Don’t trust the cloud? Here is a safe external storage device

Many people are still reluctant to keep sensitive data and files in the cloud. Me included. There have been so many security breaches over the past five plus years that I simply don’t trust to keep my most crucial business and personal information safe. This is why personal backup storage systems are so popular – people can keep all their files on a physical drive somewhere – safely away from the internet, but instantly accessible when needed. And business travelers also face the conundrum of wanting all their files available on the road, but are tired of losing a storage drive in transit. There are solutions. And I like the new option from Kingston Technology the best.

The company last week unveiled its IronKey Vault Privacy 80ES external solid-state hard drive. It’s encrypted so even if you lose it, no one will break into it anytime soon. This is because it uses an advanced 256-bit encryption standard. You set the password via its user-friendly and intuitive color touch screen. The password can be up to 64 characters or you can simply configure it to use a PIN. And then you can set how many password attempts can be made to unlock it before the device turns into a tamper-proof brick. You can also set multiple passwords, depending on your situation – handy for administrators. Additionally, the device is OS independent, which means you can use it with an iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Windows desktop, Macbook, Chromebook, or any machine of your choice. The whole device is small – what you’d expect from a portable external hard drive – and weighs next to nothing. And it offers two read-only (write-protect) modes for malware protection. There is also an adjustable auto-timeout to lock the drive, randomize its touchscreen layout, and securely wipe the drive to clear all passwords and the encryption key. Additionally, it comes with a zippered neoprene case and a USB-A to USB-C cord, as well as a USB-C to USB-C cord.

It comes in three storage sizes, up to 1.92TB. I got my hands on the middle-of-the-road model – the 960GB version – and tested it with several of my devices. Setting up my password was super easy. The device will not turn on until you physically connect it to a machine. I did, and it asked me to tap an icon on the screen to calibrate the location accuracy of my finger. From there, I established a password. And then it asked me if I want to put the device in read-only mode or unlock it completely. I uploaded a lot of large files, via a drag and drop process. It wasn’t the fastest device at this task – external hard drives rarely are. But later when I went to move those same huge files from the Kingston to my computer drive and phone, it was almost instantaneous. Either way, loading files onto the Kingston was still a smooth and fairly quick process overall. I’m just used to using the brand’s ultra-fast USB external storage drives. Speaking of which, Kingston offers a whole new encrypted system IronKey Vault Privacy USB Drivesas well.

Having this layer of encryption security gives me extreme peace of mind. From time to time, I find myself traveling with USB drives loaded with data. And I honestly feel vulnerable even leaving them around my house, in case we ever get robbed. But with this new product, I will no longer have this fear.

Comments are closed.