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Ironkey Announces Fips-140-2, Level 3 USB Key

Information security vendor IronKey unveiled its latest secure USB flash drive, the S200. Weighing in with 16gb of storage, the S200 is not only the largest capacity drive IronKey has offered to date, it also ratchets up the performance and security of the IronKey solution, earning the drive FIPS 140-2, Level 3 Validation, blessing the drive to carry top secret government data.

Every feature of the IronKey drive is designed to handle a possible attack vector that could be used to access the USB drive.  The casing itself is a combination of an aluminum shell filled with an epoxy, making it virtually impossible to get direct access to the chips themselves. The on-board hardware not only handles the encryption keys, but is also capable of protecting its data from any malware from infected hosts, as well as an option of performing virus scans on the drive in the background.

On the network level, IronKey drives can be made to check in with a management service, whether hosted on enterprise servers or using IronKey's Software as a Service management solution.  Using either method, administrators can enforce the security policies to access the drive, including user permissions, the number of password attempts, and even force a remote wipe of the drive.  The centralized management can even limit where the S200's data can be accessed. For example, a doctor would only be able open secure patient records while on the medical center's network.  

So who really needs self-destructing, high security flash drives?  According to IronKey, more enterprises than one would think.  With HIPPA, SOX, and other compliance regulations being enforced, the notion that any kind of secure data can be transported on any form of unprotected media is quickly becoming outdated.  Pete Lindstrom, research director at the information security analysis firm Spire Security agrees, noting "From a security perspective, the only alternative to managed flash drives is banning all flash drives within an organization, an unlikely prospect to say the least."

Looking ahead, the new capacity and performance of the IronKey drives could begin to open new possibilities in the virtual desktop space.  An enterprise user could carry a virtual machine on an IronKey drive, plug it into an available PC and quickly be up and running on their own secure desktop, protected from key loggers and malware that might be injecting the native machine's operating system.