DataTraveler Secure Privacy
Strengths: Very strong encryption in a heavy-duty form factor (it is even waterproof)
Weaknesses: Needs centralised management and data recovery, a bit pricey
Verdict: Not suitable as a corporate offering, but great for individuals who need very strong encryption with a foolproof way of storing sensitive data
Kingston's DataTraveler Secure Privacy Edition (not to be confused with the simpler DataTraveler Secure) is a USB thumb drive that encrypts everything on it all the time. Unlike other encrypted USB memory sticks, this one does not permit unencrypted data to be stored.
Use of the drive is simplicity itself. Just plug it in and you are presented with the administration screen. Once you have set the password, every time you plug the device into the USB port the management program loads in the tray automatically. The drive is then accessed as any other drive volume and administration is accomplished by right-clicking on the icon in the tray.
There is no clean way to administrate the product centrally, and Kingston tells us that centralised administration is in the works. The closest one can get currently is to share the drives over the network and administrate the device when it is online.
Still, there is no separate administrative password that allows data recovery and one must know the user's password. We see that as a major drawback in a corporate environment.
Encryption is strong - using AES-256 - and the device locks after a pre-determined number of password failures. When that happens, the only option is to reformat the drive, destroying all stored data.
Password policy is equally strong: six characters are the minimum, and that must include upper and lower case letters as well as numbers.
Support, to the extent that it is required for a product of this type, is excellent. Everything necessary is on the website. Documentation is adequate and, although originally available for Windows 2000 and XP, the support site has downloadable drivers for Vista.
All drivers are self-contained on the drive and are not accessible by users. We performed forensic analysis of the drive, both when a user was logged in and prior to login and we could not compromise the product.
We found the product to be a bit pricey for what it offers. It is definitely not appropriate for large enterprises until some form of centralised management is available. However, with its extremely robust encryption, DataTraveler Secure Privacy Edition is a good choice for the road warrior who needs to be sure that sensitive data is protected.