Over 17,000 USB Sticks Mistakenly Left At Dry Cleaners

Britons left more than 17,000 USB sticks in clothes given to dry cleaners and launderettes in 2010, a new study has revealed.

The research survey, which was conducted by data security solutions provider Credent Technologies, polled 500 dry cleaners and launderettes across the UK between December 2010 and January 2011.

The findings suggested a 400 percent increase from the number of USB sticks left compared to a study in 2009.

The company said that consumers were finding it hard to maintain multiple storage devices as a result of 'IT consumerization'. According to the company, 'IT consumerization' means the increase in use of mobile devices that let users store personal and private data in an enterprise environment.

The mislaying of USB sticks, in places such as dry cleaners, poses a considerable risk to data security if the USBs containing sensitive personal data or proprietary information get into the hands of criminals. Nowadays USBs are cheap and convenient for data storage, but they were also the devices most easily lost, the company said.

Sean Glynn, vice president of marketing for Credant Technologies, said in a statement, “With the best intentions in the world, the reality is, devices are often left behind and the information they contain could be devastating if disclosed—over and beyond the ICO fines. Organizations need to plan for this when developing their security strategies.”