Running out of disk space on your computer when you most need it is frustrating, to say the least. And these days, it doesn’t take long to run out of space. Small businesses continuously generate data from videos to images and data files. External drives solve this problem by providing ample space for your digital storage needs. The best external hard drive for a small business on this list solves multiple storage needs.
In addition to just more storage space, the external hard drive you choose can also serve as a reliable backup solution. A virus, hackers, corrupt data, or system failure can paralyze your business. Having an external backup system with all of your data saved on it can quickly get you up and running.
There are many options for external drives and before you choose one, find out what you need. This way, you can find the right external hard drive for you.
What is an External Hard Drive?
An external storage drive is a portable drive that plugs into your device, typically via a USB port. It provides additional space for storing your data when your hard drive gets full.
Benefits of Having an External Hard Drive
If you’re wondering whether you really need an HDD or SSD, check out the benefits of having external storage drives:
- Storage: Extra storage space allows you to store more data than just your hard drive.
- Backup Drive: External hard drives can be used as emergency backup drives if your hard drive crashes.
- Portability: Many external hard drives are compact, portable drives, so they can be used on the go.
- Longer Life: Solid-state drives last longer than the average hard drive, so you can rest assured that your data is saved even if your computer crashes.
- Additional Security: Many of the best external hard drives offer an extra layer of protection, such as password protection or a built-in fingerprint scanner.
Best External Hard Drive for a Small Business
We have sorted through the external storage options on Amazon, and came up with the following ten best external hard drives:
- Top Pick: Toshiba 4TB Canvio Flex Portable External Hard Drive
- Runner Up: WD 4TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive
- Best Value: Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch 2TB External Hard Drive
Toshiba 4TB Canvio Flex Portable External Hard Drive
Top Pick: Our top pick is the Canvio Flex portable HDD. It features easy to use “plug and play” and “drag and drop” operations for quick transfer of data, and requires no software for installation. It is also compatible with both Macs and PCs, which is what sealed the deal for the top pick.
This HDD external drive offers capacities up to 4TB and is compatible with 3.2 Gen 1 and 2.0 USB connections. It has a maximum transfer speed of 5.0Gb.
Toshiba 4TB Canvio Flex Portable External Hard Drive for Mac, Windows PC and Tablet
Western Digital My Passport Portable External Hard Drive
Runner Up: A very close second choice is the My Passport by Western Digital. Also offering 4TB, this external hard drive has the added security of backup software and password protection.
It has a Super Speed USB 3.0 port and is compatible with USB 2.o. It includes WD Discovery software and all included downloads. This SSD is for PC only.
WD 4TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive with password protection
Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch 2TB External Hard Drive
Best Value: Our best value pick gives you 2TB of storage space, plus backup software and more. This external drive by Seagate uses plug-and-play to easily back up files, or you can schedule weekly or monthly backups. You can use this drive with both a PC and Mac.
Password-protected encryption keeps all your data safe. The Backup Plus works with USB-C and USB 3.0 devices and comes with a 1-year complimentary subscription to Mylio Create and a 4-month membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan.
Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch HDD 2TB External Hard Drive USB-C USB 3.0
SanDisk 2TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD
Best External SSD – External SSDs can be extremely expensive, with most costing hundreds of dollars. We found that the Sandisk Extreme Pro NVMe SSD is offered at a reasonable price while being one of the best external hard drives available.
With up to 2-meter drop protection and IP55 water and dust resistance, the Extreme Pro is extremely durable. And the powerful NVMe SSD performance features up to 2000MB per second read or write speeds. The Sandisk Extreme portable SSD uses password protection with hardware encryption for added security.
SanDisk 2TB Extreme PRO Portable NVMe SSD – Up to 2000MBs – USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2
iStorage diskAshur2 HDD 3TB
This external HDD uses a 7-15 digit PIN to authenticate the user, ensuring no unauthorized users can access the drive. It is portable, rugged, dust and splashproof, and uses fast, backward compatible USB 3.2 data transfer speeds.
The diskAshur2 3TB external HDD requires no software for use and is compatible with PC, Mac, and several other operating systems.
iStorage diskAshur2 HDD 3TB Black – Secure portable hard drive
Fantom Drives GFORCE 3 Pro External Hard Drive
The GFORCE 3 Pro offers transfer speeds up to 250MB/s depending on capacity. It has a massive storage capacity of 10TB and is compatible with Windows and Mac OS as well as several gaming platforms.
A USB 3.0 cable is included, and the HDD is compatible with USB C and Thunderbolt 3. It has a fanless body and aluminum construction to keep it cool and quiet. As an added bonus, this external drive can be stored upright or horizontally, to optimize your workspace.
Fantom Drives 10TB External Hard Drive HDD, GFORCE 3 Pro 7200RPM, USB 3.0
Vansuny External Portable Solid State Drive
Exclusive to Amazon, this small external 500GB SSD has less storage capacity than some others on our list, but it is a good option to save money on an external SSD. The Vansuny portable external drive uses USB 3.1 technology to achieve up to 430MB/s read speeds and 380MB/s write speeds.
