I was previously impressed with the iStorage diskashur 2 secure portable 2.5” drive. If you need an affordable solution to secure your data, it is one of the best options on the market in my opinion.
The previous drive was useful for storing large amounts of data as possible, but was perhaps not very pocket-friendly, nor did it achieve the highest security rating.
If you want maximum security and something more portable then the datAshur Pro2 flash drive will be a more suitable option.
These drives are sized from 4G through to 512GB with prices starting at £58.80 going all the way up to £442.80. Not exactly cheap, but this isn't designed to be your usual USB drive.
- Pin authenticated, hardware encrypted USB Flash Drive - perfect solution for storing your confidential/personal data
- Os & Platform Independent - The datashur Pro2 will work on any device with a USB port! No software required!
- Brute force attack - keeping your data safe from prying eyes if your drive is lost or stolen!
- Gdpr compliant - The datashur Pro2 helps you become a step closer to being GDPR compliant
- All data transferred to the drive is encrypted in real time using military grade AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption
During IFA there was no doubt be hundreds of company executives walking around with laptops or USB drives containing highly sensitive information for products that were announced. The tech scene has a huge leak industry, all the recent big phones launches have been heavily leaked. While some leaks will be deliberate there is a tremendous amount of incentive for individual to acquire sensitive company information by whatever means necessary.
Similarly, with GDPR last year, if someone were to lose a USB drive with client data on it, this would be regarded as a massive GDPR breach and all the clients must be informed. Something which could damage a company reputation severely.
This is where products like the iStorage datAshur Pro2 come into play. This hardware-encrypted flash drive is the top of the range option from iStorage and has so of the highest encryption standards possible.
Specifically, the Pro2 model meets the following requirements:
- NCSC CPA
- NLNCSA BSPA & NATO Restricted validation (pending Q3)
The FIPS 140-2 Level 3 is the second-highest level possible which adds requirements for physical tamper-resistance and identity-based authentication. There must also be a physical or logical separation between the interfaces by which “critical security parameters” enter and leave the module. Private keys can only enter or leave in encrypted form.
The previous diskashur 2, this only met Level 2, this level I more than adequate for my personal documents and accounts. But someone dealing with data that could be worth several thousand on the black market, or company secrets worth many more, then Level 3 is probably going to be quite important.
The FIPS does technically go to Level 4 which adds protection against various forms of environmental attack and as far as I am aware, there are no commercial products available for this and well above the needs of any consumer or business wanting to transport data.
As this is a USB 3.2 flah drive, performance is superior to performance to the mechanical drive option. This is rated at 130MB/sec read and 116MB/sec write.
As far as day to day functionality goes, there is no difference between this and the previous review. Critically this is hardware encrypted and completely platform-independent, once you unlock it, it works just like any other USB drive. The hardware encryption also means it is not susceptible to brute force attacks or key logger attacks.
Similar to the previous review, there is not just one user that unlocks the drive, you initially set up the admin pin, and then can have multiple users. It is also possible to set up a user as a read-only account, so again this is perfect for a corporate environment.
If you are super paranoid, there is even a self destruct feature, the flash drive can be pre-programmed with an additional self-destruct PIN, which once entered, the encrypted encryption key and all PINs are deleted, and all data is rendered as lost forever.
Unlike the iStorage diskashur 2, which has a lower security rating, the Datashur Pro2 comes without a pre-set pin, and you must set this before the drive will work.
Similar to the last review, it is quite a simple process if you follow the quick start guide. First you must wake up the device, press the unlock and 1 key to start the admin set up process.
Once you have completed the set-up there are a couple of ways to unlock it, you can wake it up with the shift key, hit the unlock key, type in your pin then unlock again. The blue button will flash a lot and then the unlock sign will show solid green.
Alternatively, you can plug it straight into a USB which will wake it, then do the normal unlock procedure.
With everything unlocked this works like any other USB drive, the device itself handles all the encryption and decryption so there is no software to run.
Once you have you admin set up it is possible to add more users giving you granular control over the device. It has so many settings there are 46 pages in the user manual. This includes things like one-time One-Time User Recovery Pin, Read-Only in Admin Mode, Self-Destruct PIN, Unattended Auto-Lock Clock, Brute Force Hack Defence Mechanism and many more.
Using both my desktop PC and the Acer Predator Helios 300 laptop, I found the performance to be lower than the stated speeds. For large files this was around 70-80MB/s for reads and 65MB-72MB/s for writing.
While this puts it lower than the mechanical drive in the diskashur 2 what is likely more important is the small files transfers, and this achieved around 15MB/s for reads and 20MB/s for writes.
The performance will likely be affected by the fact that the drive has to encrypt/decrypt all the data on the fly, so it will never compete with an unencrypted USB drive for read/write performance.
While the iStorage Datashur Pro2 won’t appeal to your average user, if you are ever in the situation of transporting important information this is an investment worth making. Any form of customer or client information needs to comply with GDPR, and the fines for breaches can be extensive. Similarly, if company secrets got out early, such as product designs, specifications and other data this could be disastrous for any company. So the relative cost of this compared to losing data is negligible.
In terms of price and competing models, this is priced comparatively. Kingston have a 128GB IronKey D300 priced at £383 which Apricorn Aegis have a couple of options, one priced quite a bit more, the other around the same price.
iStorage Datashur Pro2 Score
- Features - 85%85%
- Security - 95%95%
- Price - 75%75%
SummaryPerhaps over the top for your regular consumer, but anyone dealing with any highly sensitive data would be wise to invest in an encrypted device such as this.
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