What it is: Personal cloud storage devices are external hard disks that you can also access over the Internet.
The big problem with computers is that they never have enough storage. No matter how large the hard disk might be, you could always use a bigger one. Perhaps an even bigger problem is that once you store data on your hard disk, you can only access it from the computer physically attached to that hard disk. So if you store crucial data on a desktop computer and take a trip with your laptop, you can’t access your data on your desktop computer.
If you make a copy of data, now you have to worry about which copy might be the most current. Because of this hassle, many people are using cloud storage services such as Microsoft’s OneDrive or Apple’s iCloud. The idea behind cloud storage is that you store data in the cloud that you can access anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. (If you don’t have an Internet connection, you can’t access that data.)
The problem with cloud storage is that you never know who may have access to your data. Even if you encrypt your data, copies of your data will be stored on computers all over the world that may be out of your control. That’s why many people are choosing personal cloud storage devices.
Basically personal cloud storage devices are nothing more than an external hard disk connected to the Internet. That means you can access your data from a computer physically connected to that personal cloud storage device, but also access that data remotely over the Internet wherever you happen to be, from any device you happen to be using at the time (provided that device can open your files).
Personal cloud storage devices create a private cloud just for you. Now you always have physical access to your data and encryption protects your data (hopefully) from anyone trying to access your personal cloud device. By creating a personal cloud, you get the best of both worlds of an external hard disk for local access plus cloud storage for remote access.
Of course personal cloud storage devices cost more than ordinary external hard disks, and you have to plug them into your Internet connection through an Ethernet cable, but for many people, personal cloud storage devices give you security and control that ordinary cloud services can’t offer. Plus you don’t have to pay a monthly fee to a cloud service to use anyone’s storage.
Naturally personal cloud storage devices are only useful if you need to access data remotely, but if you do, consider making your own personal cloud. Just remember that your personal cloud is only as safe as the device so if your home or office goes up in flames, your personal cloud storage device (and all you data) will go up in flames with it.
Despite these drawbacks, personal cloud storage devices are worth looking into if you travel often. Even if you don’t, a personal cloud storage device can be handy for accessing your data from multiple devices such as a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet in your home or office.
Not everyone may need a personal cloud but maybe you do. It could be a convenience that turns into a necessity once you start using it and then wonder how you ever got along without it all this time.