External hard drives are a great backup and portable storage solution, but if they are used to store sensitive data, they can quickly become a huge security headache.
While there is no end of external storage drives that come with software encryption solutions, but there are far from ideal in situations where security is a must.
Not only do you need the encryption/decryption software installed on all the devices you want to hook up the external drive to, but you better hope that there's a version available for the platform you're using. You're probably going to be in luck if you're running the latest version of Windows or Mac, but if you happen to run an older version of an OS, or something more exotic like Linux or Android, or perhaps an embedded system, then a software-based solution is likely to steer you into the tarpits.
This is why I like hardware solutions such as the Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT drive.
I reviewed an Aegis Padlock DT drive a couple of years ago, and I still use one for long-term storage of sensitive data. Back then, the upper storage limit on the drive was 12TB.
12TB is a lot, but Apricorn realized that some people have greater storage needs, and have expanded the line to include 18TB of storage.
Apart from featuring the largest encrypted external USB storage capacity in its class, the Aegis Padlock DT drives offer nine capacities of secure storage, ranging from 2TB to 18TB. The drive features 256-bit AES XTS hardware-based encryption and has a polymer-coated wear-resistant on-board keypad for quick PIN authentication.
The drive's firmware is also locked to prevent tampering with it, which Apricorn claims make its products resistant to attacks such as BadUSB.
On the connectivity front, The Aegis Padlock DT uses ultra-fast USB 3.2 Gen 1 (3.0) data transfer speeds, and all data is encrypted on the fly as it's being written to the drive, with the devices' PINs and data remain encrypted when the drives are at rest.
The drive is also crammed with security features, from brute-force protection, unattended auto-lock, separate admin and user modes, and even a self-destruct mode (the drive doesn't explode, it just returns to the factory mode and looks like it hasn't been set up).
"The Padlock DT FIPS are secure, easy to use drives for organizations that want to ensure their sensitive data is secure at all times. As ransomware continues to be one of the most dominant cyber threats organizations' face, businesses must back up their data and store it disconnected from the network to enable fast recovery in the event of a cyber-attack whilst encrypting it to comply with data protection legislation," said Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn. "Adding the 18TB drive to our product set provides businesses increased storage capabilities and the assurance that should they be targeted, they can thwart ransomware attempts with a secure encrypted data backup," Fielding added.
The Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT is a solid, reliable, well-constructed storage solution for those looking for robust, secure storage.