Storage, both HDD and SSD, is growing in capacity and shrinking in price all of the time. With hard drives currently as large as 2 TB available, and promises of even bigger ones coming it seems there is almost more storage already than anyone of needs. Plus, for those willing to pay a premium, there are SSD’s, which are smaller in capacity, but much faster in read time. Plus, we have even heard vague rumors of holographic storage coming in the future.
Now, from the future technologies department comes some news that TDK, the once famous cassette tape maker, has a technology that could double the storage capacity of a hard drive by using laser heaters to write the data. TDK calls the technology HAMR – heat-assisted magnetic recording. The laser needs to be combined with a new way of making the drive platters. Supposedly TDK has used the technology with platters that would normally have held 1 TB of data and successfully stored 2 TB on them.
It sounds very futuristic, and honestly it is. There is no release date for the technology, no idea of how such drives would be priced in comparison to a standard drive, and no real idea if this technology will ever even hit the market. Frankly, beyond this one report from the Register, there is really no concrete evidence of this technology existing. But the science of storage is always moving ahead at a fast pace, so it’s likely that such things as this are at least being tested.
External hard drives are a dime a dozen, so when I was give the opportunity to review a ToughTech Secure Q with WriteLock 128 Bit AES Encrypted Hard Drive Enclosure by WiebeTech I jumped on it. I consider a great deal of data that I have on my hard drives to be very sensitive. We have vendor contracts, proposals, user data that includes media statistics and a whole host of other material from running a business that would be very damaging if the data was stolen and ended up on the web or in someone possession.
The standard feature set on this drive is extensive. The unit I tested supported both windows and mac disk formats. I had mine delivered pre-formatted for a mac. The connection options included Firewire 800, 400 eSata and USB 2.0. All of the cables need to make those connections where included. It came with a slot for a cable lock which allows you to provide another level of security to keep the drive from easily walking off.
I have used secure hard drives in the past that required a thumb print to unlock and access, but this drive is different. This drive actually come with a 128 Bit AES key. The key comes attached to a lanyard or key chain and you have to physically plug the key into the specified slot to unlock the drive “no key no access”.
The manufacture at wiebetech.com provide you with 3 encryption keys that cannot be re-keyed without additional hardware. So forewarning is in order you loose the key provided your data will no longer be accessible. For business owners one key should go in the safe/safety deposit box, and the others should only be maintained by those you trust implicitly.
One of the best features is the ability to write lock the drive. Lets say you pre-load it with forms and data and you do not want this data changed on the drive in any way. There is a write lock button that once pushed locks the drive down. If you want to re-enable write access you have to open the enclosure to unlock the drive.
Overall this is a great solution for small business owners that are storing sensitive information that they feel may be at risk from compromise in your office setting. They do have AES 256 bit devices available but due to federal guidelines for selling FIPS approved 256bit encrypted products they are restricted in sales of 256bit products to only approved channel partners. 128bit is available on their website.
Pricing was not readily available on the web site. If your looking for hard drive encryption this is the way to go. This is a great way to secure that sensitive data you have sitting on a unsecured hard-drive. My advice is buy two units so you also have a backed up copy stored securely.
If you are in the market for a new external hard drive (and which of us isn’t buying one regularly these days?) then Iomega may have one you will want to look at. Just announced at CES is the Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive Cloud Edition. It is intended for both home and small business users and features the ability to share work files, photo slideshows, music libraries and other files with co-workers, friends and families anywhere in the world (with an Internet connection, of course) via what they are calling the “Iomega Personal Cloud”.
It’s a service that Iomega will be building into all of their new NAS-type devices. According to the company this is how it works:
Users of Iomega’s new NAS devices can create their own Personal Cloud in just minutes. The onscreen Personal Cloud setup page asks you to name your Personal Cloud and then confirms creation of your Personal Cloud. You can invite up to 250 members (devices) into your Personal Cloud, giving your business contacts, co-workers or personal friends and family around the globe the ability – determined by you – to copy and share files directly between computers as though they were all together on a local network.
As for these drives themselves they will features Gigabit ethernet connectivity directly to a router, remote access from anywhere, built-in iTunes server, DLNA, one-touch copy, public cloud connections to Mozy and Amazon S3 online storage, two USB 2.0 ports to add storage capacity, and Time Machine support for Apple users.
There will be two models available later this month – a 1 TB that will retail for $169.99 and a 2 TB retailing for $229.99.
Kingston has announced the first portable USB 3.0 SSD (solid state drive). The news actually came from Engadget Spain, but it appears to be official. I have not seen the press release, but have contacted Kingston for more information. I have not yet received a response, but will update this if/when I do.
In the meantime, here is what is, at the least, rumored. The drives will come in three sizes – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. They will be a laptop 2.5″ size and be able to read at 195MB per second and write at 160MB per second. That translates to copying a 10GB file is 72 seconds, which is almost 5 times faster than on USB 2.0.
There’s no price or shipping date as of yet.