Data. Can't live with it, can't live without it. We're sure you can all understand why we can't live without it, but you may be curious why we say we can't live with it. The problem with data is not the data itself but rather the users of that data. More accurately, we should say that the real problem (or challenge or opportunity, depending on your perspective) is the protection of and access to that data. A fine line exists between providing authorized users simple, unencumbered access to sensitive personal or company data and keeping unauthorized eyes from seeing that same data.
In a personal setting, data protection may not be much of a concern to you, but with identity theft so prevalent today, an increasing number of people are trying to secure the data they keep on storage devices. In a corporate setting, the threat of sensitive data getting in the wrong hands is very serious. That threat comes in many forms, from hacking to lost data (usually in the form of misplaced or stolen PDAs, laptops and USB flash drives). Hacking is something that companies try to stop at the perimeter and monitor for internally. Physical loss of technology devices that help users do their jobs is a different kind of challenge, though.
Information technology (IT) departments can tell their customers to not to put the company's sensitive data on CDs, local hard drives or flash drives all day long everyday, but that's not going to stop it from happening. Additionally, IT departments can utilize whole-disk encryption to ensure that a lost laptop is exponentially tougher to extract data from than one without encryption, but that doesn't stop a user from putting a top secret marketing plan on an unencrypted flash drive.
One possible solution to the flash drive dilemma hit our labs last week in the form of Corsair's new Flash Padlock, which is a PIN-protected USB flash drive. Intrigued? So were we, which is why we are bringing you this article today. Before you can access the data on this drive, you have to enter a personal identification number, or PIN. It sounds like a clever solution, but does it work? Join us as we seek to answer that question and to see if the Flash Padlock makes it a little easier to live with with data.
¤ Auto-Locking – Self locking after removal from computer
¤ Customizable PIN – Set your own PIN and make it easy to remember
¤ Easy to Use – Direct keypad access and indicator lights make locking/unlocking simple
¤ Plug and Play – Hardware based security works without installing or running software
¤ Platform independent – Works on Windows, MAC and Linux platforms without the use of software
¤ USB extension cable
Although the Flash Padlock is one of the most unique flash drives we've come across, its packaging is fairly standard. Like most other USB flash drives, it comes in a standard plastic blister pack. We don't like that type of packaging any more than the next guy, but it seems to be a necessary evil.
Inside the blister pack, Corsair includes a USB extension cable, a lanyard and a user manual. Most flash drives don't really require instructions, but the Flash Padlock definitely needs a manual. We don't take good documentation for granted, so we are pleased to see that Corsair does a good job of explaining how to use the Flash Padlock.