USB Drive Wrap-Up: The IronKey Rocks for Security

Back in November I named Lexar’s 4GB JumpDrive Lightning a Scot’s Newsletter Blog Top Product! and I’ve been using it ever since. To give you a sense of how valuable a tool this is for me, I spent a day recently believing I had lost it (the biggest problem with USB memory devices), and just the thought made me feel clammy.

In the same article (scroll down to find it), I also presented the results of my performance testing of four USB devices, including the 4GB IronKey Secure Flash Drive. In my tests, the IronKey was not very fast. In a March 2008 secure USB drive comparison review in Computerworld, the same model IronKey (although, about six months newer than the evaluation unit that I tested), turned in excellent performance.

The Computerworld review tested a much slower Lexar device than the one I’ve recommended. It didn’t compare the JumpDrive Lightning, which has decent software-encryption security. Instead it compared the results of Lexar’s JumpDrive Secure II, a model I rejected because it was much slower and I didn’t believe the security it added was critical to my needs. As the Computerworld article states, “The Lexar JumpDrive Secure II offers three ways to protect data, but two of its methods [are] so awkward that the reviewer found them to be being more trouble than they were worth.”

Back to the IronKey, the in-depth Computerworld secure USB drives comparison review summarized that product with these words:

The IronKey’s numerous security features — hardware-based encrytion, random password generator, two-factor authentication, secure Web browsing, and self-destruct mechanism — along with its longer-life, single-level cell NAND memory, put it over the top as the highest quality, most secure drive of the bunch.

My own assessment matches precisely that of Computerworld’s expert reviewers. The IronKey is the most secure and most conveniently secure product I’ve ever tested. While it’s not inexpensive, and it only works with Windows XP and Vista, this product is the best product for enterprises seeking to equip employees with a highly secure USB drive. For more details on the IronKey, please see Computerworld’s IronKey review.

So, I love the IronKey for pure security. In particular, I recommend this device to IT managers who are concerned about exposure of data when USB memory sticks are lost by employees — despite how expensive the IronKey is. But the stick I use and continue to recommend above all others is the Lexar JumpDrive Lightning.

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