Imation To Acquire USB Flash Storage Tech From Security Provider IronKey

Imation on Tuesday said it has also signed a partnership with IronKey to use that company's cloud-based security services to help manage the new Flash drives it expects to get with the acquisition.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in 30 days, will bring Imation a series of USB Flash drives that feature metal bodies and waterproof components, said Scott Ashdown, director of products and solutions for Imation's Mobile Security Group.

The move continues Imation's focus on secured storage, Ashdown said.

"At the end of the day, in a highly-connected world, if somebody grabs your device, you want to make sure it's secure," he said. "Storage is becoming a commodity. Security is important to our customers, including the government. Devices sometimes get left behind. We make sure the data can't be accessed."

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As Imation starts to sell the USB Flash storage devices after the acquisition closes, it will also be able to offer IronKey's managed security technology with them, Ashdown said.

A small business which buys several USB Flash storage drives for its users will be able to use the IronKey portal to set policies for those devices such as automatically deleting data on a device if the wrong access code is inputted too many times, he said. Other example policies include enabling on-line access of forgotten passwords, or the ability to remotely delete data on a lost or stolen device.

"If the company has a rogue user, or a contractor uses a device but forgets to return it, the business can delete data anywhere in the world," he said.

Imation, which in the past had been better known as a provider of commodity storage media including backup tapes and removable disk media, has this year moved quickly to become a leading provider of secure storage solutions.

The company last month acquired the InfiniVault disk-based backup business of ProStor Systems. ProStor's InfiniVault family includes three models of disk-based appliances for long-term retention of data, giving Imation the ability to help customers protect, retain, and restore data.

The company in March acquired encryption and data leakage security technology developer ENCRYPTX in one of its first moves related to its strategic shift away from a declining removable storage media business into data protection and connectivity.

It then followed up in June with the acquisition of MXI’s portable security solutions and technologies, including its authentication, digital identity, and data encryption products.

At the end of the day, Imation knows how important data is to its customers, Ashdown said. "It has to be protected," he said.

The MXI acquisition also brought a line of Flash storage devices. While there is some overlap between the MXI and the IronKey products in that both offer hardware encryption of data, there are also substantial differences, Ashdown said. The MXI line includes software to allow customers to handle management of the devices on its own premises, while the IronKey line provides a cloud-based hosted service to do the management.

Imation currently sells its storage and security products through direct and indirect sales channels. Ashdown said the company will work with IronKey's existing channel partners once the acquisition is complete.