Data breaches in the cloud are becoming more and more worryingly common. While these breaches are often caused by human error and not necessarily opportunistic hackers, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking steps to prevent them. If you’ve got sensitive data that you need to move or store in the cloud, you should be making sure that it’s as safe and secure as possible. It wouldn’t do for your data to fall into the wrong hands, and it especially wouldn’t do for that to be something you could have prevented.
That’s where the cloudAshur Encrypted Cloud Module comes in. cloudAshur is an offshoot of the UK-based data company iStorage. If you don’t know iStorage’s name, you probably haven’t had to move much sensitive data before; these guys are the last word in data encryption and storage solutions. Doing one thing and doing it well is very much their modus operandi. For the most part, iStorage and cloudAshur create USB keys and hard drives built to make sure your data remains safe while it’s stored on them.
The Cloud Module is a little different, however. On the surface, it looks like a relatively unassuming USB key. It’s not. This handy device can be used to make sure that the data you have stored on the cloud is secure. Cloud security risks are very common indeed, so making sure you’ve got a method for combating them is paramount if your data is in any way sensitive. iStorage and cloudAshur’s Module purports to offer a solution to that very problem. Will this be a soaraway success or does iStorage have its head too much in the clouds?
First, it’s important to establish exactly what the Cloud Encryption Module is and what it isn’t. It is a security solution for your data that’s already stored in the cloud. It isn’t a standalone USB key, so you won’t actually be able to hold any data on the Module itself. iStorage describes the mission of the Module thus: Encrypt, Share, and Manage. It’s a three-pronged solution that allows you to do all of these things with complete peace of mind about how your data is going to be handled.
Just like iStorage’s other devices, the Cloud Encryption Module comes complete with a military-grade AES-XTS hardware encryption protocol. If you’re not tech-savvy, don’t worry – you don’t need to be to understand the Module and its operations. Just know that AES-XTS is a widely accepted standard for tamper-proof file encryption, and that since the Module uses military-grade protection, your data is completely safe if you use it.
Here’s how it works. All you need to do is plug the Module – which comes as a handy USB key-style device – into a port on your computer or laptop. Once you’ve done so, simply input the PIN that you’ll set during the setup process and you’re good to go. It’s that simple. You don’t need to be a tech wizard to understand it, since everything can be done through the hardware alone (although there are extra software options available if you’re truly dedicated).
You can configure two different PIN codes on the Cloud Encryption Module. The Admin PIN is your overall unlock method and will be used to gain master control over the device (and all the cloud data associated with it). There’s also a User PIN option, which allows you to create an entirely separate PIN if you’re going to hand the device off to someone. This is an extremely useful option if you’re a business owner who has to delegate the transfer of data frequently.
Lest you doubt that iStorage is serious about its security, think again. There’s a built in brute force defence mechanism that works to stop people from simply trying to guess the password you’ve created (not that this would be remotely possible since you need a minimum of seven digits). If someone enters the User PIN incorrectly ten consecutive times, the PIN will be deleted and you’ll need to access the drive with the Admin PIN. Enter that ten times incorrectly and your key – and both PINs – are gone forever.
If you’re starting to think that this sounds like a device for serious security heads and not amateur enthusiasts, you’re probably right. You don’t need to go near this thing unless you’re either dealing with sensitive data or serious about protecting yours. Everything about the Cloud Module has been created to ensure the utmost data protection and safety, but that’s pretty much all it does, so if you’re not too bothered about keeping your wedding photos away from prying eyes then this isn’t for you.
If you fit the criteria, the Cloud Module is the only device you need to keep your data safe. It’s an impressive specimen physically, too. iStorage has constructed the Module with epoxy resin, ensuring that the theft of your data by physically taking apart the device is impossible. Of course, any hacker would have to try pretty hard to actually dismantle the Module in the first place as it’s a pretty robust little thing, so the point is moot.
The real star of the show here, however, is the Common Criteria EAL4+ ready microprocessor. This chip will keep your data safe from pretty much any security threat you care to name. If words like DEMA, CStack, and Active Shield don’t mean anything to you, then you don’t need to worry about the ins and outs of the data protection this chip offers. Just know that iStorage takes the protection of your data extremely seriously. There’s pretty much no chance your cloud data will be compromised if you use this module.
All in all, the Encrypted Cloud Module is a wonderful little device. It’s a piece of hardware for the specialist, there’s no doubt about that, but it does what it does so well that it’s impossible not to recommend it. With simple operational procedures hiding an extremely powerful encryption system, the Encrypted Cloud Module is an essential purchase if you care even a jot about the safety of your data on the cloud.