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.