SecureData Managed Hardware Devices

9.3 SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

Pros

  • Hardware lightweight, but robust
  • Efficient for data transfer
  • Great option for secure mobile data

Cons

  • Remote management can be difficult to set-up
Design
Ease of Use
Price

Drives provide an encrypted option for portable storage. 

I work in an industry where privacy is not only expected, but it’s also required. In the non-profit sector, and in marketing, in particular, you end up being a privilege to a lot of sensitive data and it’s good to have a secure way to transport it from place to place. It’s especially handy to be able to have the option to remotely lock down and erase a portable hard drive should it fall into the wrong hands. While I’ve worked with secure/encrypted hard drives before, I’ve never really seen anything like this before and I was excited to work with the SecureDrive BT Managed hard drive and SecureUSB BT Managed Flash Drive from SecureData. 

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

DETAILS 

These two devices — SecureDrive BT Managed hard drive and SecureUSB BT Managed Flash Drive — are designed to provide a secure option for storing information on portable drives. The drives feature Military Grade AES256 bit encryption and it’s the only hardware encrypted drive with user authorization via DataLock app. These two drives are the only hardware options on the market with software free remote management capabilities. Once the hard drive is added to the DataLock Remote Management and it’s lost or stolen, the data can be crypto erased remotely. The SecureDrive and SecureUSB will work with any host operating system (Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Thin Clients, Zero Clients, Android, and embedded systems). The SecureDrive BT is certified secure with FIPS 140-2 Level 3 and the SecureUSB BT has a FIPS compliant design.

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SPECS

  • SecureDrive BT Managed hard drive
    • Unlock via mobile App.
    • 12.5mm (1TB & 2TB HDD), (256GB-8TB SSD)
    • 20.5MM (up to 5TB HDD)
    • FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Validated: Certificate #3349
    • Award Winning: CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree
    • Hardware Encryption – AES256-bit XTS
    • OS Independent. Works across and with any OS and Devices
    • User Authentication via mobile phoneDataLock® app – iOSAndroid (TouchID, FaceID for Apple only)
    • Admin/User Mode, Read-Only Mode, Auto-Lock
    • Remote management included
    • 2 Year Limited Warranty
  • SecureUSB BT Managed Flash Drive
    • 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options
    • Award Winning: CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree
    • Hardware Encryption – AES256-bit XTS
    • OS Independent. Works across and with any OS and Devices
    • User Authentication via mobile phoneDataLock® app – iOSAndroid (TouchID, FaceID for Apple only)
    • Admin/User Mode, Read-Only Mode, Auto-Lock
    • FIPS Compliant Design
    • Remote management included
    • 3 Year Limited Warranty

USER EXPERIENCE

Being that these are encrypted storage drives that are controlled by a mobile phone app, I want to point out that going into the set-up I expected there to be a few hiccups. I knew there were more steps to the process than just plugging the drive into my computer and copying files. What I didn’t expect was to have to jump through hoops because of the system I was using. 

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

To test out these drives, I was using my iPhone and MacBook Pro. The Remote Management side of this process is a web interface and can be accessed from any web browser. That said, the Secure Drive and Secure USB arrived formatted as MS-DOS (FAT32). Now, this format will work with both Windows and Mac operating systems, but it has the limitation of a maximum file size of 4GB for transferring. It’s not conducive for all types of use, so after provisioning the drives to use with the Remote Management system, I formatted the drives as exFAT which can store files as large as 16 EB. This file type is still functional across many operating systems including Windows, macOS, Linux, and some Android devices.

NOTE: I did attempt – with the help of SecureData support – to format the drives I received as MacOS Extended (Journaled) and when I did, the drive wasn’t recognizable by the rest of the SecureData system (apps or Remote Management). 

As I mentioned, I’ve worked with encrypted drives before, but I’ve never worked with ones that could be remotely managed. THAT is why the SecureDrive hardware was so intriguing to me. So, let me back up a few steps and outline how I got the drives set-up and then I’ll talk about their performance. 

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SET-UP

The first thing you will notice that you need to do when you plug in the drive is to unlock it. To do this, you will need to download the DataLock app or the DataLock Admin app for your mobile device. If you intend to use the Remote Management tool, you should start with the DataLock Admin app.

