We recently told you about the iStorage diskAshur PRO2 Portable Hard Drive (read our review here.) With its built in AES-256 Hardware Encryption and tamper proof case design, it is thought to be the most secure portable hard drive on the market. If you need to make absolutely sure your data is safe but don’t want or need the capacity that a portable hard drive provides, consider the iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive.
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Apple Tech Talk Scorecard
|AES-XTS-256 Bit Hardware Encryption||Expensive|
|Dust-proof and water-proof cover included|
|Can have both admin and regular user PINs.|
iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive – Unboxing
The iStorage datAshur PRO USB flash drive comes packed in a blister pack card and contains the iStorage datAshur PRO USB flash drive, the extruded aluminum cover and a Quick Start Guide. That is really all you need to start using the basic functions of the drive.
For a full understanding of everything the iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive can do, you should download the 23 page User Manual from the iStorage web site (direct link here.)
The iStorage datAshur USB fFlash Drive is a bit longer than most flash drives you are probably accustomed to, measuring 78mm x 18mm x 8mm. The included extruded aluminum cover adds about 2mm to each dimension. That is a little over three (3) inches, which really isn’t that much bigger than a foldable flash drive that is in the open position, and at 25 grams (a little less than an ounce), you can easily carry it in your pocket.
The aluminum cover slides over the entire drive and mates with a rubber gasket located at the bottom of the drive. You need a fair bit of force to make sure the cover is on completely. Once it is, the iStorage datAshure PRO is sealed against dust and water infiltration and is IP57 certified.
There is also a metal loop on the bottom edge of the drive, which acts as a grab point so you can pull the drive out of the protective cover. The connector on the top of the loop unscrews to allow you to attach the drive to a key ring.
The iStorage datAshur PRO is a USB 3.0 device and rated for read speeds of 139 MB per second and write speeds of 43 MB per second. It is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.
Even if you had no idea what this was, one look would tell you that there is something special about this flash drive. The top has a red and green LED followed by a keypad with ten (10) individual numeric keys and a larger KEY button and finally a blue LED
iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive – Test Results
Similar to any hard drive or USB flash drive, there really isn’t much to test on the iStorage datAshur PRO. Once it is unlocked, it either works or it doesn’t.
Out of the package, the iStorage datAshur PRO has a default PIN of 1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4. To get started using the drive you press the KEY button and all the LEDS will flash together one time and then the red LED will continue to blink. Within 10 seconds, enter the default PIN, and then press the KEY Button again. The red LED will turn solid and then change to the green LED. You then have 30 seconds to connect the drive to a USB port. The green LED should remain solid and the blue LED will flicker and then turn solid.
If you don’t connect the drive to a USB port within the 30 seconds time, the drive will automatically lock again and you will need to unlock it again before it can be used.
That probably sounds like a lot to remember but once you do it a couple of times, the color and activity of the LEDs becomes less important than knowing the key combinations. We found that the LEDs became more of a confirmation of the drive status.
Once unlocked, the iStorage datAshur PRO acts like any other flash drive and we had no issues using it.
iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive – PINs
One of the first things you need to do is change the default PIN. The new PIN can be between 7 – digits in length and you can use a combination of words and numbers by referencing the letters that are associated with the number keys. Keep in mind that you are not selecting a specific letter on the key so, for example, you would press the 2 key for any of the letters a, b or c.
The PIN must not contain only repetitive numbers, like 4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4, and must not contain only consecutive numbers like, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.
The iStorage datAshur PRO also has the ability to have a separate PIN for a User and an Administrator. An Admin PIN is useful as it allows you to recover data from a drive if the User PIN has been forgotten, the drive is being assigned to a new user, or you want to restrict a User to Read-Only access. These are all very important options in a corporate environment.
iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive – Other Features
In addition to the ability to set separate PINs for a User and an Admin and make the drive Read-Only, there are other features that help to protect your data.
Timeout Lock – once the iStorage datAshur PRO is connected to a USB port, it remains unlocked until it is ejected or you manually lock it. That can leave your data exposed if you step away from your computer. To reduce that risk, you can enable an automatic Timeout Lock, which will lock down the drive at a predetermined interval between 1 and 99 minutes. By default, this feature is turned off which you can do by setting the Timeout Lock period to zero minutes.
Override Read-Only mode – Even a non-Admin can set the drive in Read-Only mode. Another reason to have an Admin PIN is the ability to over-ride the Read-Only mode set by a User. Entering the Admin PIN on a Read-Only drive will erase the User PIN and allow the Admin to reset the drive to Read/Write, without losing the data.
Brute Force Hacking Detection – If both the Admin and User PINS have been set up and a User enters the wrong PIN ten (10) consecutive times, the iStorage datAshur PRO will activate the brute force protection and the User PIN will be deleted. The data will remain on the drive but can then only be accessed by entering the correct Admin PIM.
If the incorrect Admin PIN is entered 10 consecutive times, both the User and Admin PINs are erased along with the encryption key and all of the data on the drive. To use the iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive again, you will need to create a new PIN and then reformat it, which resets the internal encryption key.
By default, the iStorage datAshur PRO comes formatted in FAT32, which makes it easy to work across different platforms. If you know you will only be using this on a Mac, you can elect to format the drive in HFS+ or even the new APFS recently introduced by Apple, to avoid the file size and name restrictions in the older Windows based format.
iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive – Who Is It For?
With all of these features and high level of data security, who is the iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive intended for?
First and foremost, we think any businessperson who needs their data to be mobile and easily transferred to others, needs the iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive. With all of the data beaches we hear about in the news, no company can afford to suffer a theft of their data. While the price of the iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive is more than a typical USB flash drive, it cannot compare to the cost associated with a theft of important business data.
But we don’t see this as a product limited to business use. We know lots of people that have misplaced, or worse, had a flash drive stolen. With people storing and sharing more and more valuable data, the need to protect it applies to everyone.
The Bottom Line
With its AES-XTS-256 hardware based encryption, Admin and User PINs and brute force hacking protection, the iStorage datAshur PRO USB Flash Drive is perfect for carrying and sharing important and sensitive data on-the-go.
For a small additional fee, you can have the cover imprinted with a name or corporate logo, available directly from the iSorage web site.
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