Review: Self-Encrypting External Hard Disk Drives

When evaluating secure, external, portable, hard-drives for yourself, the fundamental question is do you want a hardware- or a software-based device?

CMS ABS Plus with Dataguard

Overview

Unlike the full disk encryption version, the CMS ABS Plus with Dataguard gives you a 20MB partition with product information as soon as you attach the device. Another big difference is that this drive can be used without any additional software.  It works in a very similar way to the Eclypt Freedom drive in that you have to run an application from the small available partition to access the main area.  When you first run the application you supply and verify a passphrase, and once this is completed the data partition becomes visible, allowing you use the device as a standard drive. 

The drive itself has a rubber casing that offers physical protection, and it also features an inbuilt USB cable, which we like to see.  The USB cable is only about 10 centimetres long, so you may have to use the extension cable provided if your ports are not easily accessible.

Features
The CMS ABS Plus with Dataguard has all the backup features provided by its sister product.  The main benefit of this product compared to its sister is portability.  This drive can be used on various computers without the need for additional software, in our view giving it an edge. It was tested at 500GB which is a good size, although it is also offered in various other capacities.

Usability
As a portable device the CMS ABS Plus with Dataguard is very simple to use.  Plug in, select the device, run the application and enter a single passphrase.  Unlike the Eclypt Freedom, you just have the one application to choose from, regardless of operating system. We found the authentication process very slick, giving access to a 500GB storage area.  File transfer simple drag and drop, like all the other products included here.

Encryption
The CMS ABS Plus with Dataguard uses AES 256 bit encryption.

Recovery
The authentication process allows users five incorrect attempts. After the fifth attempt the application closes.  You can restart the application and try again. It continues to count down the number of attempts remaining, and also warns you that it will close if the final attempt is incorrect.  You do not have to disconnect the device to retry the authentication process, but this is due to the software restart refreshing the process.  Every new attempt appeared to be a fresh start, so we could not determine if there was any retry limit for the device.

Verdict
The CMS ABS Plus with Dataguard is a nice device, its eye catching red exterior is appealing and it was simple to use. 

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Tags information securityreviewData Locker DL3CMS ABS Plus with DataguardCMS ABS Plus FDEencrypted hard disk drivesiStorage disk GenieEclypt FreedomData Locker Enterprise

More about ----ABS AustraliaAES EnvironmentalCMSISOiStorageXTS

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