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KanguruDisk's capacity leaps to 16.8GB

Interactive Media rolls out versions of its removable hard drive that can store far more data than previous models.

Interactive Media is betting that PC users have a lot to hide.

The company yesterday introduced 13.8GB and 16.8GB

KanguruDisk from Interactive Media
versions of its KanguruDisk removable hard drive. Targeted at users with heightened security needs, the drives essentially allow customers to keep massive amounts of data on a discreet hard drive that can be unplugged from a computer, and by extension a network, with relative ease.

This allows for better security because, once unplugged, hackers can't access the drive.

"The government used to require that any information labeled as confidential could not be left on a computer overnight. They're not quite as paranoid as they were, but they're still pretty paranoid," said Jim Porter, editor of DiskTrend. "So one of the markets for this is the government. The other market would be software developers."

The removable hard drives from Interactive Media can be connected to a PC or notebook computer via a serial or parallel port. On the PC, the drives can also be installed in a KanguruDock, which can be purchased for $58.95. The drives can then be removed so that no one else who uses the PC can access the information.

"You get high performance and huge capacity. You're not limited to the capacity restraints with cartridge drives," like Iomega's Zip and Jaz drives, according to Keith Lewis, vice president of product management and development for Interactive Media. "You can run your applications and then pull it out. It's secure, it's very durable, and it's very small."

The Kanguru drives, which retail for $599.95 and $729.95 respectively, will probably not compete with Iomega's products, which offer much less storage to consumers for under $100.

"Cartridge drives have their niche, especially with the Zip drive being a standard in the graphics industry," Lewis said. "Nowadays, people's storage needs are growing. In some places, [removable hard drives] will replace the Jaz drive."

Interactive Media's drives are targeted at government employees and consultants, who need to run data-intensive applications off of a secure drive, Lewis said.

Still, users should not harbor illusions that data stored on removable hard drives is totally private, Porter warned.

"With a hard drive, you're not really erasing anything on it. All you're doing is deleting the address to the data. But if you are doing some kind of work where your boss insists the data be locked up at night, then you would want to use one of these things."