IronKey storage devices have also been validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to meet the stringent Level 3 criteria of FIPS 140-2. Combined with the cloud-based IronKey Enterprise Management Service, data security can be managed and audited from anywhere in the world. The IronKey Workspace flash drive, however, is not FIPS-certified.
"This year we will be introducing IronKey Workspace products that include features such as hardware encryption, device management, cross-over storage, mass provisioning and FIPS Level 3 certification," says Ken Kadet, Imation's global public relations manager.
What has also set IronKey apart from other USB flash drives in the past is that it uses high-end single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory chips as opposed to multilevel cell, consumer-grade (MLC) NAND. SLC has better native performance over MLC and, perhaps most importantly, it has as much as 10 times the lifespan, up to 100,000 write/erase cycles.
The newest drives, like the IronKey Workspace, use MLC, which is less expensive than SLC but, with new firmware, offers nearly as fast data transfer rates.
Imation's says that, because of the drive's architecture, it delivers over five times the minimum read/write performance required for Windows To Go-certified devices.
Because most computers boot up from their internal hard drives, you'll need to change your BIOS settings to boot up from this USB device; it's a very simple process.
First, insert the drive into an external USB port while the computer is powered off (or simply restart it). Before Windows has booted up, you'll need to press either the F2 or F12 key, depending on your PC. That will bring you to a BIOS setup screen, where you can choose to boot up from an external USB device.
What's interesting is that this drive is even easier to boot up from a Mac. All you have to do is hold down the "alt" key on boot-up and you'll be offered an external disk icon from which to boot up. I tried it with my MacBook Pro, and I had no issues. There I was running a Windows 8 machine on my Apple.
The first time the flash drive is used, the system will ask you to accept Windows' licensing terms; once you agree, you're given a wide choice of background colors and the ability to name the machine.
Next, you're asked to choose the wireless network you'll be using (if, of course, you're using one). You'll then be asked to choose your personal settings, such as turning on the "Do Not Track" feature in Internet Explorer and sharing with other devices on your network (i.e. printers). Instead of wasting time on customized settings, I chose Windows' express settings setup.