by Lyle Smith

Kingston Secure USB Flash Drives with ESET USB 3.0 Review

Kingston Secure USB Flash Drives with ESET are now available in USB 3.0 with their Digital DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 (DTVP) secure USB Flash drives, as well as the DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 Anti-Virus, which helps enterprises safeguard business data and set security policies for end-users. This is the next iteration of products based on the partnership between Kingston, ESET, and ClevX back in late 2012 and is the first hardware-encrypted secure USB Flash drive with USB 3.0 performance to hit the market.

As the workforce becomes more mobile, one of the biggest issues facing the business world is securely managing portable storage devices. As a result, more and more organizations are implementing infrastructure to support mobile devices and workers all the while trying to maintain the security and confidentiality of corporate information.  Kingston's DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 USB Flash drives provide business-grade security using 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption with XTS block cipher mode in case the drive has been misplaced or stolen. Another privacy-enforcing feature is the drive's ability to lock down and reformat after 10 intrusion attempts.

Additionally, DTVP 3.0 ships with optional and easy to install anti-virus protection from ESET/ClevX, which protects the drive's contents from viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, rootkits, adware and other threats derived from the Internet. The ESET NOD32 anti-virus engine provides instant alerts and comes with a five-year pre-activated license.

Though our review focuses on the DataTraveler Vault Privacy, both flash drives are virtually the same as far as functionally goes, the only difference being that DataTraveler 4000 has been certified compliant for FIPS140-2 Level 2. The DTVP come in the following capacities: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB while the Vault Privacy comes an additional size of 64GB. We will be reviewing the 64GB unit, which has a street price of $229.99.

Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 and DataTraveler Vault Privacy Anti-Virus - Features & Specifications:

  • Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0
    • 4GB (DTVP30/4GB)
    • 8GB (DTVP30/8GB)    
    • 16GB (DTVP30/16GB)
    • 32GB (DTVP30/32GB)
    • 64GB (DTVP30/64GB)
  • Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 Anti-Virus
    • 4GB (DTVP30AV/4GB)
    • 8GB (DTVP30AV/8GB)
    • 16GB (DTVP30AV/16GB)
    • 32GB (DTVP30AV/32GB)
  • 64GB (DTVP30AV/64GB)
  • USB 3.0 backards compatibility with USB 2.0
  • Speeds:
    • USB 3.0:
      • 4GB: 80 MB/s read, 12 MB/s write
      • 8GB, 16 GB: 165 MB/s read, 22 MB/s write
      • 32GB: 250 MB/s read, 40 MB/s write
      • 64GB: 250 MB/s read, 85 MB/s write
  • Dimensions: 77.9 mm x 22 mm x 12.05 mm
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 140°F (0°C to 60°C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4°F to 185°F (-20°C to 85°C)
  • Minimum System Requirements:
    • USB 3.0 compliant and 2.0 compatible
    • Two (2) free drive letters required for use
  • Guaranteed: 5-year warranty with free technical support

Usability

The DataTraveler Vault Pro is designed for applications where end users will likely be doing the initial configuration instead of the IT department. The USB 3.0 version of the software is essentially the same as its predecessor, except for the updated interface with the 3.0 designation. The initial installation was very quick and simple. The setup utility guides you through the password setup of the device as well as formatting the encrypted section.  Once the password has been set, your DTVP drive will be discoverable by the computer. Be sure to remember your password because as previously mentioned, the drive's lock feature only allows 10 incorrect password attempts in a row before it completely wipes the drive's data.

Though Kingston offers access and configuration software for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the DriveSecurity features are only available for the Windows OS.

Drive Security--a product of ESET and ClevX--is also included, which is used to scan the drive for any security issues, including malware or viruses. Additionally, when the user's computer is connected to the Internet, DriveSecurity will attempt to update its local copy of ESET’s virus signature database hourly. 

You should be able to use multiple DriveSecurity devices without conflict on the same host computer at the same time. Separate system tray icons will display DriveSecurity status information for each connected drive.

Design and build

The design of the DataTraveler Vault Privacy USB 3.0 is virtually identical to its 2.0 brethren, the only difference being that it is a different shade of blue. The DataTraveler Vault Privacy sports a very sturdy waterproof aluminum casing, making the thumbdrive protected from the elements as well. Because of this added protection to its chassis, the DataTraveler Vault Privacy USB 3.0 is not a small  USB drive; however, its size and weight are still ideal for carrying in a pocket or hanging on a lanyard or key ring.

Since the DTVP is 0.9" wide, there is a chance that it may be too large to coexist with other USB devices. This will depend on the size of the other devices and how far apart the USB ports are on the system. It should be noted that Kingston recommends connecting the DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 directly into a USB 3.0 port rather than to a USB hub. The latter will may hinder performance.

Performance

Using Iometer on our consumer test platform, we measured performance over USB 3.0 as follows:

  • 2MB Sequential write: 112.4MB/s
  • 2MB Sequential read: 233.3MB/s
  • 4K random read:  3.8MB/s
  • 4K random write: 9.8MB/s

Though it performed lower than the quoted numbers by Kingston in the sequential read column, it did perform significantly better than expected for writes speeds. When compared to its 4GB USB 2.0 brethren, it significantly outperformed the drive; though that was clearly expected. Kingston's USB 2.0 model scored sequential speeds of  32.6MB/s and 11.4MB/s, read and write respectively. In the 4K random charts, it clocked in at 8.5MB/s read and 0.02MB/s write.

Conclusion

The Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy USB 3.0 64GB performed very well, boasting blistering read and write speeds of 233.3MB/s and 112.4MB/s respectively. It also provided an easy and efficient GUI for basic configuration, which makes supporting a large deployment effortless for applications where end users manage the drive. Additionally, DriveSecurity gives users a even more protection for their systems and data, though this feature is only available on the Windows OS.  DriveSecurity it will also not make other security software superfluous, but will only further increase current protection methods when transferring data between secure and insecure environments.

However, this added protection--along with its USB 3.0 performance boost--comes with top-in-class pricing, as the 65GB model goes for a whopping street price of $229.99, an extremely high per GB ratio when compared to even higher-performance products. You're paying for the protection of your data and it's up to the consumer to decide whether is worth the extra cost. Nevertheless, all-in-all, this is still a very solid device.

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Great performance
  • Encryption engine can be configured by end users
  • 5-year warranty, including technical support

Cons

  • DriveSecurity features are limited to Windows users
  • Very expensive

Bottom Line

The DataTraveler Vault Privacy USB 3.0 provides great performance and offers top-in-class security with its multi-platform hardware encrypted storage. With the ever increasing number of potential threats on secure and unsecure networks, this is a welcomed feature for businesses. That said, the DTVP USB 3.0  comes with a hefty price-point, which may be a turn-off to some consumers; however, if you can get past the cost, this drive might be for you.

Kingston Secure USB with ESET at Amazon

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