IronKey Workspace W700 Secure Flash Drive Review

The International Data Corporation reported that there are over 1 billion workers in the mobile workforce today. With the increased use of mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops, the fact is that the mobile workforce continues to grow. Both companies and employees are finding that most of their work can be done away from the office and many mobile workers carry sensitive data on USBs between home and office. However, out of office work and loss of USBs lead to issues with data security. In 2012 the IDC Executive Brief, Laptop Theft: The Internal and External Threats, reported that 86% of organizations have had laptops lost or stolen and more than half of them reported a security breach.

When secure access to sensitive information is not upheld, it can lead to leaks of customers’ confidential data, leave companies with large fines to pay, and bad publicity.  Target for example could face between $400 million and $1.1 billion in fines from the recent data breach of over 110 million customer’s information. Therefore, data security is of the utmost importance to government bodies and corporations. To help combat these risks, companies seek out security experts for solutions. At the top of the list is IronKey by Imation.

IronKey W700-7

IronKey was founded with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to create secure mobile storage solutions for government use in 2005 and has made strides in the data security market since. For example, they produced the first cloud based management platform for secure USB drives, the first USB flash drives with remote self-destruct, as well as the first secure and managed PC-on-a-stick. This type of track record has lead to their acquisition by Imation.

Imation has been working in data security since the 1950s. In 2011, Imation created Imation Mobile Security through the combined acquisition of IronKey, MXI, and ENCRYPTX to secure a leadership position for securing mobile data and mobile Windows workspaces. In 2013, Imation re-branded their IMS products as IronKey by Imation. And thus, the IronKey Workspace Secure Flash drives were born.  As for today’s review, we will be featuring their 128GB IronKey Workspace W700, a Windows To Go portable workspace USB device.


The IronKey Workspace W700 is available in three capacities, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB and since it uses flash memory, speeds are much faster than a typical HDD. IronKey devices undergo thousands of hours of rigorous read/write tests. The W700’s sequential speeds are rated for  400/316 MB/s read/write over USB 3.0, this performance is more than five times the minimum required for Windows To Go certified devices. As a result, the W700 is the fastest Windows To Go drive in the market period.

IronKey W700-8

The W700 features full AES 256-bit hardware encryption that is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified. The FIPS 140-2 rating is a certification that defines four levels of security in which cryptography modules can have in government use. Level 1 requires the use of software encryption. Level 2 adds requirements for hardware encryption as well as physical tamper-evident, if you get the drive back, you can tell if someone tried to get to the info. Level 3 adds on tamper resistant requirements. Level 4 requirements make physical security requirements more stringent and requires robustness against environmental attacks.  Previously, we have reviewed the SPYRUS WorkSafe Pro, which contains a FIPS 140-2 level 3 PKI Rosetta tamperproof smart card chip, however, the drive as a whole is not FIPS 140-2 level 3 certified. The IronKey W700 is the only Windows To Go drive that is actually FIPS 140-2 level 3 certified.

Due to the hardware encryption feature, authentication is through IronKey’s pre-boot environment rather than Microsoft Bitlocker, as with their W300 drive. It also features DoD Common Access Card (CAC) & Personal Identification Verification (PIV) support, so active-duty military personnel, government employees and federal contractors can get productive quickly. It is currently undergoing Section 508 Compliance, as well.

The W700 can also be used with IronKey’s centralized device management, which can be used on-premise or via the cloud. With IronKey CDM you can remotely reset the password (most common service) and recommission devices no longer in use as well as allow for remote provisioning of policies. The drives also have a remote lockout or destruction capability if lost or stolen.

The devices do not have Windows installed on them out of box, however, with their automated IronKey Workspace provisioning tool, your company can provision 14 drives at once in just 20 minutes or 500 drives in just half a day!

As for pricing, IronKey’s Workspace W300 series flash drives start from $129.99.  As for the tested W700, MSRPs are $249 (32GB), $369 (64GB), and $599 (128GB). A quick look on amazon shows us a bit lower going rate. There, the 32GB model costs around $215, the 64GB model is about $320, and the 128GB model is about $515. Warranty for the W700 is 5 years.


The IronKey comes in a 5″ x 2.5″ x 1″ box that is sealed with a security seal. On the back it states the drive was designed and assembled in the USA. Inside is the IronKey W700.

IronKey W700-1 IronKey W700-2

The ruggedized waterproof (MIL-STD-810F) and dustproof casing’s dimensions are 82.3 x 21.1 x 9.1mm and in total the drive weighs in at 1.12oz or 32g. The brushed aluminum case is filled with epoxy and the cap has a rubber insert to help protect against water penetration and corrosion on the connector.

IronKey W700-3 IronKey W700-4

On the front is an activity LED notch next to the key loop mount. The W700 also has IronKey by Imation’s logo engraved as well. The back has a sku code. Due to the design of this device, we are unable to provide hardware specifics and close ups of the internals.

One comment

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    Lou Nunzio Loizides

    For a better alternative check out our Indiegogo campaign for a more secure cloud-enabled encrypted flash drive.

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