When USB drives first hit the market in the early 2000’s it pretty much sealed the fate for most other portable media. Its extreme portability made USB drives an instant success. The widespread use of these drives also made it an easy target for exploitation by hackers. Data leakage and virus attacks are the primary causes for concern with USB drives. This threat is so serious that many global companies have banned its use within their premises. The solution? Let’s welcome the iStorage datAshur Pro.
iStorage is a trusted global leader of PIN authenticated, hardware encrypted data storage devices. They provide innovative products to securely store and protect data to Military grade encryption levels. Their products safeguard your valuable business information whilst ensuring compliance to regulatory requirements. I’m sure this is the first time you’re hearing about this company, yet you will be amazed at the products they offer.
|Capacity||8GB, 16GB, 32GB & 64GB*|
|Speed||Up to 139 MB per second read. Up to 43MB per second write.|
|Dimensions (drive with sleeve)||80mm x 20mm x 10.5mm|
|Dimensions (drive without sleeve)||78mm x 18mm x 8mm|
|Waterproof||MIL-STD-810F | IP57 Certified|
|Hardware||USB 3.0 high speed – compatible with USB 2 & USB 1|
|Operating System compatibility||Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, Android, Thin Clients & Embedded Systems|
|Hardware Data Encryption||XTS-AES|
|Encryption Keys||256-bit Hardware|
|Ordering Information||iStorage Part Number: IS-FL-DA3-256-xx (xx=drive size in GBs)|
iStorage datAshur Pro 8GB
The datAshur Pro USB 3.0 is offered in multiple storage options from 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities.
iStorage offers a range of security features on their products and the datAshur Pro is no different. It offers AES 256-bit hardware encryption maintaining an FIPS140-2 Level 3 certification. As a result data is encrypted seamlessly without impacting peformance and the device is tamper proof as well as has protection against brute force attacks.
When a company goes to the extent of personalizing the drives before they ship out certainly deserves some applause. It’s a very nice touch and will score some bragging rights as well.
I have come across encryption capable devices in the past, but not one that contains an alpha numeric keypad on its body.
Using the datAshur
In order to use the drive you need to press the key button and enter your PIN within 10 seconds before it auto locks itself again. 3 LED indicators give a visual queue to show if the drive is connected, enabled for data transfer or still in locked status.
Once you have entered the correct PIN you have another 30 seconds to insert the drive into a USB slot upon which you can start using the datAshur as any other USB drive. Once you’re done, ejecting the drive from the USB slot triggers the drive to lock itself once again. It’s actually a clever little device and no doubt if data security is important to you iStorage has definitely made your life less complicated with this device.
Battery and Accounts
The included user manual does a good job to get things going. More importantly it has the default PIN so that you can go about personalizing it. The PIN needs to be 7 – 15 digits. The datAshur doesn’t rely on any software for its encryption mechanism and its all hardware controlled. There’s an internal battery that keeps everything running smoothly. On first go however you may require the drive to be plugged into a USB port for around 30-45mins so that the internal battery can charge. If the battery is dead you will not be able to enter any PIN which obviously means you’re stuck until it’s charged again.
Another nifty feature many corporates would love is the fact that this drives supports to have both Admin and user accounts without any software intervention. In case a user gets his/her drive locked, an admin can use their password for unlock the device. In the unfortunate event both these are forgotten and you get locked out completely, only option is to format the drive as your data will no longer be accessible.
The datAshur works on most operating systems such as Windows, MAC, Linux, Chrome and Android. We will do some benchmarks next to confirm the validity of USB 3.0 speeds by the manufacturer. This test is purely for that purpose only since anyone buying this drive certainly won’t be buying it for its speed.
As we mentioned before the iStorage datAshur Pro USB 3.0 is certainly one of the more unique security solutions we have come across. With its alpha numeric keypad the datAshur certainly will turn curious minds. Since the PIN is entered directly on the drive and not through a keyboard, it eliminates the risk of any keylogger trying to access this information.
Any attempts at brute forcing the user password PIN will automatically delete it after 10 consecutive bad attempts. Next if you get the admin PIN wrong for 10 attempts your only option then is to format the drive and creating a new PIN. Of course all your old data will be lost forever. Nevertheless these are solid steps towards ensuring data security.
If you have seriously sensitive data and need a portable device to take it on, we’re yet to see a similar device like the iStorage DatAshur Pro. It offers a perfect mix of security and performance while maintain price at a reasonable level. Some may argue the cost of US$87 is pretty high for an 8GB USB drive, however we simply cannot do a direct comparison with other USB drives due to its features. While the DatAshur doesn’t show significant performance levels it makes up for it through its encryption & security features.
Overall the DatAshur is a solid device with its aluminum casing. It’s an ideal choice for all those looking for a portable solution to carry sensitive information.