Chris Dougherty, Contributor
Keeping your data safe. It might seem inconvenient, but it should be your primary concern.
Whether you work for a three-letter government agency or on top of a roof pounding nails, we all have sensitive information that we want to keep away from prying eyes. These days our most private data is stored on computer hard drives, from passwords to credit card details to sensitive documents and family photos.
A 2010 study by Kensington, a maker of anti-theft devices, claims that one laptop is stolen every 53 seconds.The study goes on to say that 1/10th of all laptops will eventually be lost or stolen. As a victim of theft, I know about the inconvenience of having a laptop full of sensitive data stolen from my home.
We may not always be able to keep our data from being lost or stolen, but we can take steps to limit the amount of information that is exposed if someone else gets their hands on our computer equipment.
The use of encrypted hard drives has always been something that most people believe was reserved for government agencies and military personnel. However, now that manufacturing costs are dropping, hardware-based encryption technology is rapidly growing as an easy alternative to help computer users keep their data safe in the event of loss or theft.
Encrypted hard drives provide data security by encoding information in such a way that unauthorized users cannot read it, but authorized parties can. Generally all encrypted hard drives will provide some sort of password protection but some offer additional features such as RFID or biometric two-factor authentication.
I was able to find six manufacturers that make encrypted external hard drives that are all secure, affordable and work right out of the box:
Aegis Padlock 3.0 1TB
ThinkPad USB 3.0 1TB
Buslink CipherShield 1TB
Kanguru Defender 1TB
Imation (IronKey) Defender H100 1TB
All of the above drives provide military grade ‘AES 256-bit’ encryption and connect to your computer via a simple USB cable. I have personally used the Datalocker DL3 unit and love all the features that it comes with. From the digital keypad to the secure-wipe and self destruct functionality, this one deserves a further look.
Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing as many of the above drives as I can, provided I can get demos from all of the manufacturers. DataLocker has already sent me one of their drives so look for a review of their DL3 encrypted drive over the next couple of days.
In the end encryption won’t keep your hard drive from getting lost or stolen, but it is an effective security layer that you can employ in the constant fight to keep your private data safe from prying eyes.