Small business users looking for a portable hard drive are being offered two new drives from Iomega that go beyond the usual sales features of high capacity and portability.

The company's new 2.5 inch eGo 'Encrypt' and eGo 'Blackbelt', announced this week, showcase the new frontline in portable hard drive models, integrated encryption and ‘ruggedised' case design.

The company hopes the eGo Encrypt's appeal will lie in its built-in whole-disk encryption technology, based around 128-bit AES, encryption acceleration and a supplied management utility. Connect the drive, and a password is required to access the data; disconnect it and the data is automatically locked.

Iomega has yet to offer details on matters such as password recovery or security management, but the launch capacity will be 320GB.

By contrast, the 250Gb eGo ‘Blackbelt' sets out to secure data in a physical way, adding a rubber belt that winds around the machine to protect it from drops of up to a claimed 2.1 metres. The same band can be added to the eGo Encrypt to perform the same task.

"The eGo Encrypt Drive is a ruggedised silver bullet with enterprise-level encryption for all your important files, while the eGo BlackBelt Drive is a shock-absorbing black beauty of a portable drive that makes its own fashion statement," said Iomega's Peter Wharton, eschewing understatement.

Both drives come with EMC's Retrospect Express HD, a cut-down backup program, and a basic account with EMC's Mozy online backup service.

Iomega hasn't quite given up on the idea that pleasing case design still interests users, however shallow that might appear in these days of security paranoia. Two weeks ago it announced the eGo Helium drive, a sleek aluminium unit in the same eGo family as the new drives, but meant to appeal to the aesthetically fussy Apple market.

The UK price for the eGo Encrypt Portable has been set at a premium but still competitive £109.99, while the eGo Blackbelt Portable will cost £79.99.