Why are we still shipping physical drives when we have the Internet?

In enterprise environments, regardless of how tech savvy other workflows are, the methods used to transfer data is ironically non-technical. The preferred method for large file transfer today is still dominated by physical forms of file transfer, i.e. snail mail. The benefits in streamlining file transfer workflows with technology is the difference between just meeting business objectives and truly boosting the value of your bottom line. Investing in the right file transfer tool is a process that, if not handled properly, could delay your project or even lead to a failed implementation.

The sudden spur in digital information in the modern enterprise today has made managing file transfers more challenging. Organizations strive to connect to a global ecosystem of partners and customers on a level that is affordable and secure. However, transferring data efficiently and securely challenges even the most skilled IT teams. They need to address common file transfer concerns such as scalability, adaptability, and security.

Above a certain threshold, it makes sense to transfer data physically. Sachin Date eloquently tackles this problem in his article, “Should You Upload or Ship Big Data to the Cloud?” On deciding whether to physically transfer data or transfer it online, he concludes:

“Which technique you choose depends on a number of factors: the size of data to be transferred, the sustained Internet connection speed between the source and destination servers, the sustained drive-to-drive copy-in/copy-out speeds supported by the storage appliance and the source and destination drives, the monetary cost of data transfer, and to a smaller extent, the shipment cost and transit time.”

The scale at which Sachin Date is referring to is at the hundreds of terabytes scale. Amazon has tackled data transfer at this scale with Snowmobile. The 45-foot truck can store the equivalent of 50 trillion pages of text. Amazon can’t offer a fast and reliable method for file transfer at that scale over the internet. If they had the option, the problem would have already been solved.

Below a certain threshold (hundreds of gigabytes up to a few terabytes), physically transferring data is less efficient than transferring it online. With online file transfer, organizations can rely on benefits and features such as:

  • Optimizing speed of data transfer
  • Using encryption and user-based access roles in order to maintain data security
  • Detailed tracking on who received which file
  • Reliable delivery of data without worrying about physical corruption of drives


Organizations now have a plethora of online file transfer options but there are only a handful of truly reliable and robust online distribution platforms that can process hundreds of gigabytes of data (hint hint, we’re one of them). We know we’re preaching to the choir, but we’ll say it anyways: we all need better methods for online high-speed file transfer that allows organizations of all sizes to transfer their digital assets securely and efficiently. Shipping hard drives is not the way of the future.