Hugh John asks why lock down your laptop with encryption software when you can keep data safe on a dongle
Rules on transportation of confidential data are pretty severe these days, even for schools. But a number of simple solutions are available.
I tried the Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ USB drive which is available in a variety of sizes from 4GB to 32GB and is compatible with PC and Mac. They offer considerably more security than a regular USB flash drive – we're talking about a 100 per cent secure partition and hardware based encryption – and they come with a five-year warranty.
For the forgetful, the software will permit a generous 10 password attempts; after that it's total reformat time and the opportunity to enter a new and hopefully more memorable password.
You'd expect secure drives to be more expensive than their regular counterparts and they are, with street prices for the DataTraveler Locker+ starting at around £15 for the 4GB dongle and going up to £90 for the 32GB one. What price, however, can a teacher or civil servant put on security and peace of mind especially as the Data Security Act 1998 is quite explicit in its condemnation of non-encrypted USB drives for storing sensitive information. At least one government department has opted for encryption drives that literally fry the innards of the dongle after three unsuccessful password attempts!
At £140 a pop for the 32GB model these drives make the Kingston Data Traveler Locker range look cheap. And with the number of cases of lost data on the increase and sanctions and fines for negligently losing information being introduced, it's a foolish and irresponsible individual who transports confidential information in unencrypted form.
Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 5
Ease of use 5
Value for money 4
Kingston DataTraveler Locker+
USB flash drive with hardware encryption. Available in a range of capacities from 4Gb to 32Gb. Available from online and high street sources from £15.