Disable USB Storage Devices on Macs

Written by Jon Griffin on March 15, 2018

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There are many attack vectors that IT admins must secure to ensure that their organization is properly protected. One of these key risk areas is USB storage devices. USB sticks have been known to carry malware, and, on the other side of the spectrum, malicious end users have also been known to use these USB ports to plug in external hard drives and copy data. Either way, these are both significant attack vectors that IT must shut down. For many organizations, there is rarely even a need to have USB storage devices inserted into the machines. Rather than leaving this attack vector open, it is critical that these IT organizations have the ability to control the use of these USB storage devices. In this post, we will examine how IT admins can disable USB storage devices on Macs with ease.

Policy Control on Macs?

Is it possible to Disable USB Storage Devices on Macs

The biggest difficulty with this security protocol is figuring out the best way to implement and enforce it. Training, of course, is the first method to gain compliance, but even then many end users will either forget to follow through or ignore it. For some, the convenience of using a USB thumb drive or attaching an external hard drive may be too much to walk away from. There is a better route though: setting a Policy over the Mac machine to automatically implement the change and enforce it going forward.

But wait, a policy? Aren’t Group Policy Objects (GPOs) only available for Windows® systems?

You’re right. GPOs are a Microsoft® Active Directory® concept that have allowed IT admins to gain intricate control over their Windows systems. But, this doesn’t mean the concept of policies is limited to Microsoft. As a matter of fact, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service® released a Policies feature and it is providing admins with GPO-like control over all systems (Mac, Windows, Linux) in their environment.

With JumpCloud’s Policies feature, admins can easily and quickly set a policy to disable the ability to connect a USB storage device into an end user’s Mac. This policy can be set via the centralized cloud directory solution, and subsequently enforced. End users will no longer be able to attach a USB storage device to their Mac, and you will no longer need to worry about that attack vector.

How JumpCloud Policies Work

How one of the JumpCloud Policies works to Disable USB Storage Devices on Macs

So how exactly do you set up a policy and enforce it over a computer? It’s much simpler than you might think. IT admins can find the policy template they want within the Directory-as-a-Service console, configure it to the standards they want, and then attach the policy to the desired group of Mac systems. Just like that, admins can enforce a policy over whatever number of Mac systems are in the group. And, the Policies have resiliency as well. If an end user attempts to disable the policy, the cloud directory platform will revert it back almost instantly. Want to prevent users from having the ability to change system preferences at all? You can set a policy for that as well. With JumpCloud Policies, IT admins can rest easy knowing that their chosen Policies are staying in place.

Disable USB Storage Devices on Macs in Your Organization

Managing Devices with JumpCloud policies

For many organizations, the ability to disable USB storage devices on Macs can dramatically enhance their security and keep their confidential data secure.

If your company is looking for a cross-platform solution to enforce policies, check out JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service. The cloud-based directory is helping IT admins all over regain control over their IT infrastructure, and is removing all of the complexity that comes with Active Directory. Sign up for a free account, attend a live demo, or contact the JumpCloud team to learn more.

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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