Not that long ago the idea of having multiple terabytes of data sitting in your own home was outrageous. Only businesses would need that type of storage as end users simply did not keep that many files. Now in the age when 50 Mb/s downloads are common and even our phones can take high resolution photos and videos the need to have more room is growing. Of course there is more to this than just the pictures we shoot with our phones, there are movies, music, files, games, software almost everything comes in a digital form now. The .iso format for software download (legal software download) is very commonly used. We have multiple .iso images in our storage boxes from our TechNet account that we use for testing in the lab. It is not uncommon to see folders stuffed with legal .iso images anymore.
The question is, how do you keep all of this safe and in a format that is easy to access. Some will turn to cloud storage like SkyDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox etc. we have a slightly better and also safer solution than paying someone else to hold on to your data. It is not a new suggestion and we have already covered the cost benefits in another article; the home Network Attached Storage (NAS) Appliance. These days you can get high-capacity drives fairly cheap and stick them inside a two or four bay NAS without breaking the bank. The new generation of products is far more than just simple file repositories now. Most manufacturers have incorporated everything from web and email servers to your won cloud based file, video, document and photo sharing stations. With this you can access your own private cloud from anywhere that you can get an internet connection and the best part is that your files remain yours. No one can sort through them , there is no ambiguous wording in a TAC (Terms and Conditions) that could indicate that someone else can randomly sort through your documents and files; it all belongs to you.
On top of this there is another factor to make the home private cloud more attractive. It is actually more secure in many ways than tossing your files into the same bucket that everyone else does. Companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Dropbox etc. are large targets with a big payoff. If a “hacker” breaks into Google or Microsoft they can affect a very large number of people. That is an attractive target and one that will only become more so as more people sign up for these services. On the other hand, your pictures, videos, and other documents sitting in your house behind a decent firewall (not a $30 one though) are not worth the effort of most hackers. Although these items are very important to you (and they should be) there is no big payoff for an individual or group. They might attempt to write malicious code to grab passwords and banking information (again looking for password to cloud based services), but your files are typically safe from theft and or damage. To help you combat the malware issue, most NAS makers have also incorporated anti-malware modules that you can install for free. These keep the files on your NAS protected (although nothing can make them virus proof) from common malware. The anti-malware modules also stay up-to-date just like the virus and malware protection on your PC does (or should).
This concept of private, protected storage for the home was actually the direction that Microsoft was going until they realized there was no money to be made by doing this. Instead they reversed their direction and are now trying to get you to push all of your data out into the cloud where outages, breaches, data loss and more are common realities of life. If you really look at what is going on in the cloud it certainly makes the idea of keeping your files at home much more logical…
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