Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 2

Any links to online stores should be assumed to be affiliates. The company or PR agency provides all or most review samples. They have no control over my content, and I provide my honest opinion.

The IronKey Vault Privacy 80 External SSD is the latest secure drive by Kingston and their top-of-the-range drive.

Unlike most drives on the market, this has a touchscreen interface with many customisable options that keep your data safe.

There are a lot of similarities with the more expensive Datalocker DL4 FE I have previously reviewed. The lower price of the Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 makes it immediately appealing, but it doesn’t have quite the same level of physical security as the Datalocker. In reality, it probably won’t matter too much to small businesses, but large enterprises will likely appreciate the added security of the Datalocker, and care less about the premium price.

Specification & Features

  • Capacities: 480GB, 960GB, 1920GB
  • Speed: Up to 250MB/s read, 250MB/s write
  • Memory: Micron QLC with no DRAM
  • Controller: SM2259XT
  • FIPS 197 Certified with XTS-AES 256-bit Encryption
  • Unique Intuitive Touch Screen
  • Multi-Password (Admin/User) Option with PIN/Passphrase Modes
  • Extended Security Options
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 1
  • Connector: Type-C
  • Casing Material: Zinc + Plastic
  • Package Includes: Neoprene travel case, USB 3.2 Gen 1 C-to-C cable, USB 3.2 Gen 1 C-to-A cable
  • Dimensions: 122.5 mm x 84.2 mm x 18.5 mm
  • Operating Temperature: 0°C to 45°C
  • Storage Temperature: -20°C to 60°C
  • Compatibility: USB 3.0/USB 3.1/USB 3.2 Gen 1
  • Warranty/support4: Limited 3-year warranty

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 vs Datalocker DL4 FE

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 vs Datalocker DL4 FE

By all accounts, these two drives are essentially the same. The underlying firmware running on them is identical, and I am pretty sure the touch screen display is the same.

The physical SSD enclosure is different. The IronKey is thinner and more attractive.

The IronKey is only FIPS 197, whereas the Datalocker DL4 FE is FIPS 140-2 Level 3.

The difference between these two certifications is that FIPS 197 certification looks at the hardware encryption algorithms used to protect the data. FIPS 140-2 takes things to the next level with physical security. With a FIPS 140-2 certified USB Flash Drive, the tamper-proof design of the circuit board has been approved, as well as the data encryption.

The different FIPS 140-2 levels indicate that the chassis of the two drives could be key to the two security ratings.

Level 1 requires production-grade equipment and externally tested algorithms. Then level 2 adds requirements for physical tamper-evidence and role-based authentication. Finally, level 3, states there must also be a physical or logical separation between the interfaces.

Basically, the FIPS 140-2 drive is completely certified against physical tampering as well as data encryption.

Set-Up

When you buy an encrypted drive, you have no option but to read the instructions. There is normally a bunch of keys to press, putting you in management mode and setting the admin pin. Similarly, adding new users normally requires a difficult-to-remember combination of key presses.

The Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 is much more user-friendly and intuitive. When you plug it in, it will do an initialisation process and then ask you to add your new admin user.

It has a resistive touchscreen which is not the most accurate and is quite laggy. You are best to use a stylus but using your finger works too. Apart from this minor inconvenience, it is much easier to set up the users, and you can easily use alphanumeric passwords rather than just numbers, therefore making it much more secure.

Just like the Datalocker, the keyboard uses a random pattern which limits the risks of pattern recognition.

Drive Admin Features

When you plug the drive in and connect with the admin account, you can then go into the admin settings.

You can:

  • Change password
  • Set User
  • Set up read-only mode
  • Set password rules and length
  • Set the randomised key layout
  • Auto lock time
  • Secure erase

Doing most of those functions on a number pad based drive is an annoying and time-consuming experience.

Performance

Speccy64 6MoIyJhUP0

Just like the Datalocker drive, Speccy does not reveal anything particularly interesting about the SSD within the IronKey.

DiskMark64 WVTEw53wLn

Performance is identical to the Datalocker DL4 FE, I achieved 270MB/s and 260MB/s, respectively.

Random read and write speeds are very low but identical to the Datalocker.

People will no doubt moan that this is much lower than you would expect from a normal SSD, but the cryptographic process will have a significant impact on performance. This is the same experience I have had for all encrypted drives across brands. Therefore, it is pointless trying to compare to normal consumer drives.

Price and Alternative Options

The 480GB Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 is available now for around £300. The 960GB variant is £400, and it goes up to around £475 for the 2TB model.

The Datalocker DL4 FE comes in both HDD and SSD. I can only find the 1TB SSD variant on the Dell website, which is £637.43.

If you don’t feel like you need the touch screen display, then the iStorage Diskashur 2 1TB SSD is £240 for the 512GB model.

Overall

I liked the Datalocker DL4 FE when I reviewed it back in April. The IronKey Vault Privacy 80 is identical in most ways, but it is FIPS 197 certified, not FIPS 140-2 Level 3 and quite likely due to this, it costs about a third less.

I am confident that these two drives are essentially the same hardware and firmware.

The difference in FIPS is possibly just Kingston not getting the FIPS 140-2 Level 3 yet, or perhaps something to do with the physical design of the SSD chassis.

Enterprise-level and government clients will likely most likely want the physical security of FIPS 140-2 Level 3, but I would say it has limited benefit for smaller businesses or home users.

My overall opinion is much the same as the Datalocker DL4 FE. Things are only as secure as the person securing them. Number pad based secure drives just tempt people to be lazy. Having a touch screen display makes it much easier to have a complex alphanumeric password, and I think that’s most important in most scenarios than if a drive is FIPS 197 or FIPS 140-2 Level 3.

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 Extercnal SSD Review Rating

Summary

The IronKey Vault Privacy 80 is a superb secure external SSD. The touch screen interfaces make this easier to use than comparable drives, and therefore users are more likely to use secure passwords and regularly take secure backups.

Overall
80%
80%
  • Overall - 80%
    80%

Pros

  • Touch screen interface makes this much more user-friendly and therefore more likely to use secure passwords
  • Significantly cheaper than Datalocker DL4 FE

Cons

  • Only FIPS 197

Last update on 2024-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *