Mobility is one of the fastest growing and most important areas of technology purchases for businesses. As you evolve your mobile technology, you’ll need to consider which storage options best suit your needs. Whichever mobile storage device you choose, you’ll want to ensure it is industry-standard, has sufficient support and capacity, and will last a reasonable length of time.
External Hard Disks
External hard disks are one of the more popular storage options for mobile devices, especially notebook computers. These hard disks, with capacities of a few gigabytes to 1 terabyte or more, can connect via USB or FireWire (Apple’s serial bus) ports.
For mobile warriors always on the move, portable hard disks are about the size of a small book and often require no external power supply, getting their power from the data cable. (A regular desktop version is about the size of a large dictionary and often requires an external power supply.) Beyond simple file storage, many external hard disks come with built-in software to assist with backup, and some drives duplicate storage to an online storage service for further data security and remote accessibility (something that should always be part of your mobile strategy).
USB flash drives, also known as thumb drives or jump drives, increasingly hanging from the necks or key rings of executives, are ideal for storing data that often needs to be shared or moved from one location to another. USB flash drives are potentially smaller, faster, and more reliable and can hold more data than other portable storage devices (128MB to 16GB of data). To access the data stored in a flash drive, which has no moving parts, you must connect it to a USB port, which supplies power to the device. Always have a backup of any information you put on a USB flash drive.
Memory cards, used in many consumer electronic devices, are quite popular and can be found in many printers, digital cameras, and desktop and notebook computers. Their small size, zero power consumption, and durability make them ideal storage companions for mobile devices. It’s smart to always keep two memory cards handy so you won’t have to delete from a full card to make room for new information.
Although used to a lesser degree, optical media such as CDs/DVDs are useful for data that needs to be archived for many years because electronic media such as flash drives might not last as long. Zip drives (from Iomega) and other magnetic, removable storage media are useful for storing and transferring large amounts of data.
Ramon Ray is a technology evangelist and editor of Smallbiztechnology.com. He is the author of Technology Solutions for Growing Businesses and has written numerous technology articles and technology news posts. He produced the first, second, and third Small Business Summit; appeared on CNBC’s “The Big Idea”; and serves on the board of directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.