Imation buys IronKey's hardware assets

IronKey plans to focus more on software and services

Storage device manufacturer Imation Corp. has reached a deal to buy the hardware business of privately-held IronKey, best known for its highly secure USB flash drives.

Imation will take over the development and sales of IronKey's portable storage devices.

IronKey's hardware business has about 40 employees who will move over to Imation. The financial terms of the acquisition, expected to close within 30 days, were not disclosed.

IronKey is perhaps best known for its highly secure USB flash drive, which uses a 256-bit AES encryption algorithm to secure data. The drive comes in a stainless steel case with no seams so it cannot be pried open. The highly secure devices carry with them a hefty price as well, costing around $108 for an 8GB model.

The IronKey USB drive

IronKey secure storage devices are validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to meet the stringent Level 3 criteria of FIPS 140-2. Combined with the cloud-based IronKey Enterprise Management Service, data security can be managed and audited from anywhere in the world.

In recent years, IronKey has been placing more of its resources into its security software products and services, which it sells to large enterprises such as banks in order to encrypt their sensitive data.

The IronKey Trusted Access Platform service is used by financial institutions to prevent online banking fraud by encrypting data in flight and at rest. IronKey said it will expand its security service platform and support multiple form factors and applications -- including portable USB devices, software and mobile applications -- for IronKey Trusted Access and other new IronKey security services.

IronKey's technology also offers banking customers the ability to sign transactions with mobile devices. The transaction is performed by the bank's sending a Short Message Service (SMS) to a person's mobile phone with a one-time code that is entered into a Web-based form.

IronKey CEO Art Wong and Chairman Dave Jevans said in a letter to customers that "IronKey will continue to deliver cloud-based security and add new online security services for enterprises, financial institutions, governments and consumers."

"Imation brings the resources of a billion dollar global technology leader to make the next generation of IronKey secure storage products even better," the letter continued.

More broadly, IronKey is focusing on enabling enterprises and government agencies to safely adopt the economic benefits of mobile and cloud computing amidst increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. IronKey will support multiple form factors and applications, including portable USB devices, smartphones and tablets, for IronKey Trusted Access and other new IronKey security services.

The two companies also announced a strategic partnership whereby Imation will receive an exclusive license from IronKey for its secure storage management software and service, and a license to use the IronKey brand for secure storage products.

"This acquisition is another important step in Imation's strategy to invest in leading technologies that enable us to deliver highly secure data storage solutions to our customers," Mark Lucas, Imation's CEO, said in a statement.

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Lucas Mearian

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