CRU-DataPort SecureDock 500GB Encrypted EnclosureJan 11th, 2010 | By Nivedh
CRU-DataPort SecureDock 500GB Encrypted Enclosure
: 01/11/10 – 01:10:29 AM
Page 1 : Index
When I was first contacted by CRU-DataPort, I hadn't heard about them. After doing some research, it turns out that the company has been making data security oriented products since 1986.
The CRU-DataPort SecureDock is described as a ‘desktop hard drive enclosure with hot-swappable encrypted drives’ which is a fancy way of saying this is a hard drive enclosure that also acts as an encryptor.
Page 2 : Package, Features & Specifications
The CRU-DataPort SecureDock comes in an unassuming white box. I'm sure the retail version will be more colorful. We have the 500GB version.
Opening the package, we're greeted with a couple of installation guides.
Let's take a look at the features and specifications before getting our hands on the SecureDock.
I went to CRU's webpage for the SecureDock to get the following information.
Desktop Hard Drive Enclosure
with Hot-Swap Encrypted Drives
* AES Data Encryption Built-In
* USB 2.0 and eSATA Interface
* Removable DataPort 10 Secure Drive Carrier
Secure Backup Data
Prevent Unauthorized Access
Protect Sensitive Data
Prevent Identity Theft
Protect Customer Information
* Available in Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128
* AES 128 is Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) approved
* Encrypts entire HDD – including boot sector, OS, temp and swap files
* Encryption Key is stored apart from unit so data is protected if unit is lost or stolen
* High-Speed hardware processor encrypts/decrypts at full disk bandwidth operation (No performance degradation)
* Encryption Engine Performs Self-test to check for problems
* LEDs Indicate Encryption Error Checking and Power/Drive Activity
* Most units include three identical pre-coded Security Keys
* AES Key Programmer, hand-held key progtammer, sold separately
* Additional blank and pre-coded Security Key's available, sold separately
* Additional Security Key lanyards available, sold separately
* Compatible with any capacity SATA 3.5′ hard drive
* Compatible with existing (non-encrypted) SATA DataPort 10 Drive Carriers
* USB 2.0 and eSATA Host Interface
* USB cable, eSATA cable and power supply included
* Rugged Metal Design For Ultimate Data Protection
* Patented Temperature Controlled Cooling System regulates fan speed
* LEDs show Power, Drive activity and Security Key status
* High durability connectors rated for over 30,000 insertions
* Audible fan failure alarm
* Ultra-quiet Vapo Bearing MagLev (Magnetic Levitation System) cooling fan
* Supports DataPort 10 Secure and DataPort 10 (non-encrypted) SATA hard drive carriers
* Free backup software is included with every purchase of a SecureDock preconfigured with a hard drive.
o ProSoft's award-winning backup software (a $59 value) for free!
* Transfers data at the fastest rates supported by USB 2.0 & eSATA interfaces:
o USB 2.0 = up to 480Mb/sec
o eSATA = up to 1.5 Gb/sec
* 1-Year Warranty
* CE, RoHS
6.8 W x 11.1 L x 2.4 H (inch)
172 W x 282 L x 61 H (mm)
* Dimensions are for reference only
Basically, the DataPort SecureDock is an external hard drive enclosure with USB 2.0 and eSATA interfaces that also has integrated AES 128 encryption. It can be used with any SATA hard drive. Our review sample has a 500 GB hard drive.
Page 3 : Package Contents & Walkthrough
Below the installation guides, we have the DataPort SecureDock enclosure itself, protected by plastic.
All the accompanying accessories are below the SecureDock. These include the power adaptor, eSATA bracket, mounting screws, eSATA cable, USB cable, two keys, and three security key lanyards.
The SecureDock enclosure unit actually consists of two parts. There is the outer shell, which acts as the enclosure and encryption unit (the SecureDock). There is also the inner unit which houses just the hard drive (the DataPort 10 Secure Drive Carrier). There are four LEDs – the two on top signify power and activity while the bottom two signify whether the device can be used or not. There is a lock, to be used with the provided keys. Below the two lower LEDs is a port that resembles a mini-USB female connector. However, this is not a USB connector – this is to be used with the three security keys.
