It’s your hard drive – are you willing to put your life on it?

In today’s digital world, where everything from photographs to music, movies to documents are stored on our computers, data has in essence become our lives.

August 17, 2012

By Zandré Rudolph, Retail Business Unit Manager at Drive Control Corporation

In today’s digital world, where everything from photographs to music, movies to documents are stored on our computers, data has in essence become our lives. Imagine that feeling of having your entire record collection stolen, or all of your family photographs destroyed in a flood. This is what you stand to lose today should something happen to your hard drives. Whether you have backup or not, that one piece of hardware contains a lot of what you hold dear, and the question you have to ask yourself is, are you willing to put your life on it?

The hard drive space is one in which quality is definitely of the utmost importance, and purchasing a sub-standard product to save money in the short term can cause much trouble in the future. If a hard drive fails, there is every possibility that the data it contains will be corrupted and unable to be effectively recovered, which means that it is lost for good. Should internal hard drives fail, computers will also be rendered unable to function, and since the majority of modern communication takes place using computer devices hard drive failure can be catastrophic. In case of failure the problem needs to be fixed as soon as possible to get people and business back up and running in short order.

A hard drive warranty should therefore be a crucial selection criterion when it comes to choosing hardware. A warranty is something like an insurance policy, in that the customer pays money to ensure that the product will be repaired or replaced if it is defective. It forms a legal contract, giving consumers assurance that the product will perform as expected or will be repaired or replaced with a product that does. While this will not necessarily get your data back, it will ensure that downtime experienced is reduced to a minimum.

While the tangible repair or replace benefit of a warranty is something that many consumers will never need, the warranty itself offers a number of softer benefits. For the vendor and the distributor, a warranty represents a cost centre. Every time a hard drive or other piece of hardware needs to be repaired or replaced, it costs the distributor or the vendor money. Replacing parts means the distributor is shifting stock that in effect is not being paid for. So in short having a warranty means that the vendor is confident that the warranty will not in fact be needed. This gives the consumer a level of assurance that the hardware is high quality and will not fail.

For example, if a vendor offers a standard one year warranty on a product, this means the vendor is fairly confident that the product will not fail within a year. If a two year warranty is offered, consumers can be confident that the product will last at least two years without failing. So typically, the longer a warranty, the more trust a vendor has in their product, and the more stringent the testing on the product has been, thus the likelihood of the product failing is lessened. The vendor believes in the product, and is willing to stake a warranty on it.

When it comes to a large majority of hardware however, many consumers do not feel that the extra cost of a warranty is justified. After all, the cost of hardware is always dropping, so what is the point of paying extra when you can simply replacing the component if something does go wrong. Hard drives however are a different ball game, because of the critical nature of the data they contain. A warranty in this instance is not so much about repair or replacement, but about the assurance that the product will go the distance.

Hard drive technology is not something that changes every six months, and while the amount of storage available on new devices may increase the basic function of the drive remains the same. When it comes to selecting a hard drive – whether for in a desktop, for networked storage or as a portable device – reliability and dependability should be key considerations. Your hard drive contains some of your most important information and memories, so make sure you buy a product that the vendor is willing to stand behind. This will assure you of the manufacturer’s confidence in the product, letting you know that your digital life is in safe hands.