By now, few can deny the convenience of having a small size, high volume storage device that is able to travel with them in the same manner as a set of keys or wallet. I was first introduced to a thumb drive several years ago at a LAN party I was hosting. Until that time I really couldn't understand why someone would spend forty to fifty Dollars on a small device that only held 32 MB of data, but that same day my outlook changed when we needed to transfer an antivirus update to a server without exposing it to the network. As I was fumbling around looking for a blank CD, someone handed me a key chain with an odd looking device on it. The rest as they say is history and I have kept a thumb drive with me since then.
Over the years flash storage has changed. The early thumb drives were fairly bulky compared to today's standards. With that reduction in size, companies have changed the way they package units. It is possible to get a thumb drive that is nearly the size of a credit card and easily fits in your wallet or purse. Other units like the Super Talent Pico C are barely an inch long and resemble a device carried by James Bond for his secret spy work. Modern super spies may need a little more security than a drive that can be plugged in and read by everyone. For them, and many people working with HIPAA sensitive documents, there are drives with hardware and software encryption.
Today we will be looking at fifteen readily available portable flash drives from a variety of manufacturers. Some of the drives are targeted for a specific audience while others cover the basics without extras such as data privacy protection or flashy accessories.