ExactTrak Security Guardian - Spies like USB

10/20/2012 9:19:16 AM

Spies like USB

USB sticks are the scourge of data security, as they can store so much sensitive information and yet are so easily lost – potentially bringing regulatory action as well as causing concern for clients. If you have reason to worry about this sort of thing, ExactTrak offers a unique solution: its Security Guardian USB device users GPS and GSM to tell you where it is, and if you lose track of it, the data it contains can be automatically erased.

The Security Guardian device transmits its location every hour via GPS or GSM, or every five minutes when plugged into power, so you know where your data is at all times

A built-in Orange SIM card allows you to communicate with the device and turn its memory on or off remotely at any time. If you also choose the self-destruct option, there won’t be any Mission: Impossible style smoke and flames as a lost stick does the honourable thing, but the internal battery will send a (relatively) high-voltage charge into the memory chip, frying its contents and rendering it unusable. It would take heroic measures to recover anything from it after this, let alone legible information.

With all the extra kit built in, the Security Guardian is larger than the average USB stick, but still easily pocketable with a slot for a lanyard. Besides the standard 16GB version, 4GB and 32GB options are available on request, and a 64GB unit is being trialled.

You pay an annual fee for the Security Guardian service ($298.5 after the first year), which provides access to a remote management cloud portal. Each stick has a unique identifier, and you can manage and track them all from one web-based console.

GPS TRACKING ENABLES the device to compute its exact location, as long as it has sight of enough satellites. If not, it falls back to GSM; in one of our testing locations, its location was mapped simply as that of the nearest cell mast, a couple of streets from our actual site, with the positioning method identified as ‘Cell’. Elsewhere, we found GPS worked reasonably accurately, despite the device’s small antenna: it had us down to within 100m at our lab in Sussex, and in Brighton it pinpointed us to within 3m. The web portal map shows the computed locations of each Security Guardian device that you control, plotted over tine as a route. You can select date ranges to track their movement, replay past data, and, where there’s sufficient information, even see how fast a stick was travelling.

On battery, the device transmits only once an hour, but at one point it logged us zipping along the A27 at 55m ph. We also couriered the device to London and monitored its progress to the Dennis Publishing office, where it was located precisely the following day.

Enabling and disabling the memory is a one-click job from the portal, or you can send a custom SMS command from an authorized mobile. In our tests, the stick responded to SMS commands within ten seconds.

Description: ExactTrak Security Guardian

Geozones define areas on the globe where devices may be used, and are created from the portal using custom radial areas or polygons. When a device enters or leaves a memory control geozone, it’s automatically enabled or disabled. You can also be notified by email and SMS when it leaves a departure geozone or enters an arrival geozone. This is clever, although we found creating zones fiddly to the point of frustration.

In all, the Security Guardian makes storing confidential data on a USB stick a lot more manageable. Of course, it would be overkill for everyday use in most organisations, but the security offered will be invaluable for some as well as appealing to IT managers who’ve watched a few too many episodes of Burn Notice.

Price: $531


Pro Geolocation. Self-destruction

Con Very expensive. Basic UI

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