capsule review

CMS Products CE-Secure Vault FIPS Review: High Protection, Good Performance

At a Glance
  • CMS Products CE-Secure Vault FIPS

    PCWorld Rating

    The CE Secure Vault FIPS offers hardware encryption, FIPS 140-2 Level 2 certification, manageability, and reasonable performance.

CMS's latest CE-Secure Vault drive offers good USB 2.0 performance, 256-bit AES hardware encryption, and manageability--that is, it will interface with BlockMaster's SafeConsole management software so that businesses can configure a fleet of the units and manage them remotely.

As with many secure flash drives, the pricing for more capacious units skews unnaturally high. While the 4GB version costs $70, the 32GB version is a hefty $230. Still, that's cheaper than Kingston's 32GB DataTraveler 4000 Managed, which is $294. The DT4000-M is slightly cheaper in lower capacities.

Like many similar products, the CE-Secure Vault uses a CD-emulating boot partition to store and auto-run the security software that allows you to create and enter your passphrase. The data partition doesn't appear until you've successfully entered your password. After that, it stays out of your way. The drive has a virtual onscreen keyboard to defeat keylogging, and you may lock, unlock, and change the passphrase as needed.

This version of the CE-Secure Vault has better USB 2.0 performance than its predecessor. The drive wrote our 10GB combination of files and folders at 5.3 megabytes per second and read it back at 29.3 MBps. With a single large 10GB file it wrote at 11.6 MBps and read at 30.6 MBps. The CE-Secure Vault finished in a virtual tie with the Kingston DataTraveler 4000 Managed. No surprise here, as Kingston actually manufactured the drive to CMS's specifications. Aside from the text on the units, they're dead ringers.

You could do a lot worse than the CMS CE-Secure Vault for safely transporting your data. It's fast (for USB 2.0), has good software, is manageable, and is relatively affordable. You should, however, also consider the Kanguru Defender 2000. Both are relatively affordable, and both will protect your data well.

For our roundup (with chart) of five secure flash drives, jump here.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The CE Secure Vault FIPS offers hardware encryption, FIPS 140-2 Level 2 certification, manageability, and reasonable performance.

    Pros

    • Manageable
    • FIPS 140-2 Level 2 Certified

    Cons

    • No USB 3.0
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