Portable hard disks are widely available and very affordable these days. The only disadvantage with portable drives is the increased risk of loss or theft when you’re on the move. If you need extra security features to protect your data, and you don’t mind paying quite a bit extra for that protection, you might want to consider the DataLocker DL3 from Origin Storage.

At first glance the DataLocker DL3 looks much like any other conventional portable hard drive. It’s solidly built, with a brushed aluminium casing that will sit nicely alongside a MacBook. Origin says the drive is both ‘shock and drop resistant’, and a detachable rubber casing is included for additional protection too.

Enter the correct password on the touchscreen keypad to access those important files

Closer inspection reveals that the DataLocker 3 also has a small LCD display on the front panel. The screen turns on when you plug the drive into a Mac or PC, and displays a touch-sensitive numeric keypad so you can enter the password. The drive uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your files, and without the correct password it will not connect to your computer, ensuring that no unauthorised users can gain access to your files. There’s even a ‘self-destruct’ option that instructs the DataLocker to delete files after a number of incorrect attempts to enter the password.

We tested the 320GB model, and did have one slight problem at first. The drive is supplied with an initial default password, and when you plug it in for the first time you are prompted to create a password of your own. We weren’t able to do this, and it took a phone call to Origin’s technical support line to inform us that the new password has to contain a specific number of characters. Apart from that, the drive worked flawlessly.

OUR VERDICT

The manual could have done a better job of explaining how to create your new password, but the DataLocker does provide a very secure means of protecting your important files if the drive gets lost when you’re away from your office. That extra security comes with a premium price, but it may well be worth it if you need to protect commercially sensitive data.