Security company iStorage has recently released an updated version of its encrypted USB flash drive, the DatAshur Pro C.
People and organisations interested in safeguarding sensitive information have plenty of storage options, but selecting the right one will depend on several factors.
Portability is an important factor. An encryption solution tied to a specific operating system (OS) limits its use, making it impossible to access data unless you use the same OS. Forget about accessing your data if you suddenly have a computer running a different OS or even a mobile phone.
Solutions that rely on installing third-party software are also limiting because they depend on platform availability, and the software may not be available to run on the platform you have at hand. Or you may be unable to install non-approved software on your company's computers.
Another factor is support for security standards. Those can be either support for robust encryption algorithms or physical tampering resistance.
iStorage recently released the DatAshur Pro C, an updated version of its password-protected, hardware-encrypted DatAshur Pro storage flash drive.
With a new USB Type C adapter, the DatAshur Pro C is even more flexible, working with personal computers and mobile devices.
Because the encryption (AES-XTS 256 bit) is hardware-based and on-device, it is compatible with any operating system you might be running, not requiring software installation.
Setting user and admin passwords (or changing settings is done through a built-in alphanumeric rubber keypad, with feedback via three LEDs (power on, locked, unlocked).
Operation is pretty simple. On first use, you will set a user password. To connect the DatAshur Pro C, you first turn it on and enter the password you've created. The unlock LED will change to green, and you can then plug it into your computer or phone. If you don't plug it into a USB Type C port within a certain time, it will lock itself again and turn off.
When inserted, the device will be recognised automatically as a new drive and ready to use.
When you eject (or remove) it, the DatAshur Pro C will automatically lock and turn off again without you having to do anything. It will also lock and turn off if the operating system does not use the drive after some time.
Straightforward operation, but also very powerful. It has a built-in brute force defence mechanism to erase its contents after a user-defined number of incorrect attempts at guessing the password.
In addition to the user password, the DatAshur Pro C also has an admin password, so the organisation can create and enforce policies (for example, timeout lock time) that align with their security needs. Those passwords can be anywhere from eight to fifteen characters long.
iStorage has built the DatAshur Pro C with an aluminium body and a tamper-evident design. The internal components are covered with epoxy resin to prevent direct access to the hardware. It is FIPS PUB 197 validated and FIPS 140-3 Level 3 compliant, supporting those U.S. government computer security standards.
The company is awaiting IP68 certification for the DatAshur Pro C, meaning it should protect against dust ingress and water submersion up to one meter for up to 30 minutes.
Measuring 73.8 mm x 20.25 mm x 10.7 mm, the DatAshur Pro C is within the expected size for a USB data drive with a keypad. It weighs approximately 25 grams making it easy to have it on a keychain if needed.
There is a range of storage sizes available, and while I received a 128 GB device for testing, 32 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB options are available.
Regarding data transfer, it's rated for up to 310 MB/s read and 246 MB/s write, which is also an update from its previous version, although, in my tests, the benchmark apps reported speeds lower than those. It's not unexpected because this measurement will vary from computer to computer and be affected by other software interacting at the time.
Also interesting to note is that since the DatAshur Pro C is unlocked before you connect it to your computer, you can use it to boot your device, meaning you can have a secure live OS copy with you all the time.
The DatAshur Pro C is an exciting update to an excellent security product.