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Recommended encrypted USB memory sticks and external hard drives
The encrypted USB memory sticks and external hard drives listed below can be used to comply with the Policy for Information Security on laptops and portable media.
Note that with any encrypted medium, if you forget the password, your data cannot be recovered.
NEVER use any USB memory stick or external hard drive as your only copy of any important information.
The specifications and model names of both USB memory sticks and external hard drives can change frequently. Before purchase, do please ensure that the item you are ordering is fully encrypted and that all access to the device is protected by at least a password.
Be wary of devices that offer encryption when you ‘synchronise’ files or folders with them or use a provided application to encrypt data. Typically, these methods change the date and time stamp on the file when it is encrypted and decrypted, making it more difficult to manage the files, be sure which is the latest version, etc.
Note that these recommendations may be updated as technology changes.
USB memory sticks
There are now many fully encrypted USB sticks available. Note that USB sticks that encrypt only part of the storage area, or specific folders, are not recommended owing to the risk of inadvertently placing sensitive files in an unencrypted storage area.
The currently recommended and supported devices are:
- Kingston DataTraveler Vault – Privacy Edition (also known as DTVP) USB memory sticks, available in a range of capacities (spelling is DataTraveler not Data Traveller). Note that most other Kingston DataTraveler devices are not encrypted; some encrypt only part of the filespace and so are not recommended owing to the risk of inadvertently placing files in the wrong area.
- SanDisk Cruzer Contour (again, beware of some of the other SanDisk Cruzer options – not all are encrypted).
- For extremely secure requirements, the IronKey range of USB sticks is available.
Security concerns have been expressed about certain types of encrypted USB stick. At the time of writing we are not aware of any such reports about our recommended sticks.
External hard drives
Where more storage is required than can be provided using encrypted USB sticks, the currently recommended and supported devices are:
- Freecom Tough Drive (usually powered by USB connection alone so suitable for mobile use)
These drives come in a range of capacities.