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 diskG* could also be loaded with portable applications which would enable the user to process on any available machine. The large capacity of the diskG* 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 diskG* 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 diskG* fits the bill admirably. My only criticism is that diskG* 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 diskG* 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 diskG*. 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 diskG* 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 diskG* and carry on working, using the portable apps if I choose. Do I worry that diskG* 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.