Origin Data Locker 1TB – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Data Locker from Origin Storage has now been with us for some time and this is the latest one, with a full whacking 1TB of capacity.

The capacity of the 1TB is a little nominal, however, as we all know, in the way those calculations go, and also the fact that over 110MB are used for the encryption program on the drive.

The Data Locker measures 3.13" x 5.11" x 0.91" (W x D x H), is bus powered via USB Port so does not require any extra power supply.

According to the data sheet the supported Operating Systems are Windows 7, Linux (USB Support). I used it on Vista with no problem so it is probably XP and up.

The Data Locker 1TB comes with a recommended retail price of £399 plus VAT, and that is where I did have to gulp, as I find that somewhat on the steep side, even for a hardware encrypted external HDD. And, once you add the VAT in the UK, you get to the best part of £500, which would make it a cost of US$800.

Two different levels of security are available for the device and they are:

  • Data Locker Pro AES: Corporate and Local Government

  • Data Locker Enterprise: Military and transportation of mission critical data

The Data Locker offers state of the art features which include:

  • Brute Force Attack Detect / Self Destruct Response

  • One touch drive erase for rapid re-deployment using admin password

  • Hardware Based Malware Detection / Deflection

  • Unattended Auto Lock Function

  • 100% Platform Independent Security and Authentication

  • Hardware Based AES Encryption (CBC mode)

  • No Software or pop-up password entry screens

Getting started with the device was very simple and changing the password intuitive after a quick read through the Quick Start Guide, and that is a definite plus in my book. Data transfer from laptop to drive extremely fast without any problems.

Connectivity with Linux is no problem whatsoever, even with older versions of that operating system, as no connection to software required.

Initial setting up of drive was done on Linux operated ASUS Eee PC netbook and there was no difference between use in Windows and Linux.

In fact Linux works better and faster as to connecting first time as it does not hang about needing to install the software drivers for the USB connection.

The Data Locker does not have, it would appear, Mac support, at least it is not mentioned on the specs, and if that is the case, one that I cannot understand as the Data Locker is not software dependent, it would be a shame.

The one problem I found was the “keypad” which takes some getting used to, and not only because it seems to change the display from time to time, that is to say the sequence of the keys. I also found the keys on the keypad somewhat sticky, if one could all it thus. Entry must be made very positive and careful for them to be registered by the device.

The above problem is, more than likely, a case of getting used to it but that time does not really exist unless one owns the device and does not just have it on loan for a review only. Over time one would certainly get the key entry down to a T without any glitches that I experienced in my tests.

The features that make the Data Locker, in my opinion, are the rugged construction, hardware malware detection/deflection and the fact that is works with Linux as well as Windows. The AES hard encryption is a given fact.

The one thing that always worries me with secure drives such as this is when the term “Brute Force Attack Detect / Self Destruct Response” is quoted. My question then is does it recycle the drive by destroying the data safely only and resetting the drive or does it render the drive unusable, as some do. The latter would be something costly, considering the price, though not as costly as data breach, obviously.

A very good, and what would appear to be, rugged drive, though, unfortunately, at rather a chunky price tag.

It would be a drive that I would definitely recommend for use by government, security services and the military, for it is a rugged device that will keep the data strongly secured.

For the SME and ordinary user who wants a secure drive this may still be something a little out of the league, especially in an economic situation such as the one the world is still experiencing even in early 2010.

While encryption and security is more and more a requirement to keep data secure also SMEs and the “normal” user other kinds of encryption and securing data may have to be used if funds do not allow for expensive devices such as this one.

One day, maybe, we will actually have external drives, whether HDD or SSD, that actually work on all operating systems without the use of software dependent on the OS that are actually affordable.

For those who can afford the best and should use but the best because of the sensitivity of the data to be secured the Data Locker probably is the best that is out there presently; the ordinary mortal more than likely will still has to bide his or her time.

Verdict: 8 out of 10. The cost and the difficulty I had with working the keypad took the verdict down the two notches.

© 2010

Full Disclosure Statement: The ICT REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.


In addition and clarification of what is said above in the review:

I have now heard from Origin who state that:

  1. The Data Locker is entirely compatible with the Mac operating system which I had assumed anyway but which was not on the information that I had to hand.
  2. The drive is just wiped and recycled when the Brute Force attack prevention is enacted. This was the data is destroyed but the drive is reusable.

Thanks to Andy Cordial of Origin Storage for this clarification and to Darshna Kamani of Eskenzi PR for passing the comments back and forth.