The company’s chief information security officer, Shamla Naidoo, sent out an advisory missive to all staff, explaining the ban, which, while already in place in some parts of the business, is now being rolled out globally.
The note says that "over the next few weeks we are implementing this policy worldwide" and that "data transfer is now prohibited to all removable portable storage devices (USB, SD card, flash drive)".
It adds that “the possible financial and reputational damage from misplaced, lost or misused removable portable storage devices must be minimised".
IBM’s staff will now be forced to use the company’s "sync ‘n’ share" service, to carry data from one place to another.
According to recent Intel research, carried out among companies who had experienced a data breach, staff were responsible for 43% of data loss, half of which was intentional, and half accidental.