IBM Employees Banned From Using All Removable Storage – ExtremeTech

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IBM, builders of the primary exhausting drive, has declared that henceforth, all workers are banned from utilizing detachable storage of any sort, together with CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, and moveable exhausting drives. Presumably Zip drives, Jazz drives, 1.44-inch floppies, and moveable tape recorders are additionally banned, although the corporate uncared for to say these by title.

In keeping with IBM chief info safety officer Shamla Naidoo, the ban is meant to shove customers in direction of utilizing IBM’s cloud companies for file distribution and collaboration. The Register quotes Naidoo as justifying the transfer as a result of “the doable monetary and reputational harm from misplaced, misplaced or misused detachable moveable storage gadgets have to be minimized.”

Certainly. It’s completely true that USB sticks and different types of moveable media is usually a safety problem. We’ve written earlier than about varied kinds of malware that may stay on a USB drive ready for an unsuspecting person to seek out them and slip them right into a system. In excessive instances, such drives can be utilized to destroy a machine on the {hardware} stage. From a safety perspective, this coverage makes some sense.

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However — and boy is there a however, right here — it’s additionally exactly the form of resolution that performs nice within the C-suite and causes merry hell within the rank and file. There are going to be occasions and instances when servicing a machine or serving to a buyer with software program deployment goes to require distributing patches by way of USB stick. Not each system or server is robotically configured for exterior web help. Not each enterprise makes their company Wi-Fi out there for company. IBM’s argument is that its workers can merely swap to utilizing its Sync’n’Share service for such wants. To be truthful to IBM, that’s in all probability true — to a degree.

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However in the event you’ve ever finished any form of IT work, you recognize that actual life adores these sorts of inflexible insurance policies, exactly so it might probably fling you curveballs that abruptly develop into issues. I needed to grasp on to a 1.44-inch floppy drive lengthy after they’d stopped delivery in new PCs, for instance. First, Home windows XP (the dominant OS of the time) didn’t help loading storage drivers off something however a floppy, until they have been slipstreamed into the OS picture on the CD. Second, BIOS updates of the day couldn’t be run off something however floppy disks, both. This finally improved, however it wasn’t uncommon to have a BIOS flash utility that was solely appropriate with FAT16 or FAT32 gadgets, whilst you had an NTFS partition on the first drive. How typically did I exploit that floppy drive? Virtually by no means. More often than not, there have been methods to get round driver points. Most motherboards didn’t want a flash. Nevertheless it’s the “nearly” in “nearly by no means” that made me preserve the silly factor round, lengthy after it ought to’ve outlived its usefulness. Hell, I feel I’ve nonetheless acquired one sitting within the storage.

After all, it’s doable IBM has completely programmed its programs, constructed the right cloud sync system, conceived of each doable circumstance by which its workers would possibly have to entry stated system, and brought each step to make sure no one on a service name winds up not having the ability to entry mandatory recordsdata as a result of community permissions or firewalls.

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However you recognize, I form of doubt it. Regardless of the large variations between mainframes and traditional x86 {hardware}, some issues don’t change. Programs nonetheless have to be reconfigured once in a while. Not each buyer setup goes to be configured for immediate cloud entry. We’ll in all probability by no means hear about it, however some poor engineer someplace goes to wind up desirous to yank out their hair over this, not less than occasionally.

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