Flash disks, external hard drives, SSDs, and HDDs. These used to be essential devices for any traveling worker. In the tech community, mobile workers must have access to their workplace data from wherever they are in the world. Up until now, this has involved carrying around a small flash disk or external hard drive. These used to be fairly bulky devices, but have shrunk in actual size considerably. Many believe that online storage services will send these devices down to nothing, sent instead into the ether of oblivion. In many ways, that transition has already begun. The savviest IT nerds have long predicted this for years. Still, the question begs to be asked, are we finally entering the era of diskless computing? The short answer is not quite, but kind of. Mainly, the idea of external data storage on a hard disk is rapidly becoming a thing of the past and is being replaced by online storage services much to the delight of traveling workers. This means easier access, streamlined collaboration, and versatile data management capabilities.
The Mobile Workforce: Taking the Office With You
Along with the hard disk, many believe the days of the 9 to 5 desk job are numbered. More and more industries are allowing their full-time employees to occasionally work from home, or on the road. The result is that more work is getting done.
Thanks to the recent popularity of laptops, netbooks, smartphones, and tablet PCs, modern workers can essentially bring the office with them wherever they go.
Cloud Storage Solutions
While portable hard drives have increased in speed, size, and performance over the years, there remain two fatal flaws: they can be both lost and damaged. A damaged or lost hard drive can be the biggest headache in the world. A lost hard drive makes you second guess whether or not the data is backed up, and sometimes results in a pricey data recovery bill.
Cloud storage solutions are a breath of fresh air for the mobile tech professional. You can’t lose the cloud — much like big brother it’s everywhere – and arguably, you can’t break the web. In theory, your data is secure and accessible from any system or computing device.
The New Age of Collaboration
In addition to the workforce being more mobile than ever, it has also become more collaborative than ever. Today’s working professionals share files over instant messaging services like Skype, IM, or Google Chat. In fact, any IM messaging application worth its salt has a built-in file-sharing system set in place. Some of the most powerful tools allow users to collaborate with co-workers across the country over the Web in real time.
Top-of-the-line smartphones are currently being re-imagined with collaboration in mind by making even more powerful processors handle real-time data collaboration.
The reality is likely that the hard disk isn’t performing a disappearing act anytime soon. However, it’s more likely that the hard disk’s capabilities and uses will become limited as cloud storage services improve and evolve over time. As a result, the mobile workforce trend will continue to grow, and all outdated technologies will be forced to adapt or be left behind.
Title Image Courtesy: Flickr/Claudia Regina