ABS Plus and ioRAID Encrypted HDD

Introduction

The hard-drive business must be a difficult one to be in. Almost anybody can buy drives in bulk, cases from the Far East, and be in business. Here are two companies that have successfully found unique selling points.

The two products are quite different hard drives, but both involve security in various implementations.

The first is the ABS Plus from CMS. ABS stands for automatic backup system, which is ideal for getting people that don’t like to backup to actually do it.

If I had to guess at the proportion of people that don’t like to backup, I would say it was somewhere over 95 per cent – so there’s a big market for ABS Plus.

The drive comes loaded with BounceBack Professional, which is up to version 4.3.1. BounceBack is what makes the ABS Plus special. Unlike most backup software, BounceBack leaps into action any time the drive is plugged into a computer. This means you can pass the drive around the office to backup machines individually. Just plugging it in initiates the backup, so anybody can do it.

In a professional, IT-managed corporate environment such behaviour would be unthinkable. However, Mac-run offices are far more likely to have an ad hoc network with infrequent backups if any. Having an ABS Plus to hand for those moments where you think to yourself “I would really hate to lose this project right now” offers great piece of mind.

The other product we looked at was the ioRAID encrypted hard drive. This is also to protect your data, but not from corruption… from prying eyes. Each drive comes with a key that allows access to the data. When the key is removed, the data is unreadable. The model we looked at uses 40-bit encryption though higher levels of encryption are available. It should be enough for most normal citizens, though international master spies might want to go the extra mile.

This kind of equipment is ideal for covering your tracks. Without the key there is no way to access the data – the manufacturers (or the CIA, for that matter) don’t have a back door. If you lose the key, however, your data is gone. Forever. Really.

The hardware encryption ensures that there is no slowdown when accessing the data. Everything about this drive is normal, except the James Bond data-key.

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