Protecting Data on Branded USB Memory Stick

If you’ve just invested in some branded USB memory sticks to support your marketing and advertising activities then you’re probably thinking about pre-loading data onto the memory stick. After all, it makes sense to use the available storage space on the memory stick to pre-load your product information, your sales data sheets, maybe some presentation files or perhaps just a link to your web site and some promotional movies.

If you’re using memory sticks as a way of distributing speakers’ notes and slides at a conference or seminar then it’s a must. No question, audiences at most seminars will be hoping for a USB memory stick with everything neatly stored on it rather than having to make their way home weighed down with a mass of paper.

It makes sense for you as well as the giver. By loading your files/data onto the memory stick you don’t have the printing costs and overheads. You don’t have to worry about making deadlines at the printers, it matters less if your speaker notes are delivered a little later than hoped for and you also don’t have to haul tons of printed-papers to your event.

But there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before you load data onto your branded USB Memory sticks:

  1. Do you want the recipient of the branded USB memory stick to be able to delete your data from the stick?If you don’t want the data deleted then you need to get the data loaded during the manufacturing process and “locked” on the stick. The downside with this is that you need to plan it and ensure you have factored the delivery of the data to the factory before the memory sticks are manufactured. There can be no last minute additions and you won’t be able to delete anything either. So for example if your CEO decides at the last minute he wants to change the content on the pre-loaded memory sticks he/you won’t be able to.But, if you’re not worried about the data being deleted by the user after its been read then last minute changes are easy albeit time consuming.
  2. Do you need to safeguard the pre-loaded data from falling into the wrong hands?If the information you have pre-loaded onto the memory sticks is confidential then you might want to consider encrypting and password protecting it. Again this can be done during manufacture and you have two basic options. One option is to simply prevent access to the data by means of a password challenge. The more sophisticated option is to protect access to the data by password but also to encrypt (scramble) any saved data.
  3. After you’ve loaded your data is there enough space left on the USB memory stick for the recipient to use it?If one of your objectives is to have your branded USB memory sticks used and as a consequence your brand promoted you need to leave a enough space on the memory stick for the user to add their own files. Particularly important if you have “locked” your own files on the memory stick so they cannot be deleted.

Finally remember that data loading done post manufacture is time consuming so whilst there are real benefits in doing it please plan ahead.

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