One of the downsides of a USB drive is that it is very easy to lose or misplace. The next thing you know, your USB drive is in the hands of someone and all they have to do is plug it in to access the contents. If you store confidential/sensitive data on the drive, this becomes a major concern.
Windows 7 includes a long overdue feature called Bitlocker To Go, which could save your butt if you do lose your USB drive. Bitlocker To Go lets you encrypt the contents of a USB drive and restrict access with a passphrase. In order to decrypt and view the data, an individual would require the password.
Another bonus is that Windows 7 lets administrators set policies that require users to apply passphrases to their USB drives, essentially forcing all users to use Blitlocker protection.
Bitlocker To Go is very simple to use so even novice users can take advantage of it. To set up Bitlocker To Go, insert your USB drive, right click on it and select the Turn on Bitlocker option. Once Bitlocker is initialized, you will be prompted to type in a password to unlock the drive. You will also be prompted to create a recovery key that can be used in the event that you forget the password.
[awsbullet:CODE Focus Magazine]