Many of us love the convenience of being able to plug in USB devices, spend a few seconds transferring that half-completed report or essay, and being able to stash it in our pocket. The process is just as convenient for a thief - and hardly any office setups control access to the USB ports on PCs, printers and so on. Which is where the Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy Edition comes in.

Kingston's DataTraveler Vault Privacy Edition is a good but pricey option for anyone who needs an encrypted drive small enough to wear around the neck. A blue metallic tube with a cap on one end, it's among the bulkier USB models we've seen.

It's what's inside that counts, though. The Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy Edition's embedded encryption engine scrambles data with a 256bit AES encryption key - a key that's much longer than that of other products. The longer key means thieves must take that much more time to try to crack the encryption.

The Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy Edition opens its utilities in a read-only partition that Windows interprets as a CD-ROM drive. Once you have created your password, the drive mounts the encrypted partition.

OUR VERDICT

It's difficult to beat the convenience of a USB stick as secure, 256bit AES encrypted backup - but the Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy Edition is not a cheap product.