Advantages of Encrypted Flash Drives in Keeping Data Secure

Last update May 8, 2019

There are many methods of data storage that claim to provide a safe and secure environment for your data, but very few of them are portable or even truly secure. If you need to keep data safe and with you at all times, the best option for this is to use an encrypted flash drive. Read on to learn about the advantages of storing your data with such a device.

The Rise of Flash Drives

When flash drives became popular

Just less than 20 years ago, there was a bit of a crisis in the computer technology community. Floppy drives had been the primary form of data storage and data transfer ever since the first personal computers came into being, but they were quickly becoming obsolete with no viable replacement to take over for them. Many different technologies had been tried, including ZIP drives and burnable CDs and DVDs, but many of these proved to be less than ideal for a number of reasons. Some of them were quite cumbersome to use, being physically much larger than the 3.5-inch floppy disk, and many were less than reliable. CDs and DVDs had their advantages, but some formats didn’t allow for rewriting the contents once they had been burned. They were also much slower in many cases. Something had to be done, and fast.

First USB flash drives

It took a few years, but when the first USB flash drives started to hit the market, they quickly became the primary method of personal data storage for many people, and with good reason. The best USB flash drives were quite small and easy to carry around, with many being easily attached to a keychain, they had plenty of storage capacity, and the data transfer speeds, while not blazing fast, were more than acceptable for most people. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine transferring files from one computer to another without a USB flash drive.

One area that they have typically lacked in, though, is in data security. USB flash drives are not easily encrypted, and what’s more, the encryption schemes used on them may not be compatible with all platforms. With the proliferation of Macs and Linux computers along with mobile operating systems such as Android, having a platform-neutral secure data storage method is a necessity for many people. While a standard USB flash drive is typically compatible with most every computer platform, having a reliable and secure format that can use encryption often throws a wrench into the wheels of compatibility.

Encrypted Flash Drives

Advantages of encrypted flash drives

In recent years, a market has developed for encrypted flash drives. The need to keep data stored in a secure location while still being able to access it has been a key selling point of these types of drives. Furthermore, many of these drives handle the encryption at the hardware level, meaning that there is no need to go through a lengthy encryption process in order to ensure that all of the data on the drive is secured.

Along with the aforementioned benefits, encrypted flash drives have many advantages over other forms of data storage:

  • The data can always stay with you, as these drives are easily transportable.
  • They don’t rely on having constant Internet access.
  • They don’t contain restrictions that some secured cloud storage methods have, such as restrictions with files sizes or types.
  • They are more secure than encrypted cloud storage due to not having a constant online presence.
  • They can be accessed with virtually any computer or device that is able to read a USB flash drive.
Things to look for when searching for the encrypted USB flash drive

As you can see, the number of advantages of using an encrypted USB flash drive simply outweigh almost every other form of secure data storage. For this reason alone, anyone who needs a secure method of storing data while still having it readily accessible to themselves should invest in an encrypted USB flash drive. However, not all encrypted USB flash drives are the same. Many of them will differ from each other in a large number of characteristics, with many having their fair share of advantages and disadvantages over the others. Basically, it can be difficult to find the best encrypted USB flash drive for your needs, especially if you don’t know what to look for.

Best Encrypted Flash Drives

Important characteristics of an encrypted flash drive

Before you look for the best encrypted flash drive, there are a few characteristics that you will want to be aware of. Not all encrypted flash drives are the same, and getting one that doesn’t meet all of your needs won’t do you much good. Below are some of the most important characteristics in an encrypted flash drive that you will want to pay attention to:

  • Storage Capacity - Any encrypted flash drive you purchase should have enough storage capacity to meet your needs. If you are not sure which size of a drive you need, just get the biggest one that you can afford.
  • OS Compatibility - If you are commonly using computers that run different operating systems, such as Windows, MacOS, or Linux, then having a flash drive that maintains compatibility with all of them will be a must.
  • Encryption Type - The type of encryption used on the flash drive can be an important consideration for some people.
  • Standards Compliant - With some specific jobs, such as government jobs with security clearances, a flash drive that meets certain security standards such as FIPS 140-2 will be necessary. If this is the case for you, then make sure that the flash drive you choose meets whatever standards are required.
  • Integrated Controls - Instead of relying on typing on a computer for entering the password or PIN for your flash drive, it might be preferable to have one that has an on-board number pad so you can unlock it without worries of your passcode being intercepted.
  • Durable - Having a flash drive with tight security won’t do much good if the drive isn’t very reliable. A drive that is made with durability in mind, especially those with IPSx certifications for dust and water resistance would be ideal.
  • Antivirus Protection - Malware of any type can be a severe threat to data, no matter where it is stored. An encrypted flash drive with integrated malware protection would help immensely in keeping your data secure.

Keeping the above characteristics in mind, it is time to take a look at the best encrypted flash drive (according to many users and scores) to see how it stacks up against these requirements.

SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP Encrypted Flash Drive

SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP

In the market of encrypted flash drives, there is one product that really stands out. The SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP Encrypted Flash Drive has all of the important characteristics that most people look for in an encrypted flash drive. To see how it measures up against these characteristics, let’s take a closer look at it.

Storage Capacity

The SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP encrypted flash drive comes with 32GB of high-speed storage, which should be suitable for most users. If 32GB isn’t enough for you, there is also the SecureData 64GB SecureUSB BT, which provides double the storage amount. Either way, these options should provide plenty of data storage for your needs.

Compatibility

Anyone who works in a large office is bound to run into more than one computing platform, especially nowadays with Linux and Mac OS computers becoming more commonplace in the office. The SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP maintains full compatibility with these platforms, as well as being compatible with a range of their devices, including thin clients, zero clients, embedded systems, and even Android and ChromeOS devices. In short, you will be hard-pressed finding a device that isn’t compatible with this encrypted flash drive.

Encryption

Unlike a regular encrypted USB flash drive, the SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP uses full integrated AES256-bit XTS hardware encryption to keep your data safe and secure. Along with the user data being encrypted, the crypto parameters are encrypted as well, making this a fully secure storage medium that is virtually impenetrable.

Along with the high-level encryption, this device also includes a brute force anti-hacking self destruct feature, which will forcefully erase all data on the drive should the passcode be entered incorrectly 10 consecutive times.

Characteristics of the SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP

Standards Compliant

Anyone who works for a government agency knows how important it is that any device that they use meets the security standards set forth by the institution. The SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP is fully compliant with the FIPS 140-2 US government security standard, meaning that this device is fully rated to be used in a secure government facility. With the strict standards set forth by the US government, you can be sure that this should also meet the standards set forth by most other institutions as well.

Integrated Controls

Unlike many other encrypted flash drives, which require you to enter a password or PIN on the computer in order to access the data, the SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP includes an 11 key keypad which lets you set a 7 to 15 digit PIN. Providing the keypad on the device itself has numerous advantages over a computer passcode, as it is immune to hacking tricks such as keyloggers that can intercept a password as it is being typed. This means that you don’t have to give the key to your data to any device.

Durability

One of the key failure points of an encrypted flash drive in keeping your data safe is in the lack of durability of most devices. Fortunately, the SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP was built with durability in mind. This device includes an IP57 certified casing that makes it dust and water resistant. Furthermore, the internal components of the device are covered in an epoxy that provides an extra level of protection for them.

Antivirus Protection

Any encrypted drive can fall prey to hackers if the drive or host system gets infected by malware. This device includes the USB Antivirus by ESET, which includes heuristic scanning. This software is fully integrated into the drive and does not require being installed on a host system in order to protect the drive from malware.

Conclusion

As you can see by the above characteristics, the SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP easily meets or exceeds the characteristics that are required of the most secure encrypted flash drives, providing you with a fully safe and secure drive for storing and protecting your data. If you are in need of such a device, then the SecureData 32GB SecureUSB KP is certainly the best purchase you can make.