If you just plan on using the hard drive by itself without the remote management, then you can simply pair it to your mobile device using the instructions in the DataLock app. You will be asked to log into the drive using the default password provided in the Quick Start Guide. At this point, the drive’s LED display will show a green lock that is open indicating the drive is ready for use. The hard drive (or flash drive) should appear on your computer at this point and you can use it normally.

For use with Remote Management (RM), you will need to enroll for remote management at datalockrm.clevxapps.com/AccountRegister. Once you have enrolled and have administrative privileges, you can log into the Remote Management dashboard. This is where you will be able to view all drives on the account that can be managed. At this point, you will use the DataLock Admin app to provision the drive and assign it to the RM account. The only thing I don’t like about the part of the process is that every time you log into the RM dashboard, you have to enter a security code for two-step verification.

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

Because I was using a MacBook Pro to test out this drive, I received an error message on my screen once the drive was unlocked and being read by my computer that said the drive needed to be initialized. This is where I found that I needed to format the drive either as exFAT or FAT32. After the drive was formatted, the icon for it appeared on my desktop and I could use it normally. 

One of the things to remember about the RM system is that it’s intended for an IT professional to manage. It’s not typically something that most people would use for personal use. Many businesses would like to be able to control the devices they lend out to their employees for business use. We actually just had an instance at work where an employee resigned from a position and ended up withholding their loaned equipment (a computer, projector, wireless air card, and some accessories) for a short period of time. They eventually returned them, but we weren’t sure if the equipment was going to come back at all because of the unusual behavior that the employee exhibited after she left the company. That’s the type of instance where being able to remotely reset a hard drive if it holds confidential information on it would be helpful. Sometimes it makes more sense to erase sensitive information then let it fall into the wrong hands. 

After the drive has been provisioned and set-up for a user, that user can then use the DataLock Managed app to access it. This app is very similar to the DataLock app where it simply unlocks the drive for use. The difference with the Managed app is that you have to have a specific login credentials to unlock it. And, once you have provisioned the hard drive or USB drive, the DataLock app will tell you that it cannot open it because it’s been provisioned. 

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

PERFORMANCE

When I test out a hard drive for performance, I usually run three tests: Blackmagic Speed Test, AJA System Test, and a data transfer speed test. After provisioning and unlocking both the Secure Drive and Secure USB for use, I completed these three tests for each device. 

Data Transfer: For this test, I transferred a compressed file that was 6.34GB and timed it using the stop watch on my iPhone. Even though there is a slight margin for human error when it comes to starting/stopping the stopwatch, I’ve found the timing to be pretty accurate. 

  • Secure Drive – The file transferred in 21.64 seconds. This averages out to 292.9 MB/s. 
  • Secure USB – The file transferred in 52.44 seconds. This averages out to 120.9 MB/s. 

Blackmagic Speed Test: This utility app allows you to select the stress test size so I chose the 5GB test for both drives. The test shows you an average read/write time for the drive you are testing along with how well certain video files will process on it. I have included the screenshot of each test below. 

Secure Drive SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEWSecure USB

AJA System Test: This test allows you to specifically test a certain video file type to see how well the drive would perform with it. For each drive, I tested how well it would perform with a 1080p video file and a 4K Full Frame video file. As with the Blackmagic Speed Test, I’ve included the screenshots of the tests below. 

Secure Drive 

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

Secure USB

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

SecureData Managed Hardware Devices REVIEW

CONCLUSION

The SecureData encrypted hardware (Secure Drive and Secure USB) are solid investments for portable data security. The devices work well and even though it might take some time to get used to the way the ‘system’ works, it’s well-worth the effort. I do wish that the RM side of this was a little more user-friendly, but I do understand that it’s really set-up for administrators and not the everyday user. I like that these drives give you the option to remotely reset them and treat them like other remote devices. I also like that the physical hardware seems to be very robust. The case of the hard drive and the USB drive are both aluminum, but still lightweight. I didn’t notice any issues with heat with the Secure Drive, but from time to time (depending on what I was doing) the USB drive did get a bit warm. I can recommend these drives if you are looking for something more secure for your data. 

For more information, visit https://www.securedrive.com/store
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