A brilliant, secure SSD that Apple should have designed

There's a new Kickstarter campaign for a brilliant SSD with a host of features that will have Seagate, WD and Toshiba kicking themselves that they didn't think of first. Will it succeed?
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

SoSecure has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a built-from-scratch, highly-secure smartphone controlled solid-state drive (SSD). It's got a host of features that should have Seagate, WD, and Toshiba ashamed that they didn't think of first:

  • Secure — hardware 256-bit AES CBC (cipher-block chaining) and certified FIPS 140-2 level 3.
  • USB 3.0 and SATA interfaces for both portable and installed use
  • Smartphone management and authentication
  • Data locking – through smartphone app & automatically when drive is disconnected from your computer
  • Simple backups - Zero Touch Backup, automatic, fully secure, fast drive backups
  • Instant data deletion – simple data destroy button

This is truly innovative technology and design:

"Random generated encryption keys are further salted via two forms of user input. Firstly by using the smartphone's accelerometer and secondly using the smartphone's touch screen. Both truly random inputs generate a very long number which is applied to the encryption key. Salting the key in this way overcomes the computer's inability to generate a truly random number.

Encryption key management which is normally done via software for self-encrypting drives has been moved for the first time to a smartphone application via built-in Bluetooth. This firstly removes the need for software and secondly protects you against keyloggers. It also allows... many new features to be offered... like Proximity Alert and Motion Detection.

There's a small, replaceable battery to power the drive when it isn't plugged into SATA or USB, which recharge it. You pair it with your smartphone — iOS and Android — and it can tell you when goes too far away or is moved.

The smartphone app looks well-designed and straight forward:

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 6.18.33 AM
Image: SoSecure

You can even get versions with carbon fibre, oak, or custom machined cases for a limited time, if you want to make a statement.

The Storage Bits take

A drive company — or Apple — should buy these guys for a few million bucks, pronto. This is more creativity than has come out of the mobile drive industry in 10 years, all in one neat package ready to go to market. 

But I'm pessimistic of their chances for success on Kickstarter, so readers, please prove me wrong.

Why? Because the drives cost $3/GB when the going rate is $1/GB. As drive vendors have learned through bitter experience, consumers are cheapskates. Maybe there are enough professionals to fund their campaign, but they need volume to bring the pricing down from 3x to 1.5x over existing drives.

A big company could do that with volume sourcing and mass distribution. Some of the design decisions — such as the discrete encryption chip — could be revisited to reduce cost and improve capacity. 

They could also apply the technology to create small SSD or HDD RAIDs, whose speed and capacity advantages make them more attractive to the pro market while amortizing the cost of their features over greater capacity, reducing the $/GB differential. 

Succeed or fail, SoSecure's small team has blazed a trail for the rest of the storage industry. This is a brilliant product that deserves a large audience and great success.

Comments welcome, of course. What would it take for you to buy one? 

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