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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Storage Tools To Help You Make Every Minute Count

The very first cell phone I ever laid eyes on was back in college. My professor brought one to class, and it looked like a brick. It had to have taken up her entire purse. A few years later, my older sister got her very first cell phone. At the time it looked so sleek and tiny. A couple of weeks ago, we found that old phone and laughed about how bulky it was and how the only thing it could do was make phone calls. Now, phones really are sleek and tiny and can do just about everything except fold the laundry. Technology moves so quickly that it's sometimes hard to keep up on the ways it can help simplify our lives.

The way that we store electronic files such as photos, documents, reports and presentations has also evolved to make business and personal life flow a little more effortlessly. There never seems to be enough time to finish up everything at work. Before you know it, it's time to pick up the kids, go to the soccer game, make dinner and help with homework. If you're really lucky, you may even find a few minutes to get a little more work done on that project you've been working on, but you probably don't want to waste time running back to the office.  Portable electronic storage devices help to solve this problem. They allow you to carry your electronic files with you wherever you go, so you can take advantage of those spare minutes.

There are a variety of portable electronic storage options that allow you to bring your work with you. Just like cell phones, electronic storage devices are getting smaller and smaller while holding more and more information. Here are a few options you might consider when looking for a way to store and transport your important files. 

External Hard Drives

External hard drives come in a variety of sizes with varying levels of portability. One of the best things about external hard drives is that they can store anywhere from a few hundred GB to more than a terabyte of data. They generally cost around $100 depending on the size. While they are small enough to be portable, ranging from the size of a smart phone to a hard back novel, most have multiple cords to hook up and are somewhat difficult to carry around and use frequently. 

Toshiba 1 TB 2.5Toshiba 1 TB 2.5" External USB Hard Disk Drive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flash Drives

These are a great option for storing data to take back and forth between work and home simply because they are so small. Flash drives can fit in your pocket or even clip onto your keys. They hold more than enough data for most uses and are growing in their storage capacity all the time, while often shrinking in size. Flash drives are also a very affordable option. You can easily find a flash drive with 4 GB for under $20. Despite their convenience, flash drives can be lost or damaged, so it's always a good idea to make sure your important files are saved in multiple places.

Fran├žais : Clefs USB. English: USB flash drive...Fran├žais : Clefs USB. English: USB flash drives (capacity: 256 MB, 2 GB and three with 8 GB). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cloud Storage

One of the newest and most convenient ways to store your data is by using cloud storage. This type of storage requires no devices that can be lost or broken. Instead, data is stored online through a server. The user signs up through a host company and buys virtual storage space. The great thing about this is that once signed up, you can access your files from anywhere. You can update a file at home, and when you get to the office the next day, it's ready for you to keep going.  You also don't have to waste time transferring files from one PC to another. Once files are stored in the cloud, you can access them from any PC or even your phone. 

Data Storage DeviceData Storage Device (Photo credit: BinaryApe)

Another exciting bonus of using cloud storage is the option to e-print documents and photos. This service allows you to print to a selected printer from anywhere. You can send important documents from home, the airport or even the soccer game to your work printer. This cuts out the step of having to e-mail a document and wait for it to download. Now, you can send it straight to the printer. You also have the option of sending it to a print and copy store, saving yourself another trip to the office. 

When thinking about ways to help your business grow, portable electronic storage options may not be the first thing on your list to take care of, but don't underestimate their value. We lead such busy lives and are pulled in so many different directions all day long. We need to take advantage of those otherwise lost minutes during halftime at a soccer game, while waiting at the airport or right after the kids have gone to bed. These electronic storage devices help enable you to finalize that big project while still living your life.

Meg Hartman is a freelance writer for Venafi.  Venafi is the leader in enterprise key and certificate management.

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