DESlock+ is a useful and comprehensive collection of encryption tools for Windows environments, packaged in an intuitive, easy-to-use manner.

There is an air of professionalism around its packaging and presentation, including a proper ring-bound manual with clear instructions. Also included are two rugged USB devices for storing keys, the idea being that one will be used as a backup – a thoughtful and practical touch.

The DESkey devices can store up to 64 keys internally. However, you do not have to use tokens at all if you don’t want to: software key files can be used instead. Both folders and individual files may be encrypted with DESlock – in fact, even parts within a file, if only certain parts are sensitive.

Email messages can also be encrypted. An Outlook plug-in is included, although the recipient must obviously have access to the appropriate keys to decrypt the file at their end. This is easily organized via key sharing, and useful wizards are supplied for managing both key files and tokens in this context.

DESlock+ might well appeal to individual users due to its general coherence and ease of use, but there is also a corporate functionality whereby an administrator may prepare keys and tokens that are finally activated by the user.

This enables common rules to be set around wrong password response and other factors. It also enables grouping of tokens so that keys may not be shared outside the specific group.

Other useful utilities include a shredder for secure file deletion, a scratchpad for storing personal text within the secure area of the DESkey, and a message viewer that will decrypt a message purely into the viewer window without decrypting the underlying file.

Among supported encryption algorithms are 3DES, Blowfish and AES (128-bit), with the RSA algorithm for key transfers.

DESlock+ is an established, well-considered product that reliably does what it claims – crucial for encryption products where a slight error or misunderstanding by the user could lock them out of their own data.

DESlock’s intuitive interfaces and logical operation are invaluable in avoiding this. We like this product. It does what it claims, and is easy to use, even by those with little experience in this area. It also represents very good value.