Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Sandisk Cruzer Profile
- Biometric Scanning, Encryption software, Nice extras
A great thumb drive for the security conscious, offering layers of protection for your valuable data.
Price$ 150.00 (AUD)
If you're like us, you regularly carry lots of Classification six CIA documents around with you. Until recently, we'd just been keeping them on a regular USB stick for any spy to steal, but with the new Cruzer Profile this isn't a concern. A USB stick with a built in finger print reader, the Profile offers layers of security, including biometric scanning and encryption, keeping your data secure as you move between PCs. You do sacrifice a little in terms of size and style, but for the security conscious this is a pretty nifty device.
Coming in 512MB and 1GB capacities, the Profile is a fairly standard USB key in terms of functionality. It is USB 2.0 compliant and our testing revealed transfers consistent with this speed.
The real selling point of the Profile is its biometric functionality. The unit splits in half revealing a small finger print reader, similar to those found on notebooks, and this is used to grant access to the data on the drive. The first time you use it you'll have to boot up a piece of software to input your finger prints; it can store up to 10 at once. It is interesting to note that Sandisk has partitioned this drive into two separate sections (something we haven't seen before on a flash drive) and it can conflict with your drive mappings if you have a lot of network drives. The second drive is only needed to add new finger prints, so it isn't a big issue after the initial setup, but we struggled to use it on our work machine as we have multiple network drives already configured. Taking it to a separate, non-networked machine fixed this problem.
We had no issues with the scanner's operation. It worked perfectly, taking a single clean swipe to register our print. Prior to scanning the drive shows up, but gives a formatting error. A single swipe opens it up and leaves it open until you remove the drive from the PC.
Aside from biometrics, the Profile also offers a variety of encryption options to further secure your data. The proprietary Cruzerlock software allows easy drag and drop encryption of any files you wish to store securely; access is granted by a standard username and password system. By default the Profile comes with the basic version of Cruzerlock, but you can choose to purchase an upgraded version, which gives enhanced functionality including network file sharing, the ability to control the level of access to your data (read only etc.) and the ability to lock the files to a single machine. For most people the basic version should be more than adequate.
There are a few other useful programs as well. Cruzersync allows easy synchronisation of your Outlook, Lotus Notes, Calendar, Contacts and Documents across multiple machines, while PocketCache lets you select certain important directories that are backed up automatically every time you plug your key in.
Of course all these security features come at a price; the biometric scanner does take up a fairly hefty amount of space. The Profile is twice as wide as most modern USB sticks and thus will be much more obvious hanging from your keyring or in your pocket. However it isn't a big enough problem to really be an impediment. The other design flaw is the cord that connects the two sections of the device. Why SanDisk didn't make it a single piece is beyond us. If the cord happens to break or get damaged in some way, all your data is lost. Aside from these small issues, the Cruzer Profile is an excellent storage device for the security concious.
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