Protect your most precious data with advanced data security.
There are few things more important than feeling safe. When we feel safe, we are comfortable and stress-free. When we are in a constant state of fear, we are always stressed and feel uneasy. One of our most precious commodities these days is data. In this digital world we live in, we are constantly moving data around and if we aren’t careful, that data could fall into the wrong hands. I do my best to make sure that my information is kept private as it should be. Lately, I’ve been looking into encrypted devices like the diskAshur DT2 from iStorage. It’s a desktop-class hard drive that comes equipped with PIN authentication and hardware encryption.
In the past couple of months, we have researched and reviewed two other products from iStorage — the iStorage datAshur Pro Encrypted Flash Drive and the iStorage DiskAshur Pro2 Secure Portable Hard Drive. The diskAshur DT2 is kind of like their big brother. The drive is hefty and not really designed to be portable even though with careful packaging, it could be transported from place to place. The DT2 comes in several different capacity sizes including: 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB. It transfers data at super speeds using USB 3.1.
Some of the main features include:
- Common Criteria EAL4+ ready on-board secure microprocessor
- Real-time military grade AES-XTS 256-bit Full-Disk Hardware Encryption
- FIPS PUB 197 Validated Encryption Algorithm (10X faster than USB 2.0)
- Encryption keys are always encrypted while at rest
- Brute Force Hack Defence Mechanism
- Tamper Proof
- Immune to BadUSB
- Epoxy coated wear resistant keypad
- No speed degradation – as fast as any non-encrypted USB 3.1 HDD
- Desk Lock Slot
- All components covered with a layer of super tough epoxy resin
- FIPS 140-2 Level 2, NLNCSA – Certifications pending
- No software or drivers required – 100% Hardware Encryption
- Read-Only (Write Protect) & Read/Write modes
- PIN authenticated – Supports Admin and User Independent PINs 7-15 digits in length
- Self Destruct Feature
- Drive Reset Feature for easy redeployment
- Super Speed USB 3.1
- Unattended Auto-Lock feature
- No admin rights needed
- OS & Platform Independent – Works on any device with a USB port
The hard drive is quite a bit larger than portable ones that I’m used to. To be honest, I either have the very small drives for portability or large RAID arrays for storing tons of data. This one is somewhere in between. I like how strong the case is. It’s made mostly out of metal — probably aluminum — but there is also a soft silicone strip in the center that makes it easy to grip the hard drive when needed.
This hard drive requires an external power source — 12V to be exact. It ships with a 12V AC adapter and has several different wall plug adapters for use in different countries. The device also ships with a USB 3.0 cable that has USB-A and USB-B ends. The USB-B, or square connector, is what connects to the drive. In addition to the cables, the diskAshur DT 2 comes with a quick start guide. This shortened manual really has everything you could need to get started, but if you need more information, the full manual is actually stored as a PDF on the drive itself.
Out of the box, the hard drive is formatted as NTFS. If you are a Windows user, then you can start using it straight away. But, if you are like me and have a MacBook Pro, then you will need to go through formatting process. First, you will need to unlock the drive using the default admin code found in the quick start guide. Once you unlock it, the drive will appear on your desktop like a regular mounted volume. You will open Disk Utility and select Erase. The first time you try to format the disk, you may receive an error message and when you remount the drive on your computer, your Mac will tell you that it’s not a readable disk. This is ok because you are going to erase the disk again. This time when you select Erase, you will want to choose Mac OS Journal – Extended with the GUID Partition option selected. Your hard drive will format in a few seconds and you can start using it right away. I would recommend pulling the manual off the drive before you format it so that you will have easy access to the full instructions if needed.
Now one of the most important things about a hard drive is how quickly data will transfer. As noted above, the DT 2 works from USB 3.1, which will transfer data at a rate of up to 10 Gbps. The spec sheet from iStorage states that the DT 2 will read at 225 MBps and Write at 223 MBps. While I didn’t quite get those speeds, I was able to achieve an average of 180 read/write. I tested the disk speed of the DT 2 using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and got the following results:
While this may not seem overly impressive, I compared this to the results of the speed test from the portable drive from iStorage and found that the DT 2 is almost 100 MBps faster on read/write speeds than the portable drive. That’s a heck of a jump in performance. A second test I did was to transfer a movie file (2.36 GB in size) from my Mac to the hard drive. The file transferred in 12.7 seconds.
I have quickly become a fan of iStorage in recent months. I love their secure data storage solutions and the designs of their products are sleek and not clunky. The keys are really easy to press on the DT 2 and I didn’t have any issues with the locking function of the drive. This is a great option for a secure hard drive.
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