Secure to the core.
Data security is a very popular subject matter these days. It seems like there isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t hear about some sort of data breach. Even though you might think your information is secure because it’s only stored on your home computer, you should think again. DataLocker specializes in creating encryption solutions for your most valuable information. In fact, DataLocker holds more than 15 patents on encryption technologies that are used throughout the industry. I’ve had the privilege of working with DataLocker devices before and I’m excited to look at their DL4 FE Encrypted Drive.
The DL4 FE is a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified portable hard drive. It’s built around AES 256-bit cryptographic hardware architecture that can intelligently change its security posture based on its location, how it’s being used, and the type of data being stored on it. The device is TAA compliant and is available in larger capacities (up to 15.3 TB). In addition to the FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification, the hard drive also employs admin policies and user data recovery. If a user forgets their password, an admin can unlock it with their admin password. There is nothing to install with this hard drive — all encryption, administration, and authentication is performed on the unit itself. Brute force password protection is included as well as SilentKill, which allows users to destroy stored data by entering a specific code. The DL4 FE also has access to some managed features through SafeConsole. Those features include remote detonation, onboard anti-malware, audit capabilities, and data geofencing.
|CAPACITIES||SSD: 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB, 7.6 TB, 15.3 |
TB HDD: 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
|DIMENSIONS||L: 12.3 cm W: 7.7 cm H: 2.1 cm|
L: 4.8’’ W: 3’’ H: .82’’
|WEIGHT||.65 lb / 294 grams and up|
|PHYSICAL SECURITY||Kensington Security Slot™|
Hardened internals and enclosure
|CRYPTOGRAPHIC PROCESS||FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Device* (certification pending), AES 256 Bit XTS cryptographic module|
Integrates a Common Criteria EAL 5+ certified secure microprocessor (certification pending)
|INTERFACE||USB-C on the device, compatible with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 (8 TB drives and under)|
(USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to USB-C cables included)
|TRANSFER SPEEDS||USB C 3.2: 150MB/s read, 100 MB/s write|
USB 2.0: 40Mb/s Read, 20MB/s Write
|STANDARDS AND CERTIFICATION||TAA Compliance|
|MANAGEMENT COMPATIBILITY||Microsoft Windows|
|OS COMPATIBILITY||Microsoft Windows, macOS®, Linux® or any machine that supports a USB mass storage device.|
|DEVICE LANGUAGES||English, French, German, Spanish|
|WARRANTY||3-year limited warranty|
The hard drive comes in t a silver box with a security seal on it. The security seal has the name of the product stamped on it but it’s not found anywhere else on the box. This was a little off-putting to me because it made it hard to figure out what product was in the box. If this was on a retail shelf somewhere, it would have been looked over by consumers. On the inside of the box, you’ll find the hard drive, a USB-C to USB-C cable, a USB-C to USB-A cable, and a small zippered pouch for storage. There is a QR code inside the box that takes you to the DataLocker website. On the product page for the DL4 FE, you will find the user manual and datasheet.
Set-up is fairly simple. You plug the drive into your computer and after the drive performs its self-test you will be prompted to create a password. The screen is a touchscreen, but not like a smartphone. You have to use a stylus or the tip of your finger to ensure there is firm contact with the screen. Once the password has been entered correctly, you have connected normally or using the ‘read-only’ mode. You can also access the settings on the drive by tapping on the gear icon.
One of the things I like about this hard drive is that after you enter the password, it functions as a standard hard drive would. There is no need for additional software. Given that it operates like a standard hard drive after you access it, I performed a few speed tests on it. I ran two utility tests – Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and AJA System Test Lite – as well as completed a real-world drag and drop speed test. The results are listed in the table below. The speeds I recorded from the utility tests actually exceed the expectations set forth in the drive’s specs while the real-world drag and drop test (140 MB/s transfer speed) was a little slower than expected.
|Blackmagic Disk Speed Test||227 MB/s||241 MB/s|
|AJA 1080P||196 MB/s||244 MB/s|
|AJA 4K Full||227 MB/s||243 MB/s|
|AJA 5K Red||222 MB/s||244 MB/s|
The touchscreen seems to be very responsive. I was concerned about that at first, but I haven’t had many issues with missed keystrokes. The only thing that ends up being tricky for the user is that the keypad is constantly shifting. This is part of the security features of the drive – and it’s actually a pretty cool feature – but it took me by surprise when I went to unlock the drive the second time and the letters and numbers weren’t where I expected them to be.
I love all the features of this secured hard drive. It is quite a bit heavier than other portable hard drives in its class, but that’s understandable given the additional security features of the drive. One of my favorite aspects of this product is the fact that you don’t have to have additional software in order to operate it. All the encryption is built into the hard drive so you don’t have to worry about bloat-ware being added to your computer in order to work with the hard drive. That also means you can use it with any computer – not just the one where software is loaded. The only drawback to this hard drive is its price. The 1TB model comes in just over $400. That’s a hefty price tag for a hard drive this size (other non-encrypted SSDs are closer to $125), but you are paying for the built-in encryption technology and your peace of mind. The functions of this hard drive make it worth the investment.