High-profile data losses from government contractors have reminded us all that keeping confidential data secure – especially when it's stored on a easily-lost external hard disk or optical disc – is vital.

It's not just about making access to that data difficult; there's no point in having a hard disk enclosure that requires, say, the correct fingerprint before it mounts if the data itself on the hard disk is unencrypted. Remove the hard disk, put it in a new enclosure, and you've circumvented the 'security'.

Tougher security

Which is why we like the ezSecure from Amacom. Yes, it's bulky for a portable hard disk, and yes, it's very expensive for the capacities offered – 160GB, 250GB and 320GB – compared to vanilla portable storage devices, but it's still a welcome product.

Not only will it refuse to mount until you have correctly entered the PIN you specify on the integrated LCD touchscreen – it can be up to 12 digits long, offering 1,000,000,000,000 possible variations – but if you undo the eight screws that hold the case together and extract the hard disk, it won't mount when you put it in a new enclosure.

But while we like the technology that's at work here, we're less impressed with the fit and finish. The chassis is pretty solid, but the touchscreen feels a little delicate; worse, the blue power light is so bright and strong that if you're trying to unlock the drive in dim light, bleed from the LED makes the screen very difficult to read.

Low build quality

Its cable splits into two USB connections, though testing it with a MacBook proved that it provided sufficient power to operate the drive even with a single connection plugged in.

Performance is mediocre, but you're unlikely to buy this drive if speed is your main concern. If you don't need to secure your data, there are cheaper, faster hard disks you could buy, but we like the balance of security and convenience offered here.