Return of the Guru

New Hard Drive Survives Drops, Water and Shotgun Blasts

Ara Trembly
Insurance Experts' Forum, January 11, 2011

Revolutionary advances in computers and electronic media and storage have changed the game for insurers and others who count on being able to gather and preserve data and images related to insurable events. The downside of this trend, however, is that electronic media—devices, drives, etc.—may be fragile when it comes to protecting the data amid what are often adverse conditions, such as storms, earthquakes, floods and the like.

Addressing this problem, ioSafe recently launched a new Rugged Portable hard drive at the Consumer Electronics Show. As reported on numerous Internet postings, the drive withstood drops, submersion and even blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun, and was still able to cough up its stored data.

"It has a full metal jacket and it is machined out of a solid billet of aluminum," ioSafe CEO Robb Moore said. The drive ranges in storage capacity from 250GB to 1TB, and is priced starting at $149. According to the company, the case is waterproof and can protect the data for up to three days in salt or fresh water at a depth of 10 feet, or 30 feet in the case of an alternate titanium SSD version. The aluminum drive can withstand drops from 10 feet, and the titanium drive from 20 feet.

The company, while making no claims about durability in case of a shotgun blast, nevertheless peppered the drive with six shots from a 12-gauge shotgun during CES. The outer case showed multiple hits from the buckshot, but there was no loss of data. It took an M16 automatic rifle capable of firing six rounds per second to make a real difference. One M16 shot grazed the case, blowing off the back plate of the drive, but the company agreed that if it had hit dead center, the drive would have been destroyed.

While the firearm attacks are certainly a testament to the ruggedness of the new drive, the tests that should make insurance field workers take notice are those that demonstrated the device’s resistance to immersion and drops. Insurance personnel who must go into disaster sites and gather data and images would certainly benefit by storing such data on a drive that protects it, even in extreme conditions. Even a drive that was lost in a flood environment could conceivably be recovered later and the data accessed.

It would also make a great deal of sense to incorporate such technology into black boxes that often tell the tale of a vehicle’s end long after the crash has occurred. If I were an insurer, I would be eager to provide coverage on vehicles that offered such built-in protection for data on which insurance claims might be based.

Finally, with insurance modeling and coverage extending into terrorist incidents, those gunfire tests may provide some comfort to carriers who offer such coverages. Like it or not, this is a dangerous world, and our data are relatively fragile.

The new drive has USB 3.0 and FireWire connections. All models come with one year of data recovery service, a definite plus when conditions are so extreme that even these rugged devices cannot handle them.

Ara C. Trembly (www.aratremblytechnology.com) is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant, and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Ara using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at ara@aratremblytechnology.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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