Due to advances in today’s modern technology, it has become fairly easy to store large amounts of data information. There are many different types of electronic devices used for data storage. Another alternative is to data storage service providers.
The most common forms of data storage used by both individuals and businesses are magnetic storage, optical storage, and solid-state removable storage or flash memory.
The most popular of magnetic data storage devices are floppy disks, hard disks, zip drives, and digital audiotapes. Such devices make use of a read/write head to create and read magnetic impressions from the disks and zip drives.
Floppy disks are still popular as quick and economical forms of data-storage especially for projects that need continuous backup such as a film script. In addition, floppy disks are convenient because they are portable. However, some of the newer computer operating systems and laptops do not have a floppy drive installed.
The hard disk is another secure form of data storage device. The majority of the larger businesses or computer networks have multiple hard disks drives. A hard disk uses a special magnetic recording that allows data to be stored, erased or copied.
A zip drive, usually with the capacity of 100 to 250-megabyte, is a square shaped compact magnetic disk. It is ideal for archiving and storing graphic images or other large files. However, it seems to be a fleeting technology as nobody can determine its lifespan or presence. In addition, the most magnetic impression can only last for not more than ten years and most of the removable magnetic data-storage devices do not have a great storage capacity.
Optical data storage devices hold information in a digital form and this is written and read by a laser. Some common devices are the CD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs.
CD-ROM discs are popular because they are portable and easily available. With advanced technology, it is possible to increase the speed number that is tagged to each disc, thus increasing its capacity. Each optical disc is able to store as many data as five hundred floppy disks. Thus, storage of data and retrieval is easier and much faster now.
In addition, they are durable, with an average lifespan of up to seven times that of most magnetic data storage devices, making them ideal for storing permanent data such as photographs and music. Although there are a wide variety of such discs, many can record data only once. They are known as “read only” discs. On the other hand, CDRW is the common name for rewritable discs, that is, the data can be erased and re-entered repeatedly. However, the downside is important files can be accidentally deleted.
Solid-state memory (flash memory) data storage devices are small, light and high-performance plug-and-play storage devices with no movable parts. It is called USB flash drives. It is also commonly found in video game consoles and digital cameras.
The USB ports found on most computers and laptops allow external data storage devices to be connected to it. Various kinds of media equipment such as MP3 players or iPods can be connected by a USB cable to copy, retrieve or store data from a computer operating system.
A flash drive is a small portable data-storage device with a capacity as high as 4GB for a pen drive and 8GB for a CF card, making it an ideal system update or backup/recovery tool. In addition, it is the most durable amongst any of the optical data storage devices. With a quick transfer rate of about one MB per second, data can be rewritten, deleted or edited many times over and over again.
However, solid-state memory data storage devices are the most expensive as compared to the others. The compact size and sheer portability of a flash drive make it easy to be misplaced as well as contacting viruses. As most antivirus software is reactive, viruses carried by a flash drive will not be easily detected.
Proper maintenance and management of storing data is the ideal and efficient way to eliminate paper filing systems. In addition, if the computer operating system crashes, information will not be lost as it can be retrieved from the backup files stored on the data storage devices.