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Personal Clouds: Your Questions Answered

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 by | Filed Under: Cloud Storage, Computer Terms, File & Disk Management
 
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Yesterday we introduced you to the idea of a personal cloud. Click here if you haven’t checked out that article yet.  Today, we’ll take on some of the most-asked questions about personal clouds.

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Does this outdate other storage mediums? Do I need one to keep up-to-date with technology?

Don’t worry — other storage mediums aren’t going anywhere! If you’re worried that these personal clouds may render your current medium of choice obsolete, don’t be. Personal clouds are just as much a threat to USB and portable hard disk storages than service-based clouds are, and they didn’t make other storage mediums redundant.

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In short, you shouldn’t purchase a personal cloud in order to ‘keep up with technology’; only if you believe you’ll personally get good usage from it. If you prefer to store your data another way, keep going with it!

How much are they?

It depends on how much storage you’d like. If you’re on the lower end of the range, you can pick up a personal cloud around 1-2TB at around $100-$120. The further you go up the storage sizes, the more it costs; 4TB personal clouds can easily go for $160, for instance.

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As usual, don’t rush out and purchase the first cloud you see! As is true with all computer hardware, different brands will carry different levels of quality. You’ll usually end up having to pay more for a higher quality cloud, but it’s important to remember that this will be the backup device for your important data. It’s worth paying a little extra to make sure your data is kept safe and secure!

Are they safe?

Given that some personal clouds can be accessed from any computer over the internet, does that mean they’re very unsafe? What are the chances that people can access your cloud and hack into your personal files?

The way a cloud handles the online functionality of its service will depend from server to server. Some cloud services handle it by allowing you to access it through a public IP address, and others may offer an app or piece of software you have to open to access your files. The key thing to note is that, unlike public cloud providers, your cloud is unknown to people wishing to crack into clouds to access private data. As long as you keep your information safe, it should be kept very safe from attackers; the only way someone could potentially access your cloud is if someone was randomly checking IPs for a storage device; basically, you’re pretty safe!

That’s all for now about personal clouds. What do you think about them?

~ Simon

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2 Responses to “Personal Clouds: Your Questions Answered”

  1. Ron MVP says:

    Given that some personal clouds can be accessed from any computer over the internet, does that mean they’re very unsafe? What are the chances that people can access your cloud and hack into your personal files?

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. What you are describing is also known as “Security by Obscurity”. While it does provide a very limited form of “security”, it is the absolute lowest type of security. It is the computer equivalent of a little kid closing their eyes and saying “… look mommy, I’m invisible!”.

    Yes, it would be virtually impossible for an individual to “randomly” scan for the IP, the reality is that people don’t do that any more. They create their own botnets, or rent time on botnets with hundreds or even thousands of slave computers doing it for them.

    The reality is that hackers will identify other ways of finding personal cloud devices. People said the same thing about IP “Security” cameras. Google for that and you’ll find lots of links to online cameras. Many are in public places, but many are in places that should not be exposed to the public, including businesses and personal homes.

    If you are going to expose a personal cloud device to the internet you should be using one or more forms of security. So make sure you buy a device that provides security features. Next, change the defaults! Don’t use the default admin ID and Password. That information will quickly be available on the internet for everyone to find. At the very least it should be using a HTTPS for the connection, better yet it should be using a VPN. You should also probably encrypt the files on the drive.

    These security features should apply even if you are using your home WIFI to connect to it. That WiFi signal leaks out of your house, so you should make sure it is protected from your “friends and neighbors” and random “war drivers” looking for free internet connections.

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