As data becomes increasingly mobile in today's world, security risks have heightened simultaneously. Whether travelling for business or in your daily commute, protecting sensitive files is paramount, especially if confidential company or customer data is involved. This is where the iStorage diskAshur M2 2TB encrypted portable SSD comes into play. I recently took this rugged, PIN-authenticated drive for a test run to see if it's up to snuff for today's security demands.
Pricing & Capacities
The diskAshur M2 is available in capacities ranging from 120GB to 2TB, with pricing as follows:
The model reviewed here is the high-capacity 2TB version.
Specification diskAshur M2
|Hardware encrypted portable SSD – USB 3.2 (Gen 1) SuperSpeed – up to 5Gbps. Backwards compatible with USB 3.0/2.0/1.1
|120GB, 240GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
|Speed SSD: Read
|Speed SSD: Write
|FIPS 140-3 Level 3 (pending)
|Dimensions Without sleeve
|Height: 106mm, Width: 45 mm, Depth: 12mm
|Dimensions With sleeve
|Height: 111mm, Width: 45 mm, Depth: 12mm
|Weight With sleeve
|Weight Without sleeve
|Operating system compatibility
|MS Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Android, Thin Clients, Zero Clients, Embedded Systems, Citrix and VMware
|Hardware data encryption
|AES-XTS 256-bit full disk hardware encryption
|FCC, CE, WEEE, C-tick, RoHS, REACH, TAA Compliant
|USB Type A & C Cables included
|diskAshur M2 portable SSD & Protective Sleeve, Protective Carry Case, USB C & A Cables, Quick Start Guide & Product Disclaimer
|IS-DAM2-256-XX, XX – capacity*
At first glance, the diskAshur M2 resembles an external hard drive with its rectangular shape and rounded edges. However, upon closer inspection, the thick layer of epoxy resin encasing the drive makes it clear this is no ordinary portable storage device. Designed to be tamper-evident, it would be extremely difficult for someone to pry open the external chassis without causing permanent damage.
The resin also makes the drive dust and waterproof with an IP68 rating for up to 30 minutes submerged under 1.5 meters of water. It passed my makeshift splash tests with flying colours. Moreover, tossing it around and even standing on it did not affect functionality. iStorage claims it can withstand a 4-meter drop onto concrete and sustain a 2.7-ton vehicle running over it.
I’m sold on the military-grade durability. Short of taking a hammer directly to the diskAshur M2, it should keep your data unscathed if it goes for an accidental tumble.
You might wonder if packing all this hardcore encryption into a tiny SSD could shorten its lifespan – I mean, we data security nerds do work these drives hard! But even after my battery of drop/shock/smash examinations, the M2 just shrugged and asked for more.
iStorage only reveals their drives use “Commercial Grade MLC NAND flash” without specifics. But to compare, those spicy WD Blue SATA SSDs keep cranking through an estimated 1.75 million hours before potential failure. Plus they self-correct errors on the fly using custom AI, protecting up to 600TB of your precious written data over time.
While the diskAshur missed sharing its endurance credentials, I'm giving this muscular little brick serious props for resilience. Short of a rogue blow from a sledgehammer (do NOT try that!), the M2 and your irreplaceable data files should easily outlive typical device upgrade cycles. Just baby the encrypted beast a little, folks!
To test the performance of the diskAshur M2, I connected it to both a laptop with USB-C and a desktop with USB-A. During the smaller 4K I/O test, the diskAshur M2 measured 4,843 IOPS read and 6,389 IOPS write.
The sequential read speed hit 330 MB/s while the write reached 320 MB/s over the USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface, which slightly missed the quoted 370 MB/s spec but still showed solid real-world transfer capabilities.
Fort Knox-Level Security
But resistance to the elements means nothing if the underlying encryption technology fails to deliver. The M2 incorporates AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption validated to meet the FIPS PUB 197 standard to secure all your files. The Common Criteria EAL5+ certification on the hardware means it has undergone rigorous third-party vulnerability testing as well.
Accessing the SSD requires inputting a 7-15 digit PIN on the weatherproof epoxy-coated keypad to decrypt the drive. The M2 locks automatically whenever disconnected from a computer or if power to the USB port ceases.
Independent Admin and User PINs allow custom permission policies too. For instance, the Admin can enforce password complexity rules or recovery options without giving the User full control.
The M2 also employs cryptographic countermeasures for advanced protection against hardware attacks. Multiple sensors track voltage, frequency, temperature, and light as additional environmental safeguards.
Blazing Fast Transfers
With critical defence mechanisms covered, how does the diskAshur M2 stack up on data transfers? Testing revealed solid numbers despite slightly missing quoted specs. The sequential read hit 330 MB/s while the write reached 320 MB/s over the USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface.
More importantly, the drive maintained the zippy responsiveness I’ve come to expect from SSDs, unlike slower HDDs. I could quickly move multi-gigabyte videos or batches of RAW photos to the encrypted volume without irritation. The hardware encryption adds minimal overhead so speeds stay snappy.
For anyone dealing with sensitive customer data, medical records, legal files or mission-critical company assets, the iStorage diskAshur M2 2TB encrypted portable SSD oozes state-of-the-art security. Admin/User PINs, AES-256 encryption, and extreme tamper protection combine to create portable storage peace of mind.
While not exactly cheap for a 2TB flash drive, I have zero complaints given the uncompromising build and encryption tech powering this SSD fortress. Its ruggedness also lets me stash critical data in my go bag, ready for globetrotting without worrying about damage or unauthorized access. For certain professionals and enterprises, that's easily worth the premium investment.
I'll be straight with you – no data protection is completely foolproof. But after prodding every nook and USB port on this puppy, the diskAshur M2's layered approach makes me confident my files can withstand some serious abuse.
See, standard encryption relies on a single passcode to unlock everything. The problem is, that watchful eyes can nab your numbers, and flawed humans forget. The M2 counters with granular Admin and User permissions so multiple people can access safely if you share.
I configured a buddy as a User with his unique PIN. As Admin, I dictated his functions while an offline recovery PIN protects us if trouble strikes. We also enabled “self-destruct” as our last resort to permanently block intruders. Let's just say things got dramatic during testing!
Some nitpicks: Smudges on the epoxy keypad could expose button patterns. And botching passcodes repeatedly will lock you out for good – practice password hygiene folks! The hardware tops out theoretically at around 550MB/s so collagen-melting transfer blazes aren't happening.
Overall though, iStorage checked more security boxes consistently than the competitors I evaluated. Protection merits premium costs for high-risk data transport. I award the M2 my esteemed “Encryption Seal of Approval!” Just use your powers wisely my friends.
- Military-grade IP68 rating – dust/waterproof, withstands 4m drop, 2.7-ton crushproof
- PIN authentication plus AES-256 hardware encryption secures the drive
- Admin and User PINs enable custom security policies
- Hardware attacks protection through encryption and sensors
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 transfers up to 330 MB/s read, 320 MB/s write
For additional technical specifications or to request a quote, visit the iStorage website. Government and volume pricing are available.