Western Digital’s new ArmorLock security platform is now available in its first product, the G-Technology ArmorLock encrypted NVMe SSD, which is designed to deliver easy-to-use, high-performance, high-grade security storage for creators in the media and entertainment industry.

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G-Technology: The new ArmorLock SSD can be securely opened via your phone

While much of the industry’s focus has been on cloud security, data often remains vulnerable on portable storage devices holding critical commercial content, according to the company. However, unlike password-based encryption technologies that interrupt workflows and prevent fast availability to digital assets, ArmorLock’s phone-accessible security allows content owners to control how data is accessed and by whom. The new SSD is claimed to deliver this technology “with simplicity, reliability and speed while protecting mission-critical content”.

The ArmorLock encrypted NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) SSD can deliver up to 1000MBps read and write speeds via a 10Gbps USB port, and users can unlock the device wirelessly with their phone, using face recognition, a fingerprint, or the phone’s passcode ensuring lost passwords don’t cause missed deadlines.

It uses 256-bit AES-XTS hardware encryption, and the SSD offers IP67 dust/water resistance, can survive up to 3m drop and has more than 450kg crush resistance. The SSD is available in 2TB for $599, €599, or £549.

The system uses sandboxed smartphone and desktop applications delivered through platform-native app stores, with no special installer required, and communications over wireless and wired connections with zero-touch certificate-based provisioning. Users benefit from password-less authentication and key exchange technologies that directly link storage encryption to hardware-backed biometric authentication. It also uses zero-knowledge public key management that helps protect user’s privacy even if the ArmorLock device is lost or stolen.

There are also mobile and desktop apps that allow fleet managers to configure and manage multiple drives, and multiple users, to control who has access, and can track its location.

“For our customers, data and digital assets are their essential competitive advantage, and encryption has become mandatory in order to protect these resources in many industries. We built the ArmorLock Security Platform with the belief that the world needs new, fundamental technologies to enable data privacy without hampering data availability while helping to protect against data breaches,” explained Jim Welsh, SVP and general manager of Consumer Solutions Products, Western Digital. “By combining this new platform with our world-class NVMe SSD products, we are addressing the real pain points our customers face when trying to secure their creative workflows while also allowing them to capture, preserve and access their data at scale and at speed.”

One G-Technology user, Tom Mitchell, technical director of London-based Mission Digital, welcomed the development: “We have always gravitated toward G-Technology drives as they have used well-built components that have offered enhanced reliability and performance. With big studios and streaming services wanting to protect their assets, there has been a big move to using encrypted media, but in some cases, that comes with a performance hit. ArmorLock fills those needs perfectly; providing a drive that is fast, rugged, water-resistant, reliable and encrypted.”

Western Digital has also announced the open source release of Sweet B, the high-performance core cryptography library that underlies ArmorLock. Sweet B is designed to provide a new level of safety and assurance in open source elliptic curve cryptography and its GitHub repository includes documentation, a comprehensive test suite and an independent third-party audit by the security research firm Trail of Bits.