Check Point – ZoneAlarm DataLock review

system and hard drive encryption to protect against loss or theft of a notebook
Photo of Check Point – ZoneAlarm DataLock

Checkpoint has boosted its range of security software recently with the introduction of DataLock, a solution that addresses the very real problem of sensitive data that may be stored on a portable device such as a notebook finding its way into the wrong hands. Put simply, DataLock offers 256-bit enterprise-level encryption for a hard drive, requiring password access to even boot the operating system, and maintaining this protection even if the drive is removed and accessed using third-party equipment.

Setup is straightforward and involves entering a username and password, which will then be required each time you boot the machine from this point on. The interface is reminiscent of other software in the ZoneAlarm range and provides a simple status update on the encryption state of the drive, along with the ability to create a recovery disc to aid in the retrieval of data or a lost password.

Two of a range of typical security questions, such as mother’s maiden name and town of birth, must be answered here to identify you at a later stage, but it’s an essential process to go through in order to retrieve data in the event of a lost or forgotten password.

If this were to happen, the user must contact ZoneAlarm directly to reset the encryption password and get help in recovering data via a free 24/7 phone service or an online chat with a Checkpoint support engineer. The company also offers 2GB of online storage for backing up important data, something that is encouraged before installing the software and beginning the encryption process.

This starts up automatically once registration is complete and the system has restarted, requesting the new secure login that has been created in the process. Encryption takes quite some time: three to eight hours would be a good ball-park figure, depending on the size of the hard drive and the amount of data stored on it, though it is possible to use the computer as normal during this process, which is paused and resumed if a machine needs to be restarted or shut down at any time.

Simplicity is perhaps the biggest strength of DataLock, as once the reassuring green tick appears on the interface to inform you that a drive has been encrypted, everything else works in the background to maintain this secure status. Despite the straightforward nature of the software it compares favourably, both in terms of price and features, to rival software such as Microsoft BitLocker and even free encryption packages like TrueCrypt, and the fact that minimal input is required on the part of the user after installation makes it a tidy, no-fuss solution.

Company: Check Point

ZoneAlarm DataLock is a simple yet effective encryption package that is capable of safeguarding a portable computer in the event of loss of theft, and for the most part requires minimal intervention in order to maintain this secure status. For those concerned about this sort of scenario, there's plenty of peace of mind on offer from a package that, initial encryption aside, has a minimal impact on performance.