Rugged Secure external hard drive: Keep your on-the-go data secure

The new Rugged Secure external hard drive is buffered from drops and other external shocks by a bright-orange rubber bumper around its silver aluminium case.
The new Rugged Secure external hard drive is buffered from drops and other external shocks by a bright-orange rubber bumper around its silver aluminium case.

Securing your data from prying eyes and hardware failure is the pitch from Seagate-owned storage firm LaCie for its new Rugged Secure external hard drive.

It is the first in LaCie's venerable line of sturdy portable hard drives to offer hardware encryption (AES-256), dubbed Seagate Secure.

Users can set up a password to lock the drive. Once set, the password must be provided to access the drive on any computer (Mac or PC). Unplug the drive from the computer and it is locked automatically.

Bundled with the drive is the Seagate Toolkit app, which lets users back up data from their computers to the drive with one click.

Users can also enable a mirroring feature that automatically saves changes made to specific files in their computer to an identical copy in the drive.

The drive is buffered from drops and other external shocks by a bright-orange rubber bumper around its silver aluminium case.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $299 (2TB)

    INTERFACE: USB 3.1 Type-C (Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.0 compatible)

    WEIGHT: 270g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

LaCie has been using this design for many years, offering a shock-resistant alternative to the usual portable hard drives out there.

LaCie says the Rugged Secure can survive a drop from a height of up to 1.2m and withstand being run over by a 1-tonne vehicle. It is also rain resistant.

However, it probably cannot handle being dipped in the pool, unlike your premium flagship smartphone.

If these protection features fail, the drive includes a two-year data recovery service plan from Seagate. The firm says it has a success rate of 90 per cent in recovering user's data from storage-drive failures.

As you would expect from a new portable drive, it uses the latest USB Type-C interface. Two cables (USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB Type A) are included in the package, so there is no need to buy your own dongle or cable.

In my testing with the CrystalDiskMark storage benchmark, the Rugged Secure performed up to the specifications (about 130MB/s) provided by LaCie.

The file transfer speeds are decent for a 2.5-inch drive, which has much lower read and write speeds than pricier solid-state drives.

But I did notice that these transfer speeds dropped to about 45MB/s on a few occasions, when hardware encryption was enabled.

For those who cannot risk losing their valuable data, the Rugged Secure offers added peace of mind with its data recovery service plan.

The hardware-encryption feature is also handy for those handling sensitive data.

But they do not come free. The Rugged Secure costs $299, which is about $100 more than the standard LaCie Rugged model.

• Verdict: A secure portable hard drive - physically and digitally.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'Keep your on-the-go data secure'. Print Edition | Subscribe