Xkey USB drive allows remote access to Exchange email

Xkey's USB device has a built-in Microsoft Exchange client which can transform a public computer into a secure corporate node

The Xkey looks like an ordinary USB flash memory drive, but it contains a tiny processor, a full Microsoft Exchange client, a database, a synchronisation engine and a VPN security application.

These features allow the device to be configured so that when it's plugged into any Windows PC, it temporarily converts the computer into a secure terminal with full access to a corporate intranet.

This is especially useful for employees without laptops who are working away from the office and need secure access to mail stored on their Exchange server.

Paul de Lacy, product development manager at Xkey, said the device is better than alternative methods for accessing Exchange email servers remotely, such as through Outlook Web access or via a Citrix client, because Xkey will work with any Windows PC and can also be used offline.

"With the Xkey you can work offline because you have all the details at hand, stored securely," de Lacy said.

An additional security feature protects users when they are using the Xkey to connect from an Internet café. According to de Lacy, when Xkey fires up its VPN, it first "neutralises any spyware" on the computer. When the device is removed, it automatically deletes the contents of the computer's cache, leaving no trace of the user.

"Any sensitive corporate information will not be left on the computer," de Lacy said.

The Xkey will be available in the UK from June and will cost around £200 for a 256MB device and £300 for a 512MB device. Companies will also be able to trial a 128MB Xkey device for a "subsidised" price.