Depending on your business needs, Security Guardian could be used as anything from a secure USB drive that can be posted to a recipient, to a safe way to let employees carry sensitive data on the move. A range of remote access control, real-time location reporting and handy features such as the Secure Access pairing utility makes this a powerful and versatile way to protect important data.
Wide range of security and protection features; location tracking; peace of mind.
A little bulky; no encryption or security built in; 'dial-in' delay before drive is visible.
£ 95 (4GB) + £10 monthly subscription
GPS module; GSM, GPRS SMS module; compatible with all major AES-256 encryption; 80 x 40 x 20mm; 40g
Despite continued progression in the fields of security and data protection, 2009 saw a significant rise in incidents of data loss, with 434 organisations filing reports in 12 months, up 277 over the previous year. The NHS and the police were among the high-profile casualties, so it would seem that a more secure way to handle sensitive data in 2010 would be well received.
Enter the ExactTrak Security Guardian mobile data and laptop security solution, designed to offer a range of benefits for consumers and small and large businesses. The device itself is a fairly weighty USB key with up to 32GB of memory and built-in GPS and GSM modules, allowing it to communicate with a central server to report location and 'sign in' when activated.
Login details are also provided to a secure ExactTrak account page, from which it's possible to see whether the unit has been activated (connected to a computer) and its current position, and to offer remote control over operation. You could, for example, automatically install programs on a host machine, configure encryption levels, delete sensitive data or disable access from afar, and many of these features are also accessible via secure SMS sent to the unit from a registered mobile phone.
In a more local sense it is a little strange to see that no encryption or secure software comes preinstalled on the device. This is something that is being considered for future versions, but for the time being users will have to install their own, although some, such as TrueCrypt, are open source and available free of charge.
Once plugged in you'll see the Security Guardian appear as a standard drive, but this can take a little while (usually a couple of minutes) as it dials into the central server to report access and location. What you will find on the unit, aside from documentation, is a Secure Access utility that, when installed, will link operation of a specific notebook or desktop computer to the presence of the Security Guardian key. A computer will not boot without it, and will automatically shut down if the key is removed. In our tests this seemed to work very well.
As mentioned, the majority of the features available with Security Guardian are managed via a secure access web site. This is a little basic, consisting mostly of drop-down list boxes to adjust access, and text boxes to input user information, but it's straightforward to use once you've worked out where everything is.
We received accurate confirmation that the device had been activated when plugged in, and were able to establish a GPS lock indoors at our test location. This was initially accurate only to about 150 feet, but it does improve over time as the device recalculates to cope with reflections off buildings and interference inside a room. After being plugged in for about 10 minutes, it realigned the position to what we estimated at around 10 feet. Incidentally, Google Maps is used to display locations, making it very easy to use road, satellite or aerial views to quickly establish position.
When more conventional security measures such as encryption are taken into account, this makes Security Guardian a superbly versatile way to handle sensitive information, and puts the sender in complete control of what's been accessed and where.
Despite some shortcomings, we think that the range of features on offer could solve some very real problems; there's definite peace of mind in knowing that data has reached its intended location, and in the ability to render the device unusable until manually activated, perhaps following a call to confirm receipt.
Built-in security and encryption would have resulted in a more well-rounded solution, but Security Guardian is versatile enough to offer protection in just about any situation.