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Digital storage unit – From bits to megabytes

by Canto  |  February 10, 2021

2 min. read
A picture of kilobytes on a laptop.

Digital storage units are a way to measure data and information being kept on things like computer hard drives. Understanding what a unit is and how it impacts data storage adds value to your business. Here we will look at what a storage unit is and how it ranges in size from the tiny Bit (b) to giant Yottabyte (YB).

What is a digital storage unit?

Digital storage units are an expression of computer data. Abbreviations are used to express the various unit sizes like kilobytes (KB) and megabytes (MB) commonly seen on files for images or music. The key to understanding how storage units are categorized is to understand how to measure a business’s digital storage.

A real-life example of a digital storage unit is how we measure distance. If you go for a run you will measure the distance in meters or miles. This is an expression of a larger size in a consolidated manner. Instead of telling a friend you ran 5,280 feet, you would likely say one mile.

numbers in crayon

Why digital storage units matter

A strong understanding of your data and how it sizes up is vital in the digital age. As businesses grow or simply exist, an increase in the amount of data you have on file is unavoidable. This means it’s important to understand your storage sizes so they can be communicated and monitored effectively. Binary digits make up individual storage units. This is a numerical system that uses two symbols 0 or 1 to define unit size. Binary is how a computer stores information on a server or hard drive and the numbers represent the measurement of a particular unit and influence when a bit becomes, say, a megabyte. Measuring files and information in code form helps keep track of data and establish effective digital data storage.

5 common digital storage units:

  • Bit (b)
  • Byte (B)
  • Kilobyte (KB)
  • Megabyte (MB)
  • Gigabyte (GB)

numbers of a digital storage unit

Once a storage capacity is reached a new name is given to each unit. The benefits of understanding your business’s storage units shouldn’t be overlooked. It allows you to scale effectively, perhaps moving from internal hard drives to cloud-based storage software once capacities are reached.

3 biggest data storage units:

  • Exabyte (EB)
  • Zettabyte (ZB)
  • Yottabyte (YB)

A sound understanding of digital storage units allows a business to anticipate growth and streamline information to ensure hot and cold storage data is being optimally stored. There’s also a cost-effective aspect to understanding your storage units. If files and information are outdated but stored on the main server, this accommodation becomes costly and slows productivity. An awareness of your units gives a business a better chance to evaluate and prioritize their information.