key.)

Users and vendors at this week's Interop show here are well aware that these mobile storage offerings could add to corporate data risks. John DiGiovanni, director of marketing at Xirrus Inc. , says that he does sometimes use USB dongles to transfer information and has to check to see if there is any confidential data on the key.

At the moment, the M-Systems software only works with “mTrust Ready” USB drives from manufacturers like Kingston Technology Co. Inc. , although M-Systems says it's working with other major vendors.


— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung