External hard drives ease the storage hardware squeeze
by Keris Lahiff
Hardware is becoming bigger and better. However, in our information society, often the computer can’t keep up with how much data we consume every day.
For the small business owner, an easy, secure and portable secondary means of storing business information is essential. While your personal computer or laptop may host impressive hardware with large storage capabilities, a thriving business will still need more space.
An external hard drive could be the solution to store one of your most valuable business possessions – information.
Why do I need external hardware?
External hard drives are handy additions to a business’ arsenal. Let’s paint a picture of their benefits:
Immense storage capacity and improved performance
While your laptop may contain a 320GB hard drive – which will suit you just fine for some time – remember that the average iPod holds 80GB. Doesn’t seem like so much anymore, does it?
Personal computers and laptops are not designed to hold large amounts of data – most only have a standard amount of memory, including simply operating. If your computer’s reaction time is beginning to lag, it may be time to transfer some of those old, but still necessary, files.
Everyone has had those ‘uh-oh’ moments when technology crashes. External storage gives peace of mind in case of any tech crisis onsite.
Plus, unlike paper filing systems, many of the models available offer a secure way of storing your information, with the ability to password-protect or encrypt the data.
Most external hard drives are approximately the size of a postcard, and about 2cm in thickness, so they are incredibly easy to carry with you. However, they are not designed to be as shockproof as the average portable device, so handle with care.
As they are only used for storage and data transfer, external hard drives are exempt from the standard wear-and-tear that other tools are subject to. If kept in a safe and stable location, they will have a longer shelf life than the average computer. For added security, look for devices with a warranty period (preferably more than five years).
How much space is enough?
If you have no concept of bits and bytes, think of data storage in terms of the ‘movie measure’. If the average two-hour movie is approximately 700MB and there are 1024MB in one GB, a 500GB external hard drive will hold just over 730 full-length movies before it’s full.
Or if we wanted to go really nuts, a 500GB hard drive could fit more than 170,000 songs (at 3000KB per song).
The movie measure isn’t the most accurate calculation of storage capacity, but it is a good gauge to determine how much space you need. However, hardware capacity is largely dependent on what files are saved onto it – inDesign files, for example, will take up more bytes than Word documents.
Remember, when it comes to data storage, buy more than you need – it will work out cheaper per gigabyte and you won’t have to fret over limited space.
For avid data consumers, one and two terabyte hard drives are on the market (with 1TB equal to 1024GB) – but unless you are a heavy data operator, you’d be hard-pressed to fill this within a couple of years. Its movie measure is 1500 full-length movies!
Where do I get external hard drive hardware?
Any major electronic retailer, such as Dick Smith or JB Hi-Fi, should stock a wide variety of external hard drives. These days, most hard drives should be under $200 and if they are more, look into why. Unless there’s a good reason, buy the cheaper unit. You don’t need the Cadillac of hard drives, if the Camry drives just fine.
Before purchasing, do your research and shop around to determine which product suits your needs and what you require from the hardware.
So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching.
Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
Published on: Wednesday, September 08, 2010