SecureDrive BT assessment: Unlock this safe transportable SSD utilizing your cellphone

Should you’re a phone-centric person in search of a safe drive that matches your life-style, then you definately undoubtedly want to check out the SecureDrive BT SSD. In contrast to different safe drives, which depend on a keypad or an shopper app in your PC to unlock them, the SecureDrive BT makes use of an app and Bluetooth, the wi-fi connectivity that is out there on each fashionable cellphone and cellular machine.

Even past life-style and comfort, managing the drive utilizing your cellphone or cellular machine may additionally be probably the most safe strategy to do it. And that is what company and authorities patrons, the true audience, are extra involved with. 

Why the cellphone?

As I stated, the SecureDrive BT makes use of Bluetooth and the Android/iOS app for unlocking the drive. However it does not switch information through BT, so it is principally only a USB drive with a brand new method to entry. The drive, as all do, locks itself routinely when energy is eliminated, so you do not even want the app for that. Is that this method useful? I am not in any approach form or kind phone-centric, but I choose utilizing my cellphone for the duty for a number of causes.

For one factor, keypads on exhausting drives are hardly ever as simple to make use of as they give the impression of being. Typically, they’re designed to not present put on patterns (which make it simpler to steal PINs) and are not simple to press. I’ve mis-entered PINs extra occasions that I care to depend. However even with out put on patterns, traces out of your fingers are a lifeless giveaway to forensic execs.

Then there’s shopper software program, which is usually used to unlock and administrate safe drives. Personally, I might discover it extra handy if there have been some, as my computer systems have Bluetooth. However as SecureData, the seller, identified, software program is weak to key trackers and different exploits. If the corporate made it out there, some enterprising soul would, after all go, towards their very own firm’s coverage and set up it, so SecureData merely forgoes it. 

Additionally, some safe drive shopper software program I’ve seen goes to such nice lengths to stop hacking, by shifting the keyboard after each digit or another trick, that it is a colossal ache to make use of.  Far worse than pulling your cellphone out of your pocket and pecking a number of digits.

In fact, there are safe websites the place telephones aren’t allowed, so in that situation, you will want a safe drive sporting a keypad, one thing SecureData additionally makes.

CleveX

We even just like the SecureDrive BT’s packeging with its safe tabs and never tape.

Different benefits to the keypad-less method are a bit extra stealth and magnificence. The SecureDrive BT seems to be like your common drive, besides after all for the “safe drive” label. Okay, effectively at the least there is not any keypad to muck up the seems to be. I discovered the dark-blue mannequin I examined fairly enticing.

It is also somewhat slim for a safe drive. measuring roughly 5 inches lengthy, three inches large, and is simply shy of a half-inch thick. It is not notably gentle, because of the epoxy used to seal off elements and forestall tampering. I like its above-average heft. Some could not. 

I went hands-on with the $509, 1TB SSD mannequin (available from B&H), which as all of the models, is FIPS-140 Level 3 certified. That basically means the drive meets the federal government’s highest practical (no self-destruct) security standard for data storage. You can read more about FIPS here. The drive is also remote management-ready, and SecureData provides that service as a pay option. Additional SSD capacities are 250GB for $289, 500GB for $359, 4TB for $1,709, and 8TB for $3,309. 

Hard drive models are available as well, in 1TB, 2TB, and 5TB flavors for $259, $309, and $509, respectively. They’re relative bargains, though not as hardy as an SSD, and expensive compared to non-secure drives. Secure always costs more, especially if it’s FIPs certified, a somewhat expensive process.

Note: The SecureData BT is based on ClevX’s DataLock BT technology. You may see products from other vendors sporting it. Indeed, the phone app is called DataLock. Speaking of which…

The app

The iOS/Android app used to unlock the SecureDrive BT is simple and well done, allowing you to unlock the drive and perform administrative tasks such as changing the password, adding a timeout, etc. The app automatically recognizes the presence of SecureDrive BT drives, but you must “pair” the drive by entering an ID located just above the USB port. In my testing, the drive paired with Bluetooth quickly and reliably. After that, there’s not a lot involved.

datalock app 2 IDG

The SecureDrive BT phone app unlocks mated drives, and also lets you configure settings. 

Performance

With secure drives, factors are in play that don’t concern a plain-vanilla external drive. Encryption can slow performance, and makes the chip in the drive work much harder, producing more heat. The tamper-proofing epoxy surrounding components, if not done properly, can act as a blanket, inhibiting heat dissipation. If things get out of hand, the firmware will step in and slow things down, or may even throttle the drive from the get-go simply to avoid the situation entirely.

I’m not saying that’s why the SecureDrive BT is only USB 3.1 Gen 1/5Gbps SSD, rather than Gen 2/10Gbps, but the thought certainly occurred to me. Most recent external SSDs I’ve tested are Gen 2, which allows much greater throughput, as you’ll see in the charts. Not that the SecureDrive BT is slow…

Fortunately, while the encryption might affect performance slightly, I saw no heat-related throttling. I had no other USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) external SSDs to compare the SecureDrive BT to, but I can tell you that it is on a par with or better than the older Samsung T1, which was USB 3.0 5Gbps.  

datalock bt ssd cdm IDG

In terms of sustained throughput, the SecureDrive BT can’t match the non-secure SSDs it’s compared to, but it’s hardly a slow drive.

Don’t worry too much about these charts. They’re a bit of an unfair comparison given that the other two drives are USB 3.1 10Gbps. As you can see below, the SecureDrivek BT features much faster seek times. The caching and specifics of the internals weren’t provided, but it screams large cache. Whatever the reason…nice. 

datalock bt ssd as ssd IDG

If it didn’t score as well as the competition in sustained throughput, the SecureDrive BT cleaned their clocks when it came to seek times. They are most impressive for an external SSD. Shorter bars are better. 

The SecureDrive BT SSD actually fared a lot better against the Gen 2 competition that you might expect, outperforming them a couple of times. To be fair, the Kingston and the WD aren’t the fastest external SSDs available–that would be the Samsung T5. But the NAND in use and the way it’s treated have a lot to do with performance. ClevX obviously designed or chose theirs wisely.

datalock bt ssd 48 IDG

As indicated by its low seek numbers, the SecureDrive BT actually competed quite well in the file and folder test. And it proved a better writer than the Kingston. Shorter bars are better.

Clever

In many cases, phone apps are no more efficient for performing tasks than other means. They’re simply provided for users who can’t ditch their phones for a second without a panic attack. However, in the case of the SecureDrive BT, it makes a lot of sense, and is nearly as fast as a keypad. Throw in the idea that it’s quite likely the least hackable method of access, and you have a great product. Not cheap, but secure drives never are.

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