External hard drives make data portable, but they also make it vulnerable if you manage to misplace the drive or it is nabbed by some light-fingered thief. Software encryption provides one level of protection for that all-important data, but for extra peace of mind there are also options for hardware-based security such as the new Aegis Padlock Secure Drive.

Featuring a keypad on the exterior of the drive, like that found on the Lenovo ThinkPad USB Portable Secure Hard Drive, the Aegis Padlock Secure Drive restricts access to the drive only to those who know the unique PIN. The drive can be purchased with either AES-128 or 256-bit hardware encryption to provide real-time encryption and keep data secure even if the hard drive is removed from its enclosure.

The drive features a 16-point omni-directional shock mounting system to protect it from drops and knocks and it is USB-powered via an integrated USB cable. No software installation is required for setup or operation and an Administrator feature allows enrollment of up to ten unique user ID’s and one administrator.

The Aegis Padlock Secure Drive comes in 250, 320 and 500GB capacities, which range in price from USD$99 for the 250GB AES-128 drive up to USD$159 for the 500GB drive with AES-256 encryption.

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