iStorage datAshur Personal2 USB Secure Flash Drive Review

The perfect secure storage solution?

• Requirements: Any available USB port, OS independent; USB 3.0 for best results

Security and privacy are without a doubt two of the most talked about words in the media today. If it’s not something to do with your person, it’s the ongoing fight against the Snoopers Charter and its like. However, security and privacy isn’t always about the war against a Machiavellian government; often it’s simply about keeping information out of the hands of others.

In recent years, there have been far too many reports of people leaving or losing memory sticks, portable hard drives and even laptops where personal information is held. Health records, financial data, addresses, names, telephone numbers, bank account details, company project details… you name it, it’s probably been left on a train at some point.

¡Storage has for many years now offered a hardware encrypted solution for those who are required to carry around sensitive data with them. The newest addition to the list of already impressive products is the datAshur Personal, a regular sized USB 3.0 flash drive complete with a 10-digit PIN code.

Available in four different capacities (8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB), this USB 3.0 device is perhaps the most secure device of its kind we’ve ever used. The PIN code can be configured from seven up to 15 digits to lock the device, together with a military grade XTS-AES 256-bit hardware encryption that encrypts all the data written to the device in real-time.

In addition to the above, the admin can set a read-only option for a user account, limiting the device’s contents to stop any accidental overwriting or additional writing, and the device can have a timeout function set from between one to 99 minutes. There’s even a brute force detection routine included in the Personal, whereby ten unsuccessful attempts at accessing the user PIN will result in the device locking and deleting the user PIN, and ten consecutive unsuccessful attempts at the admin PIN will result in the deleting of both user and admin PINs and the deletion of any data held on the Personal device, returning it to a factory default state.

The Personal itself measures 83 x 17.4 x 8.6mm and weighs just 20g. One side houses the 10-digit PIN buttons along with a Lock button and three LEDS, indicating locked, unlocked and the state the device is in while the admin programs the PIN codes. The opposite side features either the black plastic casing or, for a small payment, an aluminium plate with your name or company logo laser etched on it.

Operating the Personal is very easy: you simply enter the PIN code, either admin or user, and insert it into an available USB port. When you’re ready to lock the device and its contents, make sure everything is written and unplug it. The Personal will self-lock and will be secured until unlocked. Incidentally, the Personal is OS independent and compatible with everything from PCs to printers, scanners, CCTV, medical equipment and even thin clients.

Transfer speeds are surprisingly good too. When used in a USB 3.0 port, the Personal managed 169MB/S read and 107MB/S write with the 8192KB ATTO benchmark. The smaller 4KB benchmark was measured at 27MB/S read and 25MB/S write.

We are remarkably impressed with the iStorage datAshur Personal. We even like the personal touch with the aluminium plate.

If you’re in the business of holding onto mission-critical, sensitive data or you just want a secure storage medium in home, then the Personal is the ideal device, mm David Hayward

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