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Securing your Memory Stick

Since the high profile stories of data getting lost within government departments many people have become much more cautious about carrying data around. Memory sticks are a really convenient way of carrying around data due to their size and ease of use. However due to their convenient portability they are a device that is easily lost or left behind. With this in mind both individuals and businesses are being forced to add protection to their memory sticks, if they are going to use them to carry confidential data.

By encrypting a memory stick the data contained on the stick is unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the defined password. If you would like this kind of protection there are two options available, hardware encryption and software encryption:

Software Encryption

Software encryption is the easiest and cheapest way of protecting your data. It allows you to create an encrypted area on your memory stick which is password protected. You are then able to protect sensitive data on your device while keeping your normal data shareable.

One of the main benefits of software encryption is that you can protect any USB stick that you already have, without the need to purchase a special memory stick like you do with hardware encryption. There are many options with software encryption, both free and paid for software. I find that paid for software is usually more reliable. I have found that a program called Wondershare works well.

Wondershare allows you to encrypt your memory stick (or other storage media) to US military level 256-bit encryption. With this level of encryption you are guaranteed to be secure enough for both personal and business use. After 3 steps you are able to encrypt your files and set a password. Each time your memory stick is plugged into a computer you are prompted for the password before you can access the files. The security software does not have to be installed on each computer you use to access the memory stick, as once the encryption is set you are ready to go.

Hardware Encryption

Hardware encryption works in a different way to software encryption, it uses chips within the memory stick to encrypt and decrypt the data.

Hardware encrypted memory sticks have the ability to wipe the data on the memory stick if the password is entered incorrectly after a certain amount of times. Should your memory stick get in to the wrong hands you will be protected even if the person attempts to guess your password. Unfortunately hardware encryption comes at a high cost, and is specific to particular memory sticks. This is particularly wasteful if you already have a memory stick as you would need to replace it to get the befits of hardware encryption.

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