But not only is the area password protected, all the data in this area is secured with 256-bit hardware-based encryption. This means that if someone tried to mine the data from the device without using the password, it would be as good as useless to them. Of course you’re probably sitting there wondering why you’d go to the trouble of trying to circumvent the password, when it’s easier to just crack it, but Kingston has thought of that too. You can set a maximum number of password failures before the DataTraveler Secure completely locks down. Once the device is locked down, the only thing you can do is reformat it, destroying all the data as you do so – the point being that if someone has VERY sensitive data, they’d rather have it destroyed than have it fall into the wrong hands!
You also get the MyTraveler utility on the device, which allows you to synchronise you’re My Documents folder, IE Favorites or any personal folders on your PC. The upshot being that you’ve always got a complete copy of your important files in your pocket, without having to manually copy them over – assuming that everything you need can fit into the 4GB of space that is.
Performance wise the DataTraveler is no slouch either. Compared to the Lexar FireFly I reviewed last week, the DataTraveler Secure is, quite simply, lightning fast. Writing a 351MB video file to the DataTraveler took a mere 40 seconds, compared to three minutes 15 seconds on the 4GB Lexar key. Reading the same file back took 40 seconds on the Lexar but only 17 seconds on the Kingston key. Copying multiple files proved even more impressive though. While the Lexar FireFly took a tardy 15 minutes 25 seconds to write 238MB of digital images, and my SwissBit key took a far more reasonable two minutes 15 seconds, the DataTraveler blew them both away by performing the same task in only 40 seconds. Reading the same files back on the Lexar, SwissBit and Kingston keys took 27, 24 and 22 seconds respectively.
So, not only is the Kingston DataTraveler Secure one of the most secure USB memory keys available, it’s also one of the fastest. With all these great features and impressive performance, you’re probably thinking that this device won’t come cheap and I’m not about to disappoint you. Although I couldn’t find anyone stocking the 4GB version yet, Kingston quoted me a price of £177, which is a lot of money when you consider that you can get a standard 4GB USB key for about £60.
But ultimately you’ve got to ask yourself how valuable your data is to you. If there is nothing more important than keeping your data safe and with you at all times, you’ll probably be willing to pay for the privilege. And that leaves the DataTraveler in a bit of a niche – if you need it, it’s a must have product, but if you don’t you can save yourself a huge amount of cash and look elsewhere.
If you work with very sensitive data that you’d rather not leave on your PC, but still need to be totally secure, the DataTraveler Secure will be a godsend. You can keep all of your files in a password protected, encrypted partition that pretty much self destructs when attacked. If you’re not totally paranoid about your data though, there are far cheaper memory keys available that are just as physically robust as this one.