Kingston DataTraveler 4000 Managed Review: A Fast, Affordable Secure Flash Drive
At a Glance
The Kingston DataTraveler 4000 Managed (DT4000-M) secure flash drive is not for the average user--it must be employed in conjunction with BlockMaster's SafeConsole management software, which you have to purchase separately, or in a package deal from Kingston.
However, for companies looking for complete control and tracking of sensitive data, it's a boon. At the time of writing, pricing started at $57 for the 4GB version ($8 less than next-cheapest model we tested at that capacity); Kingston also has an 8GB model for $75, a 16GB model for $130, and a 32GB model for $294.
(The nonmanaged version of the drive drops the “-M” from the model number, and is a little cheaper.)
Any PC on which you wish to configure the DT4000-M must be connected to a SafeConsole server. This may be on a local workgroup or company domain (via a VPN will work as well). Setting up the SafeConsole software involves importing Registry entries, installing a certificate, and adding licenses. IT experience is helpful, though if you follow the installation instructions carefully, they should see you through. Licenses start at $40, but are cheaper in bulk.
Once you've set up the DT4000-M, you can use it for limited periods of time out of contact with SafeConsole--or not, depending on the setting. SafeConsole also provides auditing of device usage so you can tell what the managed drives have been up to.
The DataTraveler 4000 Managed employs 256-bit AES hardware encryption, plus a CD-emulating partition and security client software that you must run to access the data partition. The drive itself is FIPS 140-2-certified, and is both waterproof and tamperproof.
The drive's performance is quite good for a USB 2.0 drive. It wrote our 10GB mix of small files at 6.1 megabits per second, and read them back at 32.9 MBps. With a single 10GB file those numbers jumped to 12.5 MBps and 34.2 MBps. The Kanguru Defender 2000 writes faster, but only as a reader--the DataTraveler 4000 Managed is hauling the mail.
Managed flash drives are a boon for businesses that need to keep close tabs on sensitive data. However, the scenarios that require this level of control and the accompanying administrative costs are relatively rare. The DataTraveler 4000 Managed is a strong endpoint to a managed fleet, but most small businesses will be better off with its unmanaged sibling--the DataTraveler 4000 (DT4000). Either way, you're looking at one of the most affordable FIPS 140-2-certified secure flash drives on the market.
For our roundup (with chart) of five secure flash drives, jump here.