IronKey S200 Review: A Flash Drive with Military-Grade Security

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Flash drives are one of the easiest ways to transport data, but they do not provide any real security. If you lose your flash drive, whoever finds it will be able to easily access whatever data is stored on it. If the only thing that’s on your flash drive is some family photos, this probably isn’t too much of a worry (unless they are really embarrassing photos!); however, should your drive hold sensitive or confidential information, the lack of security should be a real concern. While you can use a utlity such as TrueCrypt to protect the data on your flash drive, it’s not particularly convenient (you can only access an encrypted flash using a computer on which TrueCrypt is installed or using a computer on which you have the administrative privileges needed to run TrueCrypt in portable mode).

The IronKey S200 provides a solution to this problem by making it easy to protect your data.

Features (5 out of 5)

The S200 is the only flash drive validated to meet Level 3 of the Federal Process Information Standardization (FIPS) 140-2 standard and comes with a range of features that make it exceptionally unlikely that anybody other than you will ever be able to access your data. As you would expect, the S200 uses strong encryption - AES 256-bit hardware encryption, to be precise. Additionally, should an incorrect password be entered 10 consecutive times, the S200 will automatically self-destruct. Boom! Actually, it doesn’t go boom - it simply self-erases (doh!).

Control Panel

Additionally, the S200 is waterproof and has a tamper-resistant casing. Further, it also comes with secure backup software (which enables you to backup your encryption keys online and your encrypted data locally), built-in malware protection, a secure browsing service and can act as a secure password manager for all of your online passwords. The device even has a virtual on-screen keyboard that you can use to prevent your key strokes from being captured by trojans, keyloggers and screenloggers. The enterprise edition includes centralized management which, according to IronKey, enables, “Secure device recovery and the ability to remotely disable or destroy drives that are lost, stolen or in the possession of former employees and other unauthorized users.”

The Bottom Line (5 out of 5)

With prices ranging from $79.99 for the 1 GB model to $299 for the 16 GB model, the S200 certainly is not cheap - in fact, it costs substantially more per-GB than a standard flash drive. Consequently, if you’ll only be carrying around pictures of your kids and pets, the S200 is probably not your best buy. If, on the other hand, you do need to transport sensitive or confidential information, the S200 will enable you to do it more securely and more easily than any other flash drive on the market. Highly recommended.

More Reviews!

Be sure to check out our review of other hardware security solutions including the ioSafe Solo, Seagate BackArmor and Atek Secure Password Organizer.