While the IC’s research organization looks into adding security to cloud environments, in the here and now, intelligence agencies are sharing more data.
A USB drive seems like today’s ultimate commodity item: small, portable, fairly rugged and simple to use. And from the cheapest (at a few bucks) to the priciest (at a few hundred), it’s a relatively inexpensive item.
But when you plan to use flash drives across an enterprise the size of a large agency, there are both cost and technical considerations.
First, there is the purchase price. A low-end flash drive might retail for as little as $20, but a 2- to 4-gigabyte drive that’s FIPS-140.2-certified will typically ring up at three figures.
Now, do a little math. If a large agency — the Defense Department, NASA or the Treasury Department, for example — buys these in-demand tools for enterprise use, the total investment could easily exceed a half-million dollars. That’s no longer just an ad hoc buy.
Then there are the technical considerations, say Dennis Chen, product marketing manager, and Sam Tran, field application engineer, for Kingston Technology. Typically, flash drives are plug and play, but when rolling out across a large organization, there are three potential hiccups that IT might encounter:
Finally, an agency planning to buy several thousand drives will want to look at the preset options for password controls and default-access attempts and decide which ones it might like to have the vendor customize before purchase.