The convenience of high-capacity USB drives can’t be denied. However, as potential digital security vectors, these devices have come under attack, often used to deliver malware into unsuspecting systems. With data constantly in motion across an enterprise and the rise of remote and hybrid working, securing these devices is paramount.

Kingston is a well-known brand in the removable data storage market. With several types of drives in their line, the new Keypad 200C offers Mac Users a novel way to protect data stored on the drive. The 200C is a small iteration from USB type A to type C, often found on Apple hardware. Adapters are available to ensure you can plug either drive into all PCs. The drive is also OS agnostic, but most users will want to reformat the drive for their specific OS.

The review model supplied has a capacity of 64GB, with the C variety also offering 8, 16, 32, 128 and 256GB to complete the range. The large capacities are not available in the type A version which maxes out at 128GB, which could be something to consider if you need larger capacities. Using USB 3.2, data transfer is stated as 8GB – 32GB: 145MB/s read, 115MB/s write, and 64GB – 256GB: 280MB/s read, 200MB/s write.

In the hand, the build quality, as you would expect from Kingston, is solid and reassuring. The drive is made from a robust metal, as is the outer shell the drive fits into to protect the keyboard and drive connector. The Dimensions (drive with sleeve) is 80mm x 20mm x 11mm, and without sleeve: 74mm x 18mm x 8mm.

Silicon Labs: Kingston Keypad 200C.

The Keypad200C offers FIPS 140-3 Level 3 (Pending) certified military-grade security in an OS-independent alphanumeric keypad for easy-to-use PIN access. It incorporates XTS-AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption with Brute Force password attack protection and BadUSB protection with digitally signed firmware ensuring an unparalleled level of safeguarding for your valuable data.

In addition to the high-grade security built in, users can set up a user or an admin/user mode. Admin can be used to restore a user PIN and provide access to the drive should the user PIN be forgotten or if the drive is locked after reaching the maximum of 10 User login attempts. And the admin and user can set a session-based read-only mode to protect the drive from malware on untrusted systems. Admin can also set a global read-only mode that sets the drive in read-only mode until reset. Note that if the user and/or use PINs have been forgotten and need a reset, this will wipe the drive of all the stored data.

Set up and use

To set the drive up the first time you use it is detailed on the back of the packaging. And more most users, this will be good enough to get them using the drive straight away. However, unlocking the drive’s other features requires a little more work and searching the internet for information and guidance. A handy video outlines how to set up the drive and some of the device’s more advanced features. And a quick start guide is also available, and the complete user manual is on the Kingston Technologies website.

The Keypad 200C is a robust and secure means to transport large quantities of data. Anyone attempting a brute force attack on the drive has ten attempts at inputting the correct PIN before the data on the drive is wiped. Many businesses will also want to enable read-only mode to ensure no changes to the stored data can be made.

You can set up the drive in its most basic form in a few minutes. However, the more advanced features require you to input specific groups of critical presses, so you need to keep the user manual to hand as there are over 20 different guides to the more advanced features. Whether specific businesses will require these additional uses will be at the discretion of the IT team.

Kingston has packed many features into this drive and has attempted to offer a drive that can address all the data security needs of every kind of business, from small to larger enterprises. Making these features accessible via just the keyboard can be complex and could be a step too far for many users, who would rather have a software-based dashboard for set-up. However, your business needs to secure data on USB devices and requires FIPS 140-3 Level 3 military-grade security. In that case, the Keypad 200C can more than meet these needs, especially if your company is Mac based.

Silicon Reviews
  • Features
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Value
  • Overall
3.90

Silicon Reviews Verdict

Kingston has packed many features into this drive and has attempted to offer a drive that can address all the data security needs of every kind of business, from small to larger enterprises. Making these features accessible via just the keyboard can be complex and could be a step too far for many users, who would rather have a software-based dashboard for set-up. However, your business needs to secure data on USB devices and requires FIPS 140-3 Level 3 military-grade security. In that case, the Keypad 200C can more than meet these needs, especially if your company is Mac based.

David Howell

Dave Howell is a freelance journalist and writer. His work has appeared across the national press and in industry-leading magazines and websites. He specialises in technology and business. Read more about Dave on his website: Nexus Publishing. https://www.nexuspublishing.co.uk.

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