These days, there's no such thing as nonsensitive data. Whether it's your client list, your sales figures, your financial projections, or the latest designs for a new product, you can't risk letting your information fall into the wrong hands. That's why you need hardware-encrypted storage.
Unlike software-based encryption systems, bona fide secure hard drives lock out intruders at the hardware level, preventing anyone from seeing any part of the drive until they enter a secure password. That's a major security boost because it prevents hackers from using conventional software tools to circumvent your encryption scheme: They can't hack what they can't see.
Secure hard drives come in various shapes and sizes, but the two that are most relevant to small businesses are the notebook-friendly varieties. Internal notebook drives such as the Seagate Momentus 5400 FDE.3 prevent your mobile PC from even booting up without a secure password, making it nearly impossible for a thief to get to your data after stealing your laptop. External models such as the Maxtor BlackArmor Portable Hard Drive let you add security to your mobile arsenal without retrofitting your laptop.
If you put all of your critical business data on a Maxtor BlackArmor drive, you can be reasonably sure that it will never find its way into enemy hands in readable form. When you plug in a BlackArmor drive for the first time, you'll be prompted to create a secure password. From that point forward, the drive is protected. Unplug it from your USB port, and it will use its last trickle of power to relock itself instantly.
Though cracking any security scheme is at least theoretically possible, these hardware-based encryption systems are robust enough to stop even the most determined and nefarious script hackers in their tracks. On the other hand, a professional data-recovery service won't be able to get into the drive either--so whatever you do, don't forget your password.
Besides being great for small businesses, these drives are a good match for enterprise-level businesses. Companies with large mobile workforces can quickly redeploy a BlackArmor drive from one worker to another by securely erasing the current key on the drive and then assigning it a new key.