10 of the best storage devices for SMBs and home offices

From external hard drives to NAS devices suitable for small businesses.

The storage needs of business users vary. If you're on the road, a small and portable external hard drive with plenty of space will be handy. Home office users will appreciate lots of centralised hard drive space, while small offices with multiple PCs should look at the networked and centralised storage offered by network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

If you’re a video or image editor who needs lightning-fast transfer speeds coupled with a decent amount of storage, a device with eSATA connectivity is worth considering.

We've gathered together 10 of the best storage devices on the market that fill these roles.

On the road

1. Seagate FreeAgent Go

RRP: $369

What's Hot: Attractive design, good transfer speeds, runs relatively cool and quiet, simple and useful bundled software.

This little external hard drive looks great, runs fast and is very portable. It’ll fit into a pocket or a briefcase and won’t look out of place in a home or office environment. All you need is a computer with a USB port and you're good to go. With its 500GB capacity, you’ll find it’s more than enough for all but the biggest files.

2. Western Digital My Passport Studio II

RRP: $379

What's Hot: Fast, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connectivity.

If you've got a computer capable of connecting FireWire 400 and 800 devices, then the My Passport Studio II is a great little external hard drive with plenty of speed and portability. The drive is targeted mainly towards Mac users, but reformatting it using NTFS will let it connect to a PC running Windows XP or Vista.

3. Maxtor BlackArmor

RRP: $259

What's Hot: Extremely secure, portable, great price for the features.

Have you got data that people would pay money to steal? If so, then this may be your solution. With hardware-based 256-bit AES “government-grade” encryption, the BlackArmor keeps 320GB worth of data in and everyone else out.

4. Kingston DataTraveler 150 (64GB)

RRP: $299

What's Hot: 64GB of storage, fast transfer speeds, low cost per gigabyte.

If you want 64GB of data in a device smaller than a business card, then you can't go past the DataTraveler 150. It offers excellent portability and relatively fast transfer speeds. Good for the home and office.

5. Seagate FreeAgent Desk (ST310005FDA2E1-RK)

RRP: $299

What's Hot: Very cost-effective, stylish, fast hard drive, simple and useful software

It is cost-effective, it is stylish and it is 1TB of data storage. The Seagate FreeAgent Desk is a USB 2.0 external hard drive that looks great and will suit your needs at home or in the office. Not only does it use a 7200rpm hard drive to provide fast read/write speeds, its software facilitates easy and effective data backups.

In the office

6. QNAP TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS

RRP: $1799

What's Hot: Comprehensive server options, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and JBOD configurations, up to 9TB capacity, built-in 256-bit AES volume encryption, hot-swappable drives, fast read/write speeds.

This is a comprehensive NAS device that provides a wide variety of server features. With six bays each capable of using 1.5TB drives, this means you can have up to 9TB of data when linked in JBOD or RAID 0, and increased data redundancy when using RAID 1, 5 or 6. USB 2.0 and eSATA ports mean that more external storage devices can link to the TS-639 at fast speeds, while the one-touch USB backup provides a quick and easy way to transfer data to the NAS device.

7. Thecus N3200

RRP: $599

What's Hot: Innovative functions, easy to use software and Web interface, well priced.

If you don’t want to deal with the QNAP TS-639’s high cost and steep learning curve, then the Thecus N3200 is a reliable solution that has simple software and three hard drive bays. Reasonable pricing and a simple Web interface make it a great choice for easy-to-use networked storage.

8. Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (WDH2Q20000)

RRP: $699

What's Hot: Energy efficient, simple and elegant design, runs quietly, good software

If you’ve got an eSATA port on your computer, then the Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (WDH2Q20000) offers fast and portable data storage that is perfect for graphic designers or multimedia editors who want an external storage device to work from. If you need to move your data from client to client, this drive is also relatively portable.

9. Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB (WD20EADS)

RRP: $469

What's Hot: 2TB of storage, good price per gigabyte, cool, quiet

Western Digital provides a massive 2TB of data storage in a single hard drive, making it the first in the market to do so.

10. Western Digital Scorpio Blue (WD5000BEVT)

RRP: $259

What's Hot: Cost-effective, stays quiet and cool during operation, large storage capacity

This 2.5in hard drive has gives you half a terabyte of storage in a single laptop drive bay. If you’re on the move or working from the office with your laptop, this speedy drive could make an excellent upgrade.

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