Here’s a sobering fact for you: depending on the size and operational scope of your business, a major data breach could not only cost you a ludicrous amount of money but could also potentially compromise millions of customers’ accounts. As a business owner, a professional, or just someone who’s concerned about data security, you really can’t afford your data falling into the wrong hands. As technology improves, the consequences of losing data or being hacked become more and more severe. Where can you turn in these troubled times?
The answer, as it happens, is iStorage. This UK-based company has been hard at work designing and developing some of the most secure and hard-wearing technology in the data storage industry. If you’re looking for something to protect your data and you don’t want to compromise on security, then you call iStorage. As such, getting our hands on the diskAshur Pro 2 was an exciting experience for us. We love this company’s products, so it probably won’t come as a surprise that we thought the world of this one too. Let’s break down the diskAshur Pro 2 and whether you should grab it.
First, a quick primer on iStorage and its products. These are not your standard storage devices. Rather, you look up iStorage if you’re after something incredibly tough and durable. The average end-user probably won’t get too much out of the company’s products (although they are fantastically functional storage devices). As such, you should already know if this product is in your wheelhouse or not. If you regularly handle extremely sensitive data and need something to help you carry or store it, then this is the product for you.
So, in a nutshell, what is the iStorage diskAshur Pro 2? Well, it’s a portable hard drive with impressive storage capacity and a massive focus on security. We’re reviewing the 2TB version here, but all of the capacities are functionally pretty similar; you just won’t be able to get quite as much data on the other models as this one. All of the models boast a keypad-based password security system and some of the most sophisticated security protocols on the market, so your purchase should depend entirely on what your storage needs are.
The iStorage diskAshur Pro 2 comes in two varieties: traditional spinning hard drive and solid-state drive. Naturally, the SSD will set you back a little more. The drive we’re looking at here is the traditional HDD, and we didn’t encounter any problems in terms of data transfer speeds. If increased data transfer speeds are a serious concern, you may wish to opt for the SSD version. You’re likely to get everything you need from the HDD, though. Both options are excellent and reflect the high standards of quality iStorage clearly sets itself.
So, to the important question: how exactly does the diskAshur Pro 2 protect your data? First up, the drive employs AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption, so it’ll encrypt and protect your data while it’s at rest. Even if the drive is removed from its moorings, it’ll still keep your data safe. There’s also an FIPS 140-2 Level 2/3 protection protocol in place. This is a very exacting US government security standard that protects against physical tampering. You don’t need to be a super-geek to know what it means; rest assured that if anyone tries to mess with the diskAshur Pro 2, you’ll know about it.
A lot of the diskAshur Pro 2’s security protocols are somewhat wrapped up in techspeak, so let’s try to cut through it a little. This is a tamper-proof, software-independent, password-protected piece of kit that’s pretty much the last word in data security and storage. You don’t need a shred of technical expertise to know how to use the diskAshur Pro 2. All you need is a head for security, a source for your data, and the ability to not lose the drive physically. Even if you do, though, the diskAshur Pro 2 protects against this eventuality.
Physically, the diskAshur Pro 2 is an impressive specimen. It’s a mere 12.4cm tall, 8.4cm wide, and 1.9mm deep. While it may not fit in smaller pockets, it’ll easily sit in larger ones or in a backpack or rucksack. For such a useful data storage solution, it barely takes up any space at all. The diskAshur Pro 2 also weighs just 216 grams, so it won’t trouble you while you’re out and about. Higher capacity versions will weigh more, but the SSD version is even lighter. iStorage has done an excellent job making sure this is not just a useful drive, but a convenient one too.
The main way you access your diskAshur Pro 2 is by using the intuitive and simple numeric keypad on its surface. On first glance, the keypad adds a certain charm to the diskAshur Pro 2; it’s compelling simply to see a hard drive with such a novel fascia. Three LEDs sit atop the keyboard, each of them communicating a different part of the locking process. In general, it’s a simple but effective interface that gets its point across successfully. The aesthetic is sleek and minimalist, with no unnecessary additions or adornments.
There are two different password functions available on the diskAshur Pro 2. First, you can set a standard user password that you’ll use to log in to the drive. You can also create an admin PIN so that if you’re sending the drive off with an employee, you can override their password at any time or help them to reset the user PIN if they forget. If you’re a corporate leader looking to send your sensitive data off to a conference or a trade meeting with an employee, it’s hard to imagine a better storage option for you than the diskAshur Pro 2.
It doesn’t matter what operating system you’re using, either. iStorage has cleverly ensured that the diskAshur Pro 2 will connect to any computer running any operating system. Clearly, it’s the UK-based hardware company’s dream to unite the warring factions of macOS and Windows users, but the diskAshur Pro 2 will also work great with Android and Linux platforms. All your device needs is a USB port and you’re ready to go. This means you could conceivably also use a USB adapter to connect the drive up to your phone for true convenience.
Perhaps the most impressive trick up iStorage’s sleeve when it comes to this drive is its Brute Force Hack Defence Mechanism. It’s a clever bit of engineering that increases the security protocols on the drive as an attacker makes more unsuccessful attempts to get into it. After five, the drive will freeze, and you’ll need to disconnect and reconnect it. After a further five attempts, you’ll need to press and hold the Shift button while you repeat the above procedure. Finally, five more failed attempts prompts the diskAshur Pro 2 to delete the encryption key and lock itself, destroying all data.
Obviously, these are nuclear options, but this is a drive for those who find themselves in need of nuclear options on a regular basis. Make no mistake: this HDD is heavy-duty, fully intended to match your needs if you’re a hardcore security professional. Its myriad features and options may feel a little alien to you if you’re just looking for something to store your family photos or to transport some music. We still don’t have any qualms about recommending this drive to you in that case; it’s an excellent drive regardless of its many security features. Still, it’s got a specific audience in mind.
iStorage’s careful approach to your data security extends even as far as connecting and disconnecting the diskAshur Pro 2. You can pre-program the drive with a self-destruct PIN. Once you input that PIN, the drive will automatically delete all the data it’s currently storing, creating a new encryption key in the process. There’s also an autolock feature which means the drive will automatically lock itself when you disconnect it from your laptop or phone. You can set the autolock to trigger after a certain amount of time, too, should you wish.
It’s tempting to think of the diskAshur Pro 2 as prohibitive; its cost is fairly high and its audience is very clear. That would be a mistake, though. You can – and should – buy this drive no matter who you are. Even though it might take a little time to get to grips with the diskAshur Pro 2’s more esoteric features, believe us when we say it’s well worth the time investment. After all, who doesn’t need secure data? Who doesn’t want to make sure their files and media don’t end up in the wrong hands? Modern life means security is a constant concern, so iStorage is the perfect way to remedy that.
We heartily recommend iStorage’s diskAshur Pro 2 to anyone looking for a robust, hardy data storage solution. Its easy-to-use keypad-based password feature makes it ideal for tech-savvy users and neophytes alike. The breadth and depth of security options on offer here is simply staggering, and the small form factor and lightweight construction makes it easy to carry the diskAshur Pro 2 with you wherever you happen to be going. If you’re in the market for great security at a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong with iStorage.