Kanguru Defender 2000 Review: A Managed, Secure Flash Drive

Even physically, the Kanguru Defender 2000 secure flash drive more than lives up to its name. It's solid and heavy enough that you could easily pull a David to an attacker's Goliath as a self-defense tactic. Toss in a tactilely pleasing alloy body, and not since Lexar's now-discontinued JumpDrive SAFE S3000 FIPS has there been a drive that can rival worry beads for an in-hand experience.

The Defender 2000 has 256-bit AES hardware encryption and is both tamperproof and waterproof. It's also FIPS 140-2 Level 2 validated, and is being evaluated for Level 3 as well as Common Criteria EAL2+. The security software client for entering passwords and configuring the drive launches from a CD-emulating partition, offers antimalware capabilities, and also supports Linux. Most drives that rely upon software for password entry support only Windows and OS X.

Kanguru ships the Defender 2000 in a variety of capacities, from a $69 4GB model to a capacious $499 128GB version--the only drive in our roundup that shipped with that large a capacity. All sizes are competitively priced. We tested a $129, 16GB model.

The Defender 2000 may be used on its own, or as part of a fleet managed by the company's Kangaru Remote Management Console, which Kanuru offers as either end-user software or an online service. The KRMC software is effective, providing options for forcing password length and strength, password expiration periods, number of attempts, and so on. A separate provisioning tool that the drives with your company. I did spot some minor software anomalies--including a very annoying warning to shut down the software before removing the drive--but the company promised fixes by the time you read this.

For a USB 2.0 drive, the Defender 2000 proved a sprightly performer. It wrote our 10GB batch of small files at 10.2 megabytes per second, and read them at 29.5 MBps. With a single large 10GB file, it wrote at 21.1 MBps and read at 31.3 MBps. The Defender 2000 was by far the fastest overall of the secure flash drives in our roundup--a real advantage when you want to get out of the office in a hurry.

It's not as sexy as the Imation Defender F200 with its finger-swiper, but the Defender 2000 is a far more affordable and, for most users, more practical purchase. It's an impressive product from a new vendor that's obviously been doing its homework.

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