You don’t have to be in charge of your company’s data to have secure data storage needs. Everyone has personal and often professional documents, data, and files that need safeguarding. And whether your needs are few (perhaps financial statements, wills, and photos of your children) or great (contracts, proprietary information, or top secret documents), it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect that information. While most companies take these steps, I’m sure quite a lot of families and individuals do not. But it’s easy to do.
iStorage, a company based in the UK, makes a whole line of secure, encrypted drives, from hard drives to USB sticks. Ranging from about £29 on up, they’ve got a product for every budget and every need. As my needs are on the lower end, being a freelance writer without a lot of secret documents, iStorage sent me a datAshur Pro flash drive to try out. And, while I wouldn’t replace all of my flash drives with encrypted ones, knowing that I have a place to back up or store private information that won’t fall into the wrong hands, even if lost or stolen, gives me peace of mind.
The datAshur Pro is a USB 3.0 flash drive that keeps your data safe, protected behind a 7-15 digit PIN. It works with any USB devices, and is immune to BadUSB. It is also very fast, with read/write speeds up to 116/43 MBps. Once unlocked, it functions just like a regular USB drive, so the only learning curve is in the setup.
The instruction manual for the datAshur Pro is detailed, helping you with every function of the drive that you’ll need. The drive ships with a default user PIN (unless you arrange for preset PINs for your drives), which you’ll need to change. Follow the directions to change the PIN, and you’ll be set and secure. It’s a little tricky, I found, but following the instructions in the manual step-by-step doesn’t take too long. I recommend reading through the instructions a few times before you begin because the whole operation will time out if you take too long between steps. All of the PIN-setting options can be a little confusing, but fortunately, iStorage has a few videos to walk you through getting started.
There are three lights on the drive, which indicate a plethora of different modes and states, depending on their combinations and whether they’re solid, flickering, or blinking (referring to the user manual here is vital, as the instructions aren’t on the package). In addition to setting up your user PIN, you can set the drive to be read-only, set it to automatically lock after a period of time (while plugged into a computer), and create an admin PIN separate from the user PIN. There are so many ways to use and set up these drives that the options are dizzying.
Once your password is set up, you only need to press the key button, type in your password, and press the key button again to unlock the drive. Plug it into your USB port within 30 seconds, and read/write as much as you like. (If you don’t plug it in, it will automatically lock itself again.) Then pull the drive out or eject it, and it will automatically lock the drive again, secure until your next use. Its buttons are a little small for large fingers or long fingernails, but they’re as big as they can possibly be and still fit on the drive.
In between uses, the drive has brute force hacking detection and protection, so even if someone uses incorrect password attempts, they won’t be able to access your data. The drives are tamper-evident and tamper-resistant, along with having a rugged water-resistant aluminum housing. It comes with a 3-year warranty and has real-time military grade XTS-AES 256-bit hardware encryption.
The drive works with Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, Android, and other systems, and comes in capacities of 8, 16, 32, and 64 GB. You can get your company logo or whatever you like etched on the drive as well, helping to promote your brand or just identify which drive is yours. The drive also has a built-in cord to attach to your keychain, neck cord, or elsewhere.
The iStorage datAshur Pro is some serious protection for your data, and it is designed to work with businesses and companies, government, and individuals. I highly recommend even individuals to have at least one encrypted secure drive for their personal data, whether you keep it in your desk or use it to protect documents while traveling. Though most of us don’t carry top-secret documents, we all have privacy needs. The datAshur products are the perfect way to store your legal documents, passwords, photos, and work-related files that are important to keep safe from prying eyes. Since using the datAshur Pro, it’s become my go-to drive for everything except for quick file transfers between other computers in the house.
If the datAshur Pro isn’t right for your needs, they have some other flash drive options, as well as hard drives, portable hard drives, SSDs, and others. You can compare their products’ specs on their site. Buy from Amazon, or direct from the iStorage website in the UK.
Note: I received a datAshur Pro sample for review purposes.