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How Kingston IronKey can be a strategic performer

#KingstonCognate introduces Rafael Bloom

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Rafael has spent his career within senior Technology Product, Marketing Communications and Business Development roles. His advisory practice focuses on the new organisational, product, and communications challenges of technological and regulatory changes, with a central aim of building and preserving revenue streams.

This highly diverse work involves subject matter expertise on information governance and compliance by design, data privacy, and emerging technologies such as AdTech, Mobile & 5G, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Technology evolution

If you remember the early golden era of consumer electronics like the Atari 2600, the Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore Amiga, or even the more serious Amstrad Word Processors or early IBM® / MS-DOS devices, you will also remember having to plug a lot of hard-wired stuff into them in order to extract the maximum utility and performance. Printers, keyboards, joysticks, mice, game cartridges and monitors - largely with different connectors!

The Bluetooth and wireless LAN-enabled world of today is clean and simple by comparison, so what is the sense in leveraging external peripherals as part of a long-term tech and data strategy? What is the value of having a device that you need to plug in when everything seems to be moving to the cloud or losing its wires?

As it turns out, the answer to those questions is: “A great deal!”

USB considerations in our hybrid world

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Since the pandemic has impacted every area of our lives, it is something that must be mentioned in the scope of long-term technology planning and decision-making. The pandemic made a decentralised IT infrastructure a necessity almost overnight for every organisation you can think of. Data has truly become a critical business asset when viewed in this context. Data must be regarded both as a key revenue-generating asset within an organisation, and also a new risk category.

The inability to access data, a data quality issue, or a loss of network connectivity can make an organisation immediately grind to a halt – zero productivity, zero income streams, and zero customer service being a typical scenario. Financial implications aside, the reputational damage to an organisation could be devastating, if a data breach occurred. In this sense, an organisation could quickly be viewed by its customers and partners as unreliable, under-resourced, and untrustworthy with client and employee data.

If people think of USB drives as being old-fashioned or trivial, it is because of their use in the past as more or less disposable, low-performance, low-security devices. While the older patterns of USB drive use as a means for portable storage have faded out, the use of high-performance flash memory has emerged for personal, secure local backup with an extra layer of data protection and confidentiality.

Making the right security choices

One key difference is that with performance, and with the option of hardware-based encryption, the new generation of Kingston IronKey storage can be leveraged to perform strategic, enterprise value-preserving roles within organisations, or even at home. This is part of the thinking behind the #KingstonIsWithYou philosophy, working to provide solutions to real-world technical, organisational, and regulatory challenges.

Use case 1: Crypto asset wallet

A hardware-encrypted USB drive is a perfect solution for the tricky challenges of keeping crypto assets secure for the long term. Firstly, flash memory is extremely durable, so the nightmare of rescuing information from a broken magnetic or optical drive can be avoided. Secondly, there is the security of the encryption and access controls built in at the hardware level. What is more, a physical crypto asset wallet based on a USB device can be locked away and physically secured separately from your computer – useful if you do not want to keep your laptop in a safe!

Protecting all your key assets

Today’s generation of USB drives are engineered with specific use cases in mind and are ideally placed to mitigate those exact business continuity challenges and more. Concerns such as securing Intellectual Property are vital for industry verticals such as Life Sciences, Construction/Civil Engineering, and Insurance. Kingston IronKey™ products can be indispensable linchpins in addressing these matters over long time periods, from years to decades.

Organisations in industries such as Healthcare, Life Sciences, or Financial Services handle sensitive personal data over the long term and often must abide by sector-specific laws. This can constitute a significant set of complex risks. However, organisations with a Human Resources or Finance department or a revenue-generating customer database should not rely overly on the cloud for every function.

Use case 2: Human resources and sensitive data

If you have a Human Resources department, there will likely be physical files that are locked up and looked after for confidentiality reasons. The same applies to this kind of information when it exists electronically – or it could apply to Intellectual Property such as original designs, proprietary algorithms, research data, and the like. Storing this data in the cloud alongside everything else might not be an acceptable solution, and you will need to backup and secure it for the long term. Today’s Flash-based USB devices are durable, compact, and perfect for long-term data asset preservation.

Essential backup plans

An organisation that relies solely on cloud connectivity for data access cannot consider itself fully ‘backed-up’ and protected from cyber threats or outages. Business continuity and disaster recovery plans cannot really be considered robust without ‘data independence’. While everything is moving to the cloud there is still a great value of plugged and wired secure local storage. Kingston’s value add service ‘Ask an Expert’ means that they really thought about these important elements by creating their range of IronKey USB drives to secure your sensitive data on the move.

While it is of course true that large data transfers are manageable via cloud services, other enterprise data can still be sensitive or critical enough to operations to be worth storing on an encrypted USB drive. This is particularly important in situations where access is not correlated to the availability of a network or cloud infrastructure.

In fact, this is where high-capacity encrypted external storage can be a perfect solution.

Encrypted USB devices can play a significant role in a long-term approach to data protection and information governance - alongside other technologies of course – and what is more, every institution and even every family should take its digital legacy seriously.

#KingstonIsWithYou #KingstonIronKey

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