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Adding to its range of encrypted portable drives, iStorage has released the company’s diskAshur PRO2 product. Promising to provide the capability of an ultra-secure hardware encrypted portable hard drive, the diskAshur PRO2 is available with capacities of 500GB, 1TB or 2TB options. I have been checking out the 1TB model.
Rectangular in shape with rounded corners, the diskAshur PRO2 has a weight of 237g and dimensions of 124 x 84 x 20 mm (H x W x D). Due to its size and weight, this drive is easily transported either in a pocket or using the supplied rigid case with a lanyard style carry grip. The case helps add another layer of protection to the encryption and PIN entry facility built into this product whereby the stored data is automatically protected using military grade AES 256-bit encryption (XTS mode).
Running down the right side of the diskAshur PRO2 device is a permanently attached USB 3.0 lead for connecting the drive to a computer. The diskAshur PRO2 is agnostic in its platform support (Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and Chrome to mention some). When not required, the USB lead resides in a cutaway channel for easy access.
Decorating the device’s brushed metallic looking front face is an alphanumeric keypad. This keypad provides the important task of allowing the user access to the drive and make use of the data it is storing. As an additional form of protection, the keypad has been coated with epoxy to ensure it is wear resistant so that an unauthorised user will not be able to work out which are the frequently accessed keys by identifying any evidence from constant use. Mounted across the top of the keypad are three LED lights that provide status information regarding whether the drive is locked / unlocked and in either User or Admin mode as you enter the appropriate PIN to gain access to the device.
The diskAshur PRO2 needs to be connected to an appropriate power source via its USB 3.0 lead. As the lead is rather short, 9cm in length, the iStorage drive is probably better suited for use with a laptop rather than a tower system placed on the floor especially one with its USB ports at the rear of the box. Of course you could get round this problem with the addition of an extension USB cable.
While I encountered no issues when attaching the diskAshur PRO2 to a computer and entered the supplied default PIN, the Windows 7 operating system failed to recognise the presence of the drive although it was listed in the Devices & Printers’ section. This was the situation that had occurred with an earlier iStorage drive I had looked at. As with that model I needed to initialise the drive by working through options available from the Computer Management Windows feature before the drive became visible on the Windows desktop. After the initialising procedure on one computer, I checked out the diskAshur PRO2 on another computer, also running Windows 7, and it was immediately recognised once I had entered the default PIN.
Running several tests to check on the data transfer speeds using the diskAshur PRO2 , I connected the drive, via its USB lead, to a USB 3.0 port on a Windows computer. Transferring documents, music and video files, in both directions, produced the timings listed in the following table. Read speeds were considerably faster than the Write speeds. While the DiskAshur Pro2 supports the faster capabilities of USB 3.1, my host computer only had USB 3.0.
|Files||Read Time||Write Time|
|19 video files 14.4GB||7 minutes 70 seconds||2 minutes 36 seconds|
|3685 music files 10.6GB||7 minutes 20 seconds||3 minutes 16 seconds|
|814 document files 24.4MB||10 seconds||3 seconds|
As mentioned earlier, the data is seamlessly encrypted in real time to protect it if the drive falls into the wrong hand. Further protection comes in the form of the use of the PIN facility which has a self-destruct feature which kicks into action after 15 consecutive failed attempts at guessing the PIN. If this happens the drive will be reset, the encryption key deleted and the data lost.
Pricing for the diskAshur PRO2 is set at £209 for the 500GB model, £269 for the 1TB unit under review and £329 for the 2TB product.
|USB Interface||Super Speed USB 3.1|
|Power supply||Bus powered|
|Hardware Data Encryption||Military Grade AES 256-bit XTS Full Disk|
|IP 56||Water & Dust Resistant|
|Dimensions||124 x 84 x 20mm (H x W x D)|
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