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Memory Sticks- Friend Or Foe?

Jul 7, 2008
Memory sticks were created first by Sony as the answer to the difficulties of the floppy disk. Picked up by SanDisk and a multitude of other software and computer orientated companies, the small sticks were seen as the next big thing to hit the market since buttered bread. However, as time has passed, the adoration of memory sticks has faded as the dangers they pose have been revealed. Still a popular choice for computer storage, consumers are beginning to realize the care that these small sticks require.

Since their creation, memory sticks have grown smaller physically, but more powerful virtually. With an expected cap of 32GB of storage capacity, memory sticks hold the potential to store a very large amount of very sensitive information in a package that is less than the size of a credit card. Add to that newer models that have the capability of running programs and applications automatically from the memory stick itself without the host computer having to have the software needed, and you have a recipe for a security disaster.

The memory sticks utilize flash memory and are similar in nature to their cousin, the flash drive. The difference is the capability of using and running applications directly from the stick. Flash drives can't handle the amount of RAM that would allow for such occurrences. Sticks can and do.

This would be great in the instance of vacationing with a friend and needing to have certain programs available. Since the host computer does not need to have the application installed and it can run in a full capacity mode from the stick, many find memory sticks appealing. As long as precautions are taken, the risk to security is minimal. However, many business and corporate offices employ memory sticks to back up databases.

The risk of loss of confidentiality is high when this is done even if the executive who backed up the database on the memory stick had full security clearance to do so. If he loses the stick, or forgets to erase it when he transfers the material, there is the chance that someone could obtain the vital information-perhaps a competitor-and use it for their own gain. At this point, the information is no longer private and the company has lost not only a memory stick, but client trust.

Before deciding that a memory stick is just what you need to complete your menagerie of the latest technological gadgets, consider what your intended use of them will be. If you have a few home movies or the last 30 years of your family in pictures that you would love to take to every family reunion, then they may be the answer to avoid packing 300 albums and 70 DVDs. If you are planning to use the memory sticks as backups to your company's databases or other sensitive material, consider the risks and remember that you, too, are capable of misplacing the tiny stick. When used properly, the memory stick can be your best friend and a great way to cut back on bulky boxes in your attic since you won't need all those albums. But if used to store high security information, then they may turn out to be your worst nightmare. As with all technological advances, weigh your options carefully and determine if you really need the power of the memory stick.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for computer memory, PC supplies, and computer games. When shopping, we recommend the best online stores for PC supplies, computer accessories, computer memory, Memory Sticks, and used computer games.
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