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The 320 GB iStorage diskGenie drive arrived next day

as PROmised, securely packed in its Travel Pouch, nestling in a display box within a sturdy cardboard sleeve. Certainly, the specifications are impressive – offering real-time 256-bit AES hardware encryption – but how does it stack up in practice? Is there a trade-off between security and functionality? The device, housed in a smart soft-feel black enclosure, looks very PROfessional. The large, clear keyboard has a positive “click” action and one immediately wants to explore and find out what is special about it. (Perhaps that’s not good for a security device – maybe it should look scruffy and unloved? It might then be ignored by a potential thief!) The USB cable is neatly enclosed in the side of the unit so I plugged it into my Dell 1750 laptop running 64-bit Windows 7, the drive powered up and a red led illuminated. Now what? For once in my life I had to read the Quick Start Guide! As soon as I entered the default PIN number, the LED turned green and I was able to access the drive, where I found a concise and well-written User’s Manual. My first task was to change the default PIN number for the Administrator and create a new User for myself. This was perfectly straightforward and took only a few moments. I noted that it is possible to set up ten separate Users for collaborative use, each with their own 6-16 digit PIN. I’m not sure that I would allow a number of people to hold their own data on “my” disk but I can see that this feature would be useful to collate e.g. PROject data or to enable someone to act as a carrier pigeon, securely transporting large volumes of data without being able to read it in transit. The diskGenie could also be loaded with portable applications which would enable the user to PROcess on any available machine. The large capacity of the diskGenie means that it can hold reference material as well as working documents – music and pictures. Just a word of warning, the User Manual does recommend that you log-off from diskGenie before the host PC is hibernated. As a Security Consultant, moving around the country on assignments, I must be able to back up and, if necessary, recover my data whenever and wherever I am. My work is of a confidential nature and there is no way I can risk it falling into the wrong hands – or being unreadable when I really need it. Also, I have no wish to carry more luggage than I need. The diskGenie fits the bill admirably. My only criticism is that diskGenie has not yet been apPROved to carry documents with a UK Government PROtective marking which sometimes limits its use for me. So, how do I use diskGenie in practice? Well, I take a full backup every week or so and lock it away securely. Every day, I synchronise my laptop and save the latest versions of my work to diskGenie. With hardware encryption, the disk is fast, and these incremental backups do not take long to do. I also took advantage of the large capacity of diskGenie to save an image of my operating system and reference material. Now, wherever I am, if my laptop disk crashes, I can replace it, restore from disk Genie, and I’m back in business with the minimum of pain. Alternatively, I can borrow a computer, attach the diskGenie and carry on working, using the portable apps if I choose. Do I worry that diskGenie might let me down? Well, nothing’s infallible but the 16-point omni-directional shock mounting system sure helps! And, if it goes missing, I know I can rely on the 256-bit AES hardware encryption.