USB Protection Device: Pros and Cons

by Rod Dunne on December 12, 2011

in Hardware, Security

  • Share
  • Share

Using a USB protection device to secure data is becoming more popular as their prices decrease closer to their un-protected USB device counterparts. This type of hardware is essential for storing critical/sensitive data, especially when that data relates to a firm’s customers. In this post I’ll show you some of the advantages and disadvantages of using these new secure hardware devices for protecting USB drive contents.

It is increasingly necessary to protect the contents the USB drive since they can store so much information and even low cost data recovery applications can easily identify files that are lost or presumed hidden. Modern USB protection devices include security chips to encrypt all data being stored on the USB device.

Data encryption applies even if the password is not being used by the user. Consequently, even if the memory is removed and scanned using hardware reading device it will still be encrypted to the user. Some of the more common vendors of these new secure USB devices are Lexar, Verbatim and IronKey. Here are the pros and cons of using these devices:


  • Data is encrypted transparently with every file stored on the USB device unreadable without the password.
  • Firms can also restrict employees to using only these devices. This is an option in many companies where USB ports are often deactivated in PCs.
  • Since the device provides you the protection through the security chips it can also incorporate other features such as data wiping if the password is incorrectly entered a number of times as an extra safeguard.


  • The major problem with these hardware devices is the cost. It is hard to justify the purchase price when standard USB flash drives are so cheap. In comparison to using USB protection software which can reuse old devices, you really have to work out if the additional security is actually worth it.

Previous post:

Next post: