Large organisations are embracing cloud storage but memory firm Kingston isn’t giving up on the idea of secure thumb drives just yet. Its latest DataTraveler drive combines hardware-based encryption and USB 3.0 performance in a bid to keep the sector going.

Encrypted flash drives abound but Kingston believes the combination of security features at an affordable price is what gives the DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 its unique selling point.

Where most lower-cost ‘secure’ drives ship with software encryption (which needs a software client to be accessible from a PC), the Privacy builds in 256-bit AES as a hardware chip. The passphrase can also be protected with enforced password complexity while anything above 10 guesses causes a drive format.

Usefully, the Privacy can be used in a ‘read-only’ mode which blocks some types of malware from using it as an advertent Trojan in order to infect internal networks; the managed version of the drive can be set up using a central console from Swedish firm Blockmaster.

On this theme, a separate version, the DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 Anti-Virus, comes with ESET’s NOD32 antivirus scanning engine and the integrated ClevX DriveSecurity utility designed specifically to block USB-based malware.

The pricing for this is around £38 ($60) for the 8GB model or £60 for the 16GB version, below equivalent drives with this sort of spec.

What businesses don’t get for this price is the FIPS 140-2 assurance that comes with the DataTraveler 4000 or the higher FIPS-140-3 of the top-of-the-range DataTreveler 6000, but many businesses don’t need this level of security.

“Many enterprise organizations take security and protecting confidential information extremely seriously, yet still fail to set or follow all security policies,” commented Kingston’s EMEA product marketing manager, Nadine Frost.

“Kingston has helped enterprises future proof their investment by implementing fast USB 3.0 speeds and designing controllers which allow NAND to be interchanged without requalification and certification of security features,” she said.

Longer term, even the most secure flash drives will struggle to hold their own against the arrival of cloud storage. not least because they are not compatible with some mobile devices. At the moment, in the PC-centric world secure cloud servcies are under-developed but this will change. Kingston's super-secure DataTravelers could be the last great flowering of a sector that once carried all before it.