The idea of being able to carry around your most useful files on a USB memory stick is a great idea until you lose it, someone else picks it up and then has access to all your files.
Crucial thinks it has the solution. Available in 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB and 1GB versions, its Hi-Speed USB2.0 flash drive, the Gizmo!, is a new USB stick that can be, according to user preferences, sectioned off into two areas: public and secure.
We tested the 512Mb version, which was small and light - it's about the size of our little finger. The unit, with the aid of the software included on the drive allows you to set how much of the drive you want to secure behind an eight-character password and how much you want to make available to public access.
Setting the password and amount of drive space to sit within the secured area is simple. An included software utility found on the USB drive allows you to set the size of the drive, set the password or format the drive completely.
If you don't want to use the secure area then you can opt to make the drive completely public. If at a later point you decide to change the ratio of public versus secure space this can be done, again via the utility, however the drive does have to be formatted each time.
Further settings in the utility can be chosen to prompt for a password every time the unit is connected to a computer or to set the secure drive to remain hidden until prompted at a later stage.
Unfortunately the software only works with Windows PC machines and Apple Mac users will not be able to see the secure drive at all. Rather than seeing a drive they can not get to.
We've been using a memory stick for some time now to carry around useful documents to and from the office. However in the back of our mind we've always worried about losing the device and then those documents falling into the wrong hands. Now with this secure element added into the mix those files would be safe. What could be improved? Mac support and perhaps a case to make it a bit larger, strange though it sounds, we've already lost this twice around the office in the week we've had it on test.