12 December 2017

REVIEW: iStorage diskAshur 2

Safe as houses

Right now, you might have a flash drive or SD card on your person with something important stored on it. And what about your phone – what sensitive data do you have saved on there? If you're conscious that personal and important data could be pinched if someone stole or found your drives or phone, you need better protection for all those 1 and 0s. You need the iStorage diskAshur 2.

We're no strangers to the small, portable flash drives from iStorage, having reviewed a few in the past. Those were all conventional drives, with conventional drive capacities, but with a teeny number pad into which the owner has to enter a unique PIN to gain access to the data stored within. The iStorage diskAshur 2 is basically the same, but physically larger, and boasting capacities from 500GB up to 2TB. So a proper, heavy data payload, hard drive.

The iStorage diskAshur 2 is notable for featuring software-less encryption. That means that the drive doesn't require external software on your laptop to use it – it is all contained on the drive itself. That means you can use it on any machine, PC or Mac, and as long as you know the seven to 15 digit PIN, you can gain access.

The drive itself is pleasingly small and light; not quite as tight around the edges as the likes of the G-Technology G-Drive Slim, but it does, after all, have a lot more going on here. The key pad features an anti-wear coating to stop regularly used buttons wearing down to reveal the numbers of the PIN, and the body feels robust and sturdy. Oh, and it comes with its own protective carry case, which both looks cool and helps keep it safe and out of sight.

It works pretty much like the small flash drives we've tested previously. Straight out of the box you are prompted to enter the default factory PIN to activate it, then set up your own. We went for the very memorable... NOT TELLING, HA! Once set up, you simply have to tap it in each time you want access via the built in USB 3.0 cable, and the drive will lock itself once it is unplugged. Which is nice.

You get five chances to enter the correct PIN before the drive freezes and requires unplugging from the USB port. You can then plug it back in and try again – five more times. Foul all those chances and you'll need to enter an admin PIN to continue, and finally, if you get that wrong five times, the drive will erase all the content and reset itself. Done job. So, cheeky data thieves cant just sirt down and keep trying combinations of keys to guess the PIN – after a while it will result in the loss of all that sensitive data.

Interestingly you can set a self-destruct PIN. Enter that once, and the iStorage diskAshur 2 will automatically erase itself, wiping clean all the contents and saved details of the original PINs. The point of this is quite intriguing, and we can only assume iStorage has included it to allow the owner to quickly erase the drive should they suspect it is about to be compromised, or as a false PIN to give to someone trying to force them to reveal the true code. Like we said, interesting. That's some next level James Bond shit right there.

We received the 1TB version to review, which is more than big enough for what we intend to use it for: saving video clips and edits for our YouTube channel. Our needs might not be so important, or private, but if you have a need to store sensitive, offline data, such as financial records, personal details, precious photos, or even customer info if you're a small business owner, the iStorage diskAshur 2 is perfect. Entering the PIN for access was never a chore, and it recognised our inputs correctly each and every time.

Although you might think you don't have data important enough to warrant a drive like this, with this level of security, you're probably wrong. Data theft is growing, and so much illegal stuff can be done with just a tiny amount of your information. Keeping things safe offline, in physically protected storage, seems like a great idea to us, and the iStorage diskAshur 2 is a great solution to the problem.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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