Toshiba self-encrypting hard drive has promise

Toshiba’s self-encrypting hard drive offers robust security features, yet it may be overkill for small businesses

Toshiba has introduced a series of self-encrypting hard drives that come with what the company says is a unique self-diagnostic feature that blocks access to data if the drive doesn't recognize the host, in case it is lost or stolen.

But whether the devices will make sense for small businesses will depend largely on pricing for the MKxx61GSYG series, which Toshiba has not yet disclosed.

First, here is some information about the technology. The 2.5-inch, 7,200 RPM Serial ATA (SATA) drives benefit from Advanced Encryption Standard-256 hardware encryption for a first-layer of data protection.

Additionally, the five drives in the series, which offer 60GB to 640GB of capacity each, benefit from a feature that deletes the keys required to decrypt data when a drive is removed or is connected to an unrecognized host. The process is thus intended to prevent data thieves from accessing data on a drive that has been lost or stolen and then installed on another system.

Toshiba says PCs, multifunction printers, point-of-sale systems, kiosks, and thin clients can benefit from the extra security that its new disk series offers. But since the security concerns of point-of sale systems and kiosks-- which often store customer data--are often more crucial than those of PCs and thin clients, I suspect that the drives will retail for a premium price by catering to more high-powered security needs.

You can never secure your workstations and PCs enough, of course. But the average small office is not going to spend the same amount of money for data protection that a major bank, insurance firm, or other organization that handles ultra-sensitive data does. These are the kinds of firms, of course, that have major regulatory-compliance issues to worry about and are willing to invest in new and expensive security technologies. I also suspect that Toshiba's new drive series will fall under the expensive category and will cater to firms with more stringent security concerns than small offices.

As a more affordable alternative, it is possible to use free software solutions to encrypt your data, such as TrueCrypt, which can encrypt a PC disk or just specified volumes. There are also other commercial software encryption tools available, as well.

Still, it will be interesting to see how much Toshiba will charge for its MKxx61GSYG disks when they become available later this year. While they will likely be very expensive, Toshiba could still price them so that they could become within reach of small businesses that need that extra data protection.

Bruce covers tech trends in the United States and Europe and can be reached through his Website at www.brucegain.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags storage accessoryapplicationssecuritytoshibasoftwareencryptiondata protection

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Bruce Gain

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?