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Used to be when you wanted to store large files or transfer information between systems or users, you had better be running on a network. As of late, though, the market has seen a flood of small plug-and-play USB storage devices that have ample capacity - some as much as 40GB - and fit in the palm of your hand.
Sure, being able to store multiple megabytes, or even gigabytes, in a device that can fit into your pocket sounds cool, but how useful is this to your average business user?
Although portable drives aren't going to replace classic storage methods anytime soon, corporate types are finding plenty of applications for these gadgets. Ken Schmidt, director of marketing for SunnTek, says customers are using the devices for everything from storing on-the-go presentations - instead of dragging their laptops to a presentation, employees can plug in the device to an existing laptop - to letting employees back up their personal data. Or how about this one - instead of clogging up the network with enormous e-mail attachments, encourage users to transfer files using a portable drive. Certainly beats upgrading the network.
This was first published in August 2002