There are a lot of cloud storage options available today – Dropbox, SkyDrive, MozyPro, Carbonite, and many more.
But here’s my problem: I already have a 2TB external hard drive where I store all my files at home. Copying around 1.5TB of data in the external hard drive to the cloud is very expensive since I would need to buy (or rent) the space, and pay a monthly charge. Plus, I lose the option of plugging in my external hard drive and copying my data from my computer directly.
The question then is: how can I transform my external hard drive into a secure cloud? The answer is simple: Pogoplug.
Buy the Pogoplug device from Best Buy for under 50 dollars. The Pogoplug device has 4 USB ports and 1 Ethernet port. Just plug an Ethernet cable to the Pogoplug device and connect it to the Ethernet port on your cable modem or wireless router. Now, plug in your external hard drive to one of the USB ports.
From your laptop or any other computer on the same network, just go to Pogoplug.com and activate the device. Enter your username and password to complete the activation. You are done! It’s plug-and-play.
Here are the cool features of Pogoplug:
- Your external hard drive is your cloud! That’s right. You can access your external hard drive via any browser and upload/download the files. The capacity is limited by the size of your external hard drive.
- Share files with anyone, anywhere. Select the file/folder you want to share and Pogoplug will send an email with a link to the recipient who can then download the files.
- Use the Pogoplug app on your smartphone. I use the Pogoplug app for the iPhone and it is really cool. Just launch the app and all the photos and videos on your iPhone are automatically synced to your external hard drive over 3G or Wi-Fi. Pogoplug automatically categorizes the files as per the month or date they were taken.
- Play music or videos remotely. You can play music from your external hard drive via your smartphone or the Internet remotely. Pogoplug optimizes the videos and music for you. You don’t really need to copy your music between devices anymore.
- Set up a Backup or Redundancy. Here’s the coolest feature. Just plug in another external hard drive and select a folder from the 1st hard drive to be backed up to the 2nd hard drive (via Settings>Backup on your Pogoplug online account). Whenever a file is added to the 1st hard drive, it is automatically copied to the 2nd hard drive thereby creating redundancy. The chances of both hard drives failing at once are extremely rare, so your data is safe.
- Print remotely. Plug in a printer to the Pogoplug device via USB and you can remotely print over the Internet or via your iPhone. Make sure Pogoplug supports your printer.
- Automatically copy files from multiple computers. If you have multiple computers in your home/office, it’s a headache to backup the data from all the computers. Install the Pogoplug software and select the folders to be copied automatically (via the Active Copy feature). The files are automatically synced to the external hard drive. This is extremely useful for multiple home users and small businesses where data from multiple computers need to be backed up.
- Use the Bonus Cloud Storage. When you create an account online, you get a 5GB cloud storage too. You can keep your work-in-progress files here just in case the power goes off and you cannot access your external hard drive. Of course, if you have a UPS, you may never need this feature.
With a Pogoplug hardware and an external hard drive, you can build and run your own cloud. Small businesses can use this setup to cut down costs and store important files within their on network instead of putting them up on the Internet.
It’s as simple as that – your own cloud for zero dollars a month.