NEW TECH: DataLocker introduces encrypted flash drive — with key pad

By Byron V. Acohido

One sliver of the $90 billion, or so, companies are expected to spend this year on cybersecurity products and services is an estimated $85 million they will shell out for encrypted flash drives.

One of more fascinating innovators in this space is 11-year-old DataLocker, based in Overland Park, Kansas.

Related: How DataLocker got its starth

Co-founder Jay took a business trip to South Korea in the fall of 2007. A chance meeting – in an elevator, no less – led to Kim veering over to the cybersecurity industry.

DataLocker honed its patented approach to manufacturing encrypted portable drives and landed some key military and government clients early on; the company has continued branching out ever since. DataLocker has grown to 40 employees and this summer moved it’s headquarters to a larger office, with room to grow.

I recently had the chance to visit with Shauna Park, channel manager at DataLocker. We discussed why encrypted flash drives have become established as a must-have portable business tool in the digital age. For a full drill down please listen to the accompanying podcast. Here are excerpts edited for clarity and length.

LW: With all the wonders of the digital age, it’s fascinating how important it can be to have an encrypted drive in the palm of your hand when you really need one.

Park: Exactly. The encryption in our products is handled by a chip inside the actual hardware itself. So it’s easy to use for anybody; you don’t have to know how to do encryption. The hardware itself takes care of it for you. All the user needs is a strong password to access to the data.

LW: Where do encrypted drives typically come into play in a business setting?



Park: The trend nowadays is to move everything to the cloud. But in certain cases the cloud is not readily accessible. This could be in high security areas, relating to the government or military, or you might be in different countries, where secure Internet connections are not available. You need to rely on external storage to securely transport your data.

LW: Makes sense. DataLocker actually got traction, early on, selling to the military.

Park: Yes, all of our products are made in the U.S. and are TAA compliant. We also have a FIPS validated product line, all the way up to FIPS 140-2, level 3.

LW: One of your products is a central management server. How does that fit?

Park: Our central management console allows an organization to essentially manage all their encrypted drives. So, for instance, an organization can manage and control hundreds of devices from one dashboard. The administrator can set password rules, put certain types of files on white lists or black lists, remotely reset devices; they can even disable devices lost in the field.

LW: You’re getting ready to roll out a thumb drive with a key pad on it. What’s that all about?

Park: Our newest product is the Sentry K300. It’s the first encrypted flash drive to incorporate an LCD screen – on the thumb drive. It has a battery, so it’s platform independent and you don’t have to rely on the computer’s operating system to turn it on or authenticate it. You just simply push the power button, type in your password, authenticate it; and then you can connect it to any system with a USB port.

LW: What’s its storage capacity.

Park: It starts at 8 gigs and it goes all the way up to 256 gigabytes.

LW: What’s the market for this?

Park: Any industry that requires security. We expect it to be big in education, finance, legal, healthcare and government; anytime a doctor wants to transport personally identifiable information from, let’s say a doctor’s office to an insurance office, or law enforcement has a large amount of data that they can’t send by e-mail. You can pop it on a thumb drive, set the password, and overnight it. On the receiving end, all they have to do is authenticate with a password to access the files.

LW: So that’s where the keypad comes into play.

Park: Yes. And if anything should happen along the way, they can rest assured that the data is secure. There’s also advanced security features, like brute force protection, where if you enter the password incorrectly a set number of times, it will wipe the encryption keys, and the data becomes useless.

(Editor’s note: Last Watchdog has provided consulting services to DataLocker.)

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