The usefulness of USB thumb drives cannot be doubted. These devices are small enough to fit into the palm of one closed hand, and yet easily enable workers to transport large amounts of data from one computer to another. Employees of businesses both large and small routinely use them for transferring data they have created at home into their work computers.
Unfortunately, any transport medium that can carry data poses some level of risk to organizations. Thumb drives present particular security risks. As they are so very small, they are quite easy to lose. This fact in and of itself means that if such a drive were to be stolen, workers might very well simply assume it lost, never realizing that important data has just fallen into the hands of those who might misuse it.
To ban the use of flash drives, however, is to deprive workers of a highly useful tool. Such bans are also quite difficult to enforce because the devices themselves are so small, and few businesses want to go to the extreme of using network policies to lock down all USB access to physical workstations. Fortunately, a ready solution exists in the form of flash drive encryption. Individual files as well as complete thumb drives can be encrypted as needed, given the correct software tools. Since so many options for this kind of small-scale encryption exists, organizations would be wise to contract with an IT consulting firm that can offer them expert advice about the most viable options considering the existing infrastructure as well as encryption needs.