NEW TECH: DataLocker extends products, services to encrypt data on portable storage devices

By Byron V. Acohido

No matter how reliant we ultimately become on cloud storage and streaming media, it’s hard to image consumers ever fully abandoning removable storage devices.

There’s just something about putting your own two hands on a physical device, whether it’s magnetic tape, or a floppy disk, or a CD. Today, it’s more likely to be an external drive, a thumb drive or a flash memory card.

Related: Marriott reports huge data breach

Ever thought about encrypting the data held on a portable storage device? Jay Kim, co-founder and CEO DataLocker, did.

Launched as a one-man operation in 2007, DataLocker has grown into a leading manufacturer of encrypted external drives, thumb drives, flash drives and self-encrypting, recordable CDs and DVDs.

DataLocker today has 40 employees and last year moved into a larger facility in Overland Park, Kansas, with room to grow. I had the chance at RSA 2019 to visit with Shauna Park, channel manager at DataLocker, to discuss what’s new in  the encrypted portable drive space. For a full drill down please listen to the accompanying podcast. Key takeaways:

Protected backup

Even with increased adoption of cloud computing, external storage devices, like USB thumb drives and external hard drives, still have a major role in organizations of all sizes. These drives still serve a purpose, such as transporting data from one computer to another, accessing presentations outside of the office, or as an additional backup solution.

And as convenient as the cloud is for remote access, having that external backup option is handy if the internet connection goes down or if the user is in an area where internet access is spotty.

The need for encryption is just as important for data stored on external devices as it is for data in the cloud. This allows data to remain secure, no matter where it is stored and prevents data compromise if the external hard drive device is lost or stolen.

Whitelisting, blacklisting

To ensure employees use encryption, the solution needs to be easy for anyone to use, Park told me. That’s why DataLocker built encryption into the storage device and made it accessible with password authentication. DataLocker’s motto: “simply secure.”

To make the use of their encrypted external storage devices even more secure, DataLocker added a new functionality to its products. Admins can now add PortBlocker on users’ machines that allows them to easily whitelist and blacklist USB mass storage devices.

You can customize PortBlocker to include only approved devices for use within the organization. PortBlocker works with DataLocker’s central management software, SafeConsole, which manages encrypted endpoints.  PortBlocker has activity tracking that reports back to SafeConsole. “If somebody is trying to connect an unapproved device, you can actually see which device and from which machine the user is trying to access unsecured devices,” said Park.

Cloud protection

PortBlocker is the first product to be added to SafeConsole, but Park said the plan is to layer in additional new features in the future. One such product under development is SafeCrypt, a virtual encrypted drive.

The demand for this product comes from customers who are moving to the cloud and see the amount of data they are collecting continues to get bigger and bigger.

SafeCrypt is software a user can install to create an encrypted virtual drive that can be pointed to popular cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive or can even be pointed to any location including local folders – it is designed to encrypt data before it syncs fully encrypted to the saved location.


“Anything you safe to and from that virtual drive becomes encrypted before it is synced to wherever it is pointed to,” said Park. Because it will be management by SafeConsole, admins will have all of the management features but for a virtual drive instead of a physical encrypted flash drive.

DataLocker’s steadily advancing technology is another piece of the puzzle to making digital commerce as private and secure as it ought to be. Talk more soon.


Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

(Last Watchdog’s Sue Poremba contributing.)



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