USB flash drives and Cloud storage

Fast speed Internet connections are now a requirement for even the basic Web browsing.  The computers and laptops also have to stay ahead to meet the ever expanding requirements of numerous videos, music, and flash animations.

The combination of computer power and ever increasing need to store more data, generates an equal need to have the data backup. Many solutions are being offered by large power houses such as Microsoft and Google for cloud applications; additionally there are many more that offer cloud backup as well as plain data storage.

What is cloud computing anyway? The basic concept involves networking a large number of server computers to enable data storage or application environments for the end user such as yourself. These server computers may be sitting on the property of the company from which you receive the service or distributed in many locations all over the world.

The cloud computing asks you to put your trust in the service provider ability to keep your data safe and secure. Do you have the trust in your cloud service provider?

For those people who must answer “No” for any reason, the local storage of sensitive data is much more comforting. The flash memory data storage such as flash drives and SSD (solid state drives) are growing larger and offer faster speeds with USB 3.0. The ability to use strong encryption algorithms to protect the data and keeping the data close raises the comfort to a level which the cloud computing has a hard time to reach.

Cloud computing is a great way to store, backup, create, and organize casual data and documents. If you have sensitive data or you don’t feel the unconditional trust for the cloud service provider, consider the flash memory route with the encrypted flash drives and SSDs.


Can I read protect my USB flash drive?

Read protecting the flash drive is useful for protecting the data or by limiting how the data is used on the drive. There are several methods that can be employed for the task. However,  there is no one solution that can protect and limit data access at the same time in an easy to implement solution.

Protecting the data is easy with an encrypted compressed data file. The files or directories are encrypted and then compressed using a popular ZIP compression format. When a user needs to access the data, he or she must know that password to access the file(s). This is a simple and effective way to limit the access to data. However, the drawback is also simple – once the password is known, nothing will prevent anyone who knows that password from accessing the data.

Limiting data access based on frequency (the number of times someone can access the data) or authentication (proving passwords or some other access information) is trickier.

In order to achieve protection of this level,  the USB flash drive has to have an additional chipset that can uniquely identify the flash drive. Once the chipset is in place, a software package can be utilized to code the data loaded on the drive with the unique flash drive identification. The software package can be programmed to control data access through frequency, authentication or any other specified parameter.

Since the data is coded with the unique identifier on the USB flash drive,  the data moved to a computer, another flash drive, or any other media will be unreadable. The only way the data can be read is by matching the data to its host with a unique id.

If you are looking for simple password protection of data for your flash drive, it is easily available. However, going above and beyond of a simple protection will involve specialized hardware and software.

Promotional USB 3.0 flash drives

There has been a lot of buzz about the next generation of USB 3.0 400MB/s over the last couple of years. What does the new standard mean for the promotional industry?

So far there has not been sufficient backing from large powerhouses such as Intel and AMD to propel the new USB standard to new heights. The good news is that Intel is planning on committing to the technology in 2012. With Intel backing others will be hard pressed to follow suit.

Currently, the prices on the promotional flash drives are double of the USB 2.0/1.1 standard. The transfer speeds are important in the promotional drives, however USB 2.0 offers plenty of speed for storing documents, presentations, music, etc..  There is really no need for higher speeds unless you plan on storing very large amounts of data (16G up to 128GB) for videos or computer backup.

We all know that price of the drive is important when ordering hundreds or thousands of drives for an event. The idea is to get your potential clients or customers to see your brand/company name as much as possible. Promoting with a practical drive that has enough space for common data storage is the best way to ensure product use and name visibility.

The flash drive with 1GB data storage is perfect for documents/presentations as well as occasional storage of high resolution pictures; the 4GB drive expands into regularly storing high-resolution photos, documents/presentations, and a couple of video files. Reducing storage space makes sense based on the promotional needs, however increasing the storage space has to be based on a significant justification for doing so. The significant price increase can hurt your budget, however the clients may not always appreciate the higher storage space.

The USB 3.0 standard may not be far away from being used in the promotional drives. It can offer faster transfer speeds for the more streamlined experience; however, for the time being, the 3.0 only represents a higher cost.