Be your own spy with the datAshur Pro.

When I was younger one of my favorite movies was Cloak & Dagger. It was kind of a cheesy movie from 1948 that starred Dabney Coleman and Henry Thomas. The plot is based on the story of a young boy (Thomas) who finds himself in possession of top secret military secrets hidden within a video game. I always thought it was such a cool idea to have hidden data with a common source — like a video game. Well, we now have super cool spy gadgets that fit in the palm of our hand. Five year-old me was just tickled with glee when the datAshur Pro from iStorage arrived and I had my very own Cloak & Dagger spy gear.

The datAshur Pro is so much more than just a ‘gadget’ — it’s a very powerful data storage tool. datAshur Pro is a USB 3.0 Flash Drive with capacities up to 64GB. I have the 4GB version of it and have found that for secure documents (maybe not video or large volumes of photos), this is the ideal size. Because it’s a USB 3.0 flash drive, the datAshur Pro should operate at speeds of up to 116 MB/s read and 43 MB/s write. The datAshur Pro is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated and FIPS PUB 197 certified. The flash drive features military grade AES 256-bit hardware encryption and because it works through a keypad, it’s not susceptible to key logger attacks. The drive is compatible with all system types and can even be used as a bootable drive.

iStorage datashur Pro Encrypted Flash Drive REVIEW

The datAshur Pro arrives in a pneumatically sealed plastic packaging. I have never been a fan of this type of package as it’s much too hard to open. I feel that it somewhat taints the first impression of the product. That said, once I got the package open, I was able to pull out the flash drive body and its aluminum cover. With the cover, this flash drive is actually waterproof (rated IP57). The flash drive comes in one color — royal blue — but you have the option to get it customized by engraving the cover with a name or even a company logo. iStorage actually also offers pre-programmed datAshur Pros as well. In addition to the cover and the body, you will also find the Quick Start Guide, which actually gives you most of the details you need. It shows you how to unlock the device, mount it on your computer, and how to reset the passcode. There is a full user manual included on the flash drive or available through the iStorage website.

iStorage datashur Pro Encrypted Flash Drive REVIEW

Even though the primary function of the datAshur Pro is an encrypted drive, it has a lot more functions aside from just a simple passcode to unlock it. You can set an admin and standard user account, set timeout limits, enable ‘read only’ or ‘read/write’ options for users. These are primarily going to be used it you are using the flash drives in a corporate setting. The IT Administrator would probably be the ‘admin’ and they would set up the user passcode as well as the limits on it. In addition to these options, you can also reset the entire drive in the event of a brute force attack (10 failed PIN attempts). This will, of course, end up deleting all existing data and resetting all features to default.

The basic operation of the flash drive is to enter the PIN number, press the lock button, plug the flash drive into your computer, and then unplug it from your computer to automatically lock the flash drive. After I unlocked the drive a few times and connected it to my computer, I decided to run some endurance tests on it. What I did a fairly standard for flash drive testing, which is why I did it. I wanted to see if the datAshur behaved like nonencrypted ones do.

iStorage datashur Pro Encrypted Flash Drive REVIEW

The first thing I did was transfer a folder containing a couple of video files from my computer onto the datAshur Pro. I have a 2016 MacBook Pro so I had to use an adapter and my dock for this testing (my computer only has USB-C ports on it). The file had a total of 3.27GBs on it. First, I used the USB-A to USB-A adapter by Moshi to transfer the files. The file transferred in 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Next, I plugged the datAshur Pro into a USB 3.0 port on my Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock. I had a slightly better transfer time of 3 minutes and 35 seconds with the same file. The only difference in the two connections was that one was strictly a USB-C while the other actually transferred through Thunderbolt 3. Next, I decided to run a Blackmagic Speed Test on the drive. I have included the screen shots of the test results below. The test results were virtually identical so I’m left a little baffled about why one type of connection had an advantage over the other. That said, I was very happy to see that at the 3GB threshold on the Blackmagic test, the drive performed according to its specs. One thing to note is that you might find that up against another USB 3.0 drive that isn’t encrypted, the datAshur may be a bit slower. That is because in addition to the read/write function it’s also working through hardware encryption. The speed might suffer a bit, but not so much that the datAshur isn’t worth investing in.

iStorage datashur Pro Encrypted Flash Drive REVIEWiStorage datashur Pro Encrypted Flash Drive REVIEW

After I concluded my endurance testing, I played around with some of the other features of the flash drive including enabling the read only/read-write functions of the drive, setting a timeout limit, and resetting the password. The instructions in the user manual are very clear and concise. It does take a bit of time to master the operations of the datAshur, but once you do, you will see exactly how valuable the drive is. It’s important to note that the drive does have a rechargeable battery internally for the purpose of being able to unlock the drive prior to plugging it into your computer. I don’t know how large the battery is because the capacity is not noted within the instructions.

iStorage datashur Pro Encrypted Flash Drive REVIEW

If you work in a profession that requires discretion or you just need to keep trade secrets safe, the datAshur is really a great option for this information. Because it’s a flash drive, you can carry it with you anywhere and rest assured that your data is secure. My only complaint is that the keys are very small and that can make it very hard to press the buttons accurately. That said because it’s a flash drive, I don’t really see how the keys could be any larger. The datAshur Pro is a very nice investment in data security.

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