Review: Self-Encrypting External Hard Disk Drives

When evaluating secure, external, portable, hard-drives for yourself, the fundamental question is do you want a hardware- or a software-based device?

Data Locker Enterprise

Data Locker offer a second product in this category.  The Enterprise is very similar in appearance, but with enough feature differences to make worth consideration on its own.  The device is available in 500 GB and 1 TB versions.  Its rubber casing lends it a nice sturdy feel, but it doesn’t really cover over the front or the back surfaces, so you automatically wanted to be more careful with it than some of the other drives (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).  Its large glass screen is clear and easy to read, and for compatibility with older machines this device comes with an external power supply, as well as the more standard dual data and  power USB leads.

One of the main difference between the Enterprise and other products is the way it powers up.  This model includes a distinct ON/OFF slider switch.

Its setup menu is also laid out differently to the DL3.  Page one provides the ability to change the password, regenerate the encryption key or move on to other options.  Page two provides selections to turn on or off the random keypad and self-destruct options.

The password strength can be anything from 6 to 18 characters in length.  There is no setting for the minimum length on the Datalocker Enterprise as there is on the DL3.  An extra password feature included for this device is the ability to set a master password.  Using a tool downloaded from the Datalocker website you can set a master password before giving the device to an employee.  This will give you the ability to recover data if the user forgets their password, and also recover data in their absence—a nice inclusion.

The Datalocker Enterprise is just like the DL3 and the iStorage disk Genie in terms of usability once authentication has been approved.  You can easily drag and drop files to and from the device just as with any other drive.  While using the device, we didn’t find the keypad as convenient as the Datalocker DL3.  It was less responsive and required more retries of key presses to make them register.  We also found that the randomisation for this keypad only changed the direction of the rows, so 1, 2 and 3 still stayed together but instead ran in a different direction vertically or horizontally. 

The Datalocker Enterprise uses 256 bit AES CBC Mode encryption and much like the other devices, all the encryption processes are handled by the device internally with no external software.

The default setting on the device is to power down after three incorrect authentication attempts.  Turning the device off and back on again allows you to retry these again, and after 10 failed attempts the device will warn you of a reset.

The Datalocker Enterprise (or DL2 as it is also known) is a very capable device that offers everything you need to securely transport data, but it is somewhat over shadowed by its DL3 counterpart.  The keyboard is a little annoying after a while. You’d think that you had pressed the key correctly only to find you had missed typed the password.  Though it would meet anyone’s data transfer needs, we would probably choose the newer version.

Tags information securityreviewData Locker DL3CMS ABS Plus with DataguardCMS ABS Plus FDEencrypted hard disk drivesiStorage disk GenieEclypt FreedomData Locker Enterprise

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