Hardware or Software Encryption

Hardware or software encryption? Complicated question. Technology is developing every day and every day we are coming across a lot of different new things in information technology. All these new developments requiring new measures to protect our private data. Looking from that perspective the USB flash drives are becoming more susceptible to the external breach. Because we are using these tiny things in our daily life and we are using them almost every IT environment.

USB flash drive encryption technology also developing according to new technological developments. Especially big companies like Kingston, Sandisk and IronKey constantly representing their new encryption technologies. Basically, the USB encryption technologies ranging from hardware to software encryption methods. Some products are using only hardware encryption versions and some only software encryption versions or even some using mixture of both. In addition to that, some products are using advanced technology like fingerprint recognize encryption systems.

If we focus on these two basic encryption systems which one is more reliable, hardware or software encryption? Although they have different systems and purposes, I will try to shed light on mentioned encryption systems to help your choice.

Software Encryption

Software Encryption is software based encryption method and is provided by the external software to secure the data. If you look at to the marked there are a lot of USB flash drives that have their onboard security software systems. For example, some Sandisk USB flash drives using SanDisk SecureAccess software, which is very capable and satisfactory in terms of software encryption.

The basic advantages/disadvantages of software encryption systems are as follows.


  • the cheaper alternative to hardware encryption,
  • requires numerous updates to keep up with hacking techniques,
  • readily available for all major operating systems,
  • could be quite slow, and may require complex driver and software installations,
  • may not provide the full security that businesses are expecting,
  • may be vulnerable to user error, requires users to follow certain procedures in order to secure the data.

Hardware Encryption

Hardware encryption is provided with a small chip inside the drive itself. It is a device’s onboard security to perform. Once original data is encrypted, it becomes undecipherable in the background and is locked away under encrypted storage within the drive.

Likewise, there are a lot of quality product in the market. I can recommend you Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3z Flash Drive. This hardware encrypted USB flash drive, with its advanced technology features, satisfies your security needs. If you want detailed information about Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3z Flash Drive please follow the link.

The basic advantages/disadvantages of hardware encryption systems are as follows.


  • it is essentially free from the possibility of contamination, malicious code infection, or vulnerability,
  • the attempt is by all practical means impossible,
  • requires no drivers to be loaded to host systems,
  • better protected through hardware keys that can be effective even if drives are stolen and installed in other computers,
  • might be impractical due to cost,
  • Updates are also possible only through device substitution.


When you check advantages and disadvantages the answer to ”Hardware or Software Encryption?” question is becoming complicated. There is no single answer to encryption needs. It depends on requirements. As you easily see the budget, the sensibility of data, need for updates, host system environment, user quality etc. makes decision differ to everyone else.

Human or user is the center of all security systems. If you want to go down from expensive solution to cheap solution you have to increase the quality of your user. Don’t forget impossible to breach systems usually are the expensive ones and not requires much user quality, vice-versa cheap systems require more user quality.

If you need an encryption system to protect your private data that you use agile in your daily life then maybe software encryption suits for you. But if you have really critical data and need to protect it I recommend you to buy advanced technology hardware systems like Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3z Flash Drive. Hardware encrypted USB drives seem relatively expensive, right, but is your data deserves that price to protect or not?

If you have additional info or comment about ”Hardware or Software Encryption” topic please use the comment section below.


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