The Axxer BXE-210-U2SR is a 2.5in drive caddy equipped with an RFID reader and two RFID 'keys' to help keep your private data from prying eyes.

Storing data on portable external hard disks remains a popular way of carrying files with us. Flash memory USB sticks are smaller, often faster too, but if you need to carry more than 32GB, the external drive is the only way to go.

So now that we can easily carry vast amounts of data, the next issue is security. Ever stopped to wonder what could happen if you lose that drive, or if someone were to browse through it in your absence? It's not just embarrassing family snaps you might worry about. Personal financial details, login passwords, confidential company records, payroll information – these are just some things that demand being locked away from prying eyes.

You can elect to encrypt the data using any of various security software programs, to be opened only by typing in a good password. Or you could lock the drive using a physical key – or its modern-day equivalent, the RFID tag.

In the UK, RFID tags are already in common use, found in new British passports and in London Transport Oyster cards – a means to embed personalised data in a passive card or tag, which can be read at will without direct electrical connection.

The radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag allows unique data to be stored on a small chip, which can be scanned by a nearby RFID reader. No battery power is required for the chip, as it receives a small amount of electrical power inductively by being placed close to the reader, where it picks up a small current from its aerial-like coil.

In the case of the Axxer BXE-210 mobile disk, we have a 2.5in drive caddy equipped with an RFID reader, and two RFID ‘keys' to unlock it. These physical keys contain a passkey stored in an internal chip.

Sold by the Storage Depot as either an empty caddy or ready-fitted with a 2.5in SATA hard disk, the Axxer BXE-210-U2SR's key must be swiped across the rear of the drive, within a few millimetres, to allow it to mount on the computer's operating system. Thereafter it can be used as a regular external disk drive.

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