Storage and Security On the Go: 6 External Hard Drives


If there's one thing users can never have enough of, it's storage space. The obvious first choice for more storage is a 3.5" internal drive, since these can have capacities up to 400 GB. However, these units are certainly not suitable for all purposes. Many users are still loath to undertake the effort required to install an extra hard drive. The devices are not particularly flexible, either, as you can't take this type of additional storage with you when you're on the go.

You could buy an external unit with a USB or FireWire interface, to which you add an internal drive. But the weight of the resulting combination means it is not likely to be very portable, and more importantly, it may not be sufficiently secure. When used in a business environment, the major problem with regular mobile storage solutions is that any data saved on them can be read and manipulated by unauthorized persons should the drive fall into the wrong hands. For that reason, the industry now offers external drives featuring built-in drives and a variety of security mechanisms - ranging from the encryption of all data content to access security via fingerprint scanner.

We've tried to put together a representative sample of the latest equipment. Lock Box is the name of a drive from MicroSolutions that features access protection via fingerprint sensor. The NetDisk Mini 40 GB from Ximeta can be connected as either an NAS device (Network Attached Storage) or via USB 2.0. Seagate is also in the running with its Portable External Hard Drive and 40 GB USB 2.0 interface. The smallest contender is Sony's 2 GB MicroVault Pro, while Soyo's CigarHD takes the middle road with 20 GB of storage based on a 1.8" hard drive. Probably the fastest and most limber contestant is the WiebeTech ComboGB, which offers both USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 and 800.

Alright then.... ready, set, GO!