The IronKey has been called the USB flash drive for the ‘professionally paranoid', and now customers unwilling to trust cloud management can even look after the super-secure drives from their own network.

From the end of this quarter, customers will have a choice of whether to allow their fleet of drives to be managed as a service or using their own in-house teams, effectively widening the possible customer base to organisations unwilling or unable for regulatory reasons to cede control of their security to a third party. Previously, drive management came as a hosted service.

Known as IronKey Enterprise Server, the software supplies much the same management features seen on the company's hosted service, including the ability to download policies directly, as well as to remotely wipe any drives lost in the field or believed to be in the hands of an inappropriate user.

The USB flash stick drives themselves come in several forms, which feature always-on military-grade encryption and authentication, and McAfee's embedded anti-malware protection. As has become mandatory for all such enterprise-class drives, the IronKey also meets the requirements of FIPS 140-2 Level 2 security in terms of resistance to tampering and brute force password hacking.

IronKey rolled out a user for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a case study in the sort of high-level customer requiring internal control over device management.

"Due to the highly sensitive and confidential information the Department of Homeland Security deals with, we have extremely strict requirements and standards for the technology products we approve," DHS CIO, Ken Rogers, was quoted as saying.

"Having the USB management service available as a server enables us to retain administrative control, while remaining compliant with regulations restricting outside hardware hosting."

The company was unable to confirm whether the new server would carry a license cost, but the drives themselves sell for a premium thanks to the sort of security that puts them a similar league to <a href=" http://www.techworld.com/security/news/index.cfm?newsid=106021 "> rivals such as SanDisk's Cruzer Enterprise </a>.