Jon Gordon's Big Black Box

           One of the problems with storing data is that as the years go by, it takes up less and less space. "We probably have 10 times the megabits of information we had in here five years ago, but I'm not taking up appreciably more space." In an industry that charges by the cubic foot, that's a problem. "It's not going to take too much mathematics to figure out that I'm going to have to work a lot harder to bring in more customers to make up for this." But that's only a temporary solution. In the long term, Gordon says the entire notion of storing data in a room will be as obsolete as a clunky old IBM storage tape; he's hoping to be ahead of the curve.

           For now, he relies on converted pick-up trucks to pick up computer tapes from each of his client's businesses and deliver them to The Vault. There's still an object changing hands. But someday, he plans to sell off the trucks and replace them with wire. Data would be transferred with a key stroke, eliminating the need for the rows of computer tapes. "This may not have to be a bank vault anymore," Gordon speculates. The Vault would simply consist of a couple of high-capacity computers. Getting his customers to accept the switch might be tough since people concerned with security aren't likely to trust a wire. Nevertheless, Gordon hopes to reduce his system from bullet-proof glass and a man-trap to encryption and a password. And Gordon's six security video cameras would be trained on one small glowing screen.

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