The Bottom Line
I was contacted mid-February by Apricorn with secure flash solutions I mind. I have done some reviews in the past on secure solutions with Kingston's Data Traveler lineup, and today we will be adding a rather unique and manageable solution to that list.
The Aegis Secure Key is part of a very large lineup or secure flash solutions. The 3z is their latest iteration of this and features pin pad input, military grade AES XTS hardware encryption and FIPS 140-2 certification is pending.
Capacity options reach from 8GB through 16GB, 32GB, and end at 64GB while compatibility includes Windows, Mac, and Linux. A large part of the Aegis Secure system is the Configurator. This allows you to setup ten drives at a time on a secure hub. It is only compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10.
The MSRP of the Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3z in the 8GB capacity comes in at $79.99 with a three-year warranty. The Apricorn Aegis Configurator will run you another $99.99; it too has a three-year warranty.
Packaging has each component with its own box. The Secure 3z on top carries the FIPS security label.
Starting off with the Aegis Configurator, you get a good bit of kit in the box. We first have the 10-port hub at the top next to its power adapter. To the left is the software and license key.
Taking a closer look at the hub, you can see we have 10 USB 3.0 port on this device; each has its own connectivity LED to the left of the port.
On the end, we have the USB-B connection and power input.
Moving on to the Secure Key 3z, it is a rather long flash drive. The pin pad sits prominently on top with a series of LEDs on the right end. This is a capped design with a rubber liner to keep it secure.
Above, we have the drive with its cap off and the USB 3.0 port colored in blue. You can also see the rubber liner in the cap that seals.
Once you install the software, it will mandate you set a password to access it.
The software paired with the Aegis Configurator will allow you to setup and manage your 3z drives. As you can see from this image, there are four levels you can access.
Starting things off we create a master profile; you can create multiples of profiles, for instance, each division in your office can have its own secure profile. Each profile will have its own settings allow automatic PIN creation or a forced user pin creation upon first use. You can enable security features such as unattended auto lock, brute force security and self-destruct.
The next step is to apply that profile to a set of drives. You can do up to 10 at a time with the Configurator and above we have selected just one drive with our TweakTown profile. To the right, you can see the settings for that profile.
Eventually, in the scheme of things, you will have a user that forgets their PIN. With the database software, you can input the serial number of the drive and get the AUTO-generated PIN or if in the case of a user-generated PIN, the recovery PIN.
Usable space on the 8GB Secure Key 3z is 7.45 GB formatted with the NTFS filesystem.
Performance for this solution topped around 145 MB/s read and 107 MB/s write.
Looking at performance with file sizes, these drives are very consistent with their performance. The 8GB model started at 145 MB/s reads and 108 MB/s write and held that performance from 16M to 64K.
Everything about the Secure Key 3z rings security. The build quality is superb with a full metal casing and sealed cap design. The alphanumeric pad is thick and has a tactile feel to each button press and the LEDs indicate the drive's status. Adding to this as a kit is the Configurator which allows you to set up multiples of these drives at once. It too is built rather solid from a single piece aluminum design with each port having its own connectivity LED and external power source.
The performance of the 3z was admirable for such a secure solution. In sequential, we saw around 145 MB/s read and 107 MB/s write which doesn't put it at the top of any list, but it's more than enough considering the security. This solution excels with 64k through 16M file sizes holding true to its advertised performance.
The software included with the Aegis Configurator was rather simple to setup and has its own password for use. Once in, you can manage, setup, and recover any 3z drive you have setup. It allows for multiple profiles and varying levels of security if needed. You can even set up each drive with default files, like a company handbook.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Hero (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Hybrid (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Secondary Storage: MyDigitalSSD BP5 512GB SSD (buy from Amazon)
- Case: EVGA DG-86 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS ROG 10G Express
- Networking: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line: The Secure 3z isn't going to be at the top of any performance tuned list, but for those interested in security alone, this solution is certainly one to put in the back of your mind.
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