The sides of the unit are shiny, and seem very sturdy.
On the rear of the unit, we have a power button, ventilation holes, USB 2.0 port, eSATA port, and a power port.
The bottom of the unit has four rubber feet, a couple of stickers and more ventilation holes.
To remove the DataPort 10 Secure Drive Carrier from the SecureDock, all you have to do is pull it out from the front of the unit. You can see the attachment point inside the unit and a cooling fan.
The Drive Carrier is quite compact and fully encloses the drive inside it.
The back of it has a connector for interfacing with the SecureDock.
Opening it, we see the 500 GB Hitachi hard drive that's provided and a thermal probe, for temperature monitoring and controlling fan speed. The Drive Carrier's PCB has SATA data and power connectors embedded that the drive slides into.
With the Drive Carrier out of the SecureDock, we can open the casing to see what's inside it as well. Just slide the two plastic pieces in towards the center of the device to unlock.
The shell then slides off and the innards are revealed. There are two fans, a small one and a large one. I will assume these couple of PCBs are for interfacing and encryption.
That concludes our tour of the unit. Let's move on to setting up the device and testing it.
Page 4 : Setup & Testing
Using the CRU-DataPort SecureDock is simple. You just plug in the power to the SecureDock, connect it to your computer via either USB 2.0 or eSATA, load it with the DataPort 10 Secure Drive Carrier which has your hard drive, and you're almost ready to use it. For some reason, the power switch on the back of the device had no effect on anything so I just left it in the ‘on’ position.
Using one of the keys on the lock actually turns the device on and off. Initially, a red LED glows to let you know that you still need to insert one of the three security keys into the mini-USB port.
Upon inserting the security key, the other two LEDs light up and the bottom LED becomes green. At this point, you may even remove the security key.
The beauty of the SecureDock is that it is invisible to the user. Therefore, you only have to configure the hard drive manually to format and partition it however you want.
Once that's done, you're free to use the hard drive.
For testing the performance of the drive, I decided to use HD Tune, HD Tach, and ATTO Disk Benchmark. The tests were done for three different cases:
Encryption enabled, USB 2.0
Encryption enabled, eSATA
Encryption disabled, SATA
For the first two cases with encryption enabled, I used the SecureDock with either USB 2.0 or eSATA. For the encryption disabled case, I took the hard drive out of the Drive Carrier and connected it to my computer as an ‘internal’ hard drive. This is to test both the effects of the interface used as well as to test the effect of encryption of performance.
For convenience, most of the results have been charted.
Firstly, we can see that USB 2.0 lags behind by a significant margin. Also, we note that that encryption has no effect on anything except for burst transfer rates, where it has a significant effect.
The HD Tach results tell a similar story. Without encryption, burst rates are almost double what they are with encryption.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
The results from ATTO show the same trend, also for write speeds.
All in all, we can conclude that the encryption only has an effect on burst speeds. Otherwise, it is seamless when it comes to normal transfer rates. Also, it is best to use the eSATA interface if you can to maximize transfer rates. USB 2.0 is severely limited.
Page 5 : Conclusion
The CRU-DataPort SecureDock is definitely a unique product. This is not your average external hard drive enclosure! Offering both USB 2.0 and eSATA connectivity, the SecureDock manages to do what it says and does so extremely quickly as our testing shows – especially if you use the eSATA interface. In terms of encryption, the device is very easy to use. There is no software to install and everything is seamless. The lock-and-key system and mini-USB style security keys work well as well. My favorite feature has to be the fact that you can use any SATA hard drive with the SecureDock; you're not limited to just the 500 GB unit that comes with it.
All things considered, the CRU-DataPort SecureDock is a flawless product. The only question that remains is, do you really need AES 128-bit security for your external hard drive? If your answer is yes, then look no further than the CRU-DataPort SecureDock.
- Offers industry-leading AES encryption
- Easy to use and works well
- Ability to provide your own hard drive
- Great performance
- Low availability
I'd like to thanks CRU-DataPort for making this review possible