Stevens & Stevens has been in the records management industry for over 23 years, so there are certain questions we hear time and time again. One of those popular questions is, “How big is a gigabyte?”.
Most people have heard of gigabytes, megabytes, etc., but not many understand what those words actually mean. You’ve probably seen messages such as, “Your document is too big to send in an email because it’s over 25 megabytes,” or “your laptop has 500 gigabytes of storage.” All of these number terms are relative to each other so, in order to understand their size, you have to start at the very beginning.
To start, we’ll look at a byte. It’s not that thing you do have to do to your tongue to hold in a rude comment; or that thing you do to break down a piece of steak before swallowing. It’s a byte, not a bite. But what is it?
A byte is actually made up of 8 bits. A bit is kind of like an atom; basically, it’s the smallest amount of data storage possible. It’s that single piece of data represented as either a 0 or a 1. Actually, a bit is a “bit” too small to be of any use. That’s why you hear the word byte more often. It’s the grouping of 8 bits: e.g. 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0.
Now working our way up from the smallest to the biggest, here are some other digital storage terms. They should make more sense in the context of a byte and an approximation of how much text each one can store.
- Byte: 8 bits—–1 text letter
- Kilobyte: 1,000 bytes—–2 or 3 paragraphs of text
- Megabyte: 1,000 kilobytes—–4 books
- Gigabyte: 1,000 megabytes—–4,473 books
- Terabyte: 1,000 gigabytes—–4,581,298 books
No matter how many bytes of data your company generates, all of that data has to be securely stored somewhere. At Stevens & Stevens, we have decades of experience providing businesses with data storage and protection solutions that allow them to properly protect, preserve, and access their data. In case of a natural disaster or computer failure, backing up your bytes of data is extremely important!