This small, portable drive is backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, and it comes with an extra USB c connector for use with USB Type A and USB Type C devices.
Vansuny External Portable Solid State Drive 500GB
SAMSUNG T7 Touch Portable SSD
The Samsung T7 external drive offers 1TB of storage capacity, high transfer speeds, and fingerprint and password security. Up to 1,050 Mb/S read speed and 1 000 Mb/S write speed make this external SSD almost 10x faster than other external drives.
This device features an LED square that keeps you informed of the drive’s status at a glance. It is shock-resistant and can withstand drops up to 6ft.
SAMSUNG T7 Touch Portable SSD 1TB
LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB External Hard Drive
The LaCie Rugged Mini external hard drive is a popular choice among both PC and Mac users. This small form factor HDD is able to hold 2TB of data while offering fast transfer speeds and easy backup software.
While small, the Rugged Mini lives up to its name. It is designed with all-terrain durability, allowing it to withstand drops, rain, and being generally tossed around and jostled in bags. As an added bonus, a one-month subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan is included.
LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 USB 2.0 Compatible
Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity High Speed External Hard Drive
Last on our list is the Buffalo DriveStation Axis HDD. It features a 7200 RPM hard drive for extremely fast file transfer speed, plug-and-play USB 3.0 compatibility with PC, and can be formatted for Mac.
Additional features of this 1TB external drive include automatic backup, eco Manager energy efficiency tool, optional 256-bit AES hardware encryption, and a 2-year warranty.
Buffalo DriveStation Axis Velocity High Speed External Hard Drive
How to Choose the Best External Hard Drive
With so many use cases and options, there are some key considerations you should put on top of your list to ensure you get the best external hard drive for your small business.
Storage Space and Capacity
You will likely eventually need more storage; the question is how much. A good place to start is by adding up all your data and estimating how much more you will be creating. Also, consider whether you use large files often.
When choosing a hard drive, check the specifications to see if it is compatible with your device. This includes operating systems, Windows, Mac, or Linux.
External SSDs and HDDs vary greatly in their speeds. A standard HDD will read and write at about 80MB/s to 160MB/s, while the average external SSDs provide around 200MB/s to 550MB/s.
You also need fast transfer speeds beyond the read/write speed. This will depend on the connectivity. The old USB 2.0 standard has a max transfer speed of just 480Mbs. You get 5Gbps with USB 3.0 and 10Gbps with USB 3.1 Gen2 and USB 3.2 Gen2. The latest protocol, 3.2 2×2, can get transfer rates up to 20Gbps.
Most drives are compatible with software encryption, which is adequate for regular use. However, if your data demands more security, you need to look at storage with hardware encryption and other security coverage.
Network-attached storage (NAS)
A NAS device or NAS server is an external drive that connects to a network and offers storage space to all devices on the network at the same time. This allows you to back up files from a network computer and share data over the internet. You can also stream digital content to network players and download files.
HDD Vs External SSD
Traditional Hard Disk Drive or HDD has been around for a long time, using a physical magnetic disk to store your data. It uses mechanical spinning platters and a moving read/write head to access data. All of these moving parts make it susceptible to failure much sooner than a Solid State Drive or SSD.
An SSD drive stores your data on instantly accessible interconnected flash-memory chips. This technology is faster, smaller, and more expensive. While the price of SSDs has been coming down, it is still considerably more expensive than HDD. But considering they last almost twice as long as HDD, they are well worth the investment.
Desktop Vs Portable Hard Drive
If the hard drive you are getting is strictly for the office and you need a lot of storage, a desktop unit is the right choice. Depending on the amount of storage you get, you can also use it for other storage solutions for your business.
On the other hand, a portable storage drive will do fine if you need storage while on the go. If you are a photographer, videographer, or traveling business person recording content, the extra storage will come in handy. You can instantly plug them into your laptop, tablets, smartphones, or cameras and access terabytes of storage.
You can get HDD or SSD external hard drives, but there is a huge difference when it comes to durability. The HDD has moving parts, which means they will eventually fail. And generally, it is anywhere between three to five years. With SSDs the average is around 10 years before they start failing. Another thing to consider with SSDs is how long they can be overwritten. Rewriting over the flash memory will lower that 10-year average.
Which external hard drive will last the longest?
SSDs typically last longer than HDDs, with an average life span of about 20 years for SSDs and 6 for HDDs. This, of course, is variable and depends on other factors.
What sizes do external hard drives come in?
Most commonly, external hard drives come in 500GB, 1TB and 2 TB sizes, although there are options that offer much more storage and some that are smaller.
Which type of external storage is best?
Overall, SSDs are faster, more energy efficient and more robust, while HDDs are more affordable, which is ideal if you need a lot of storage but are on a budget. With that in mind, consider all the other factors and features and you’ll find the best external hard drive for your business needs.
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