Imation Defender F200 Biometric Flash Drive
Strengths: FIPS 140-2, Level 3 validated, software is completely self-contained.
Weaknesses: No USB 3.0.
Verdict: A simple, secure storage tool, not specifically for authentication alone, but performs very well.
Protecting company data within the corporate network is one thing, but what happens when you need to take that data on the road? Imation offers a simple product - the Defender F200 Biometric Flash Drive - that makes it easy to securely fulfill that need.
Setup of the device is a snap. We simply plugged the drive into a free USB port, and the included ACCESS software ran automatically. For the initial configuration, we were given two options: We could select "Typical," which configures the device for a single user with fingerprint access only, or we could select "Custom," which provided far greater control. Selecting "Custom," we specified the type of authentication we wanted - Biometric + Password - and set the number of users. Next, we set up the minimum password requirements for our users and chose a Device Management Code, which is required for a factory reset. Next, we specified an administrator password - used for configuring users. After that, we were ready to create the first user. We specified a username (used for display purposes) and chose how many fingerprints we wanted to record on the device. After recording our fingerprints, we set a password and the drive was ready for use.
The F200 is a FIPS 140-2, Level 3-validated device, and it uses hardware-based AES 256 encryption, making it appropriate for use in environments with high security requirements. The included ACCESS software, which controls configuration and login, is supported on Windows and Mac OS and is completely contained on the device, making it extremely portable. The device supports up to 10 users. However, we noticed that it also will only record 10 fingerprints. This has the effect of restricting the number of users allowed to use the device to less than 10 if a corporate security policy requires more than one fingerprint to be recorded.
Imation's documentation is very good. Included on the device, the user guide is an easy-to-read PDF with plenty of screen shots and well-organized bookmarks. Our only complaint is that it neglected to include an important detail regarding factory resets. To perform a factory reset (what Imation terms a "Recycle"), a device management password is required. When initially configuring the device, we set it up with "Typical" settings, which automatically configured much of the device for us and did not give us an option to specify a device management password. In these cases, there is a default password, which is not mentioned anywhere in the provided documentation (we had to search the online knowledge base to discover this).
Technical support is limited to a basic, no-cost offering. Available 12/5, Imation provides phone and email support, along with a five-year limited warranty. As mentioned above, the company also maintains a knowledge base on its website.
At a cost of $129 for the 8GB model we tested, it falls into the middle range of prices we've seen on other, similar devices.