The 3z is smaller, less expensive, and available in 8, 16, 32, and 64 GB capacities. As marketing manager Walter Fiorentini explained, “The 8 to 16 GB range of Secure Keys has historically been the go-to for our larger corporate customers where lots of drives are being sent to lots of employees. Generally speaking, most data that travels with employees outside of the office is comprised primarily of small files, so 8 GB is more than enough space for the majority of these deployments. The primary focus of the 3z development was to build a more economical version of the Secure Key 3 without skimping on any of its security features or certifications. Starting at US $79, the Secure Key 3z is priced about 20 per cent less than the Secure Key 3.0.”
Aegis Secure Key 3z
As with other Apricorn products, the Secure Key 3z can be fully configured using the numeric keyboard on the device. This makes the product suitable for individual users as well as businesses. While the process is not particularly complex, setting up a few dozen devices with master and user PINs, along with other configuration options does take a while. To reduce the administrative burden, Apricorn developed the Aegis Configurator.
“With the introduction of the Aegis Configurator,” Fiorentini continued, “the mass configurability aspect of the Secure Key 3z introduces another avenue of cutting costs by saving time spent on device provisioning. In a fraction of the time it takes to manually configure a single device, a corporate IT admin can configure 10, 100, or 1,000 Secure Key 3z devices simultaneously using the Aegis Configurator.”
Simultaneously provisioning multiple USB keys requires a USB hub with a stable power supply capable of supplying sufficient current. The Aegis Configurator consists of two components: a ten-port USB hub with 5 amp power supply, and Windows software. The hub is not required to provision an individual 3z; I was able to do so by plugging a 3z directly into a laptop.
I installed the Aegis Configurator on a laptop running Windows 10, created a profile with both a master and self-destruct PIN, and plugged in a Secure Key 3z. The Configurator detected the device, I selected it, and provisioning took a few seconds. Once configured, the key was no longer detected by the Configurator. Manually resetting the device allowed it to be provisioned again.
Once provisioned, using an Aegis Secure Key 3z could not be easier. Type the master PIN or a user PIN on the device, press the unlock button, and plug it into any computer or device that accepts a USB drive. Unlike encrypted USB drives from most other vendors, no software installation or administrative privileges are required. I tested the 3z on Windows, OS X, Chrome OS, and a multifunction printer. It worked flawlessly.
The 3z has many excellent features, but from a security perspective two stand out. First, unlike many USB storage products, there is no way to accidentally or intentionally use it without encryption. The device cannot be used until a PIN is set, and once it is, all data stored on the device is protected. Second, entering a personalized self-destruct PIN instantly destroys all PINs, data, and creates a new encryption key. This is a great way to allow users to clear the device when data is no longer required or if data needs to be destroyed.
Aegis Secure Key 3z
USB storage devices are easily lost and stolen. From a security perspective, encrypted devices are a necessity. I highly recommend the Aegis family of products. The new Aegis Secure Key 3z is faster to provision and less expensive.
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