When is a Cloud not a Cloud?

Picture of an external hard drive with a cloud symbol crossed out.

A single storage device is not a Cloud!

When it’s a “My Cloud”.

I am talking about the WD “My Cloud” device range, devices that connect to your network and give you access to your files via an app. The devices themselves are nothing new, just hard drives with network connections that allow for the simple file sharing. What is new is the “access anywhere” aspect via an app. An easy method to let you to get at your files from outside your network, bypassing the need for playing around with your router.

In the last couple of weeks, I have had a couple of customers enquire about such devices. In one case, a customer believed that their “My Cloud” device was backing up to a cloud service. Something I found quite interesting and surprising when they mentioned there was no monthly fee. Further investigation revealed that their “My Cloud” was just a hard drive with a network connection with no link to a data cloud other than its name and an app.

The name had given the customer the false assumption, reinforced by an ill-informed sales person, of an additional layer of backup security. An assumption that proved to be not only incorrect but dangerous. Dangerous, as the device they bought was a single-point-of-failure. A single location for all their company data that if damaged by power-cut, cup of coffee or errant pet would potentially bring the company to its knees. At best, a few days of strife in salvaging the data and at worst the loss of all their data.

So a word of warning, if a product is trying to tell you that it’s your “own personal cloud” and there is no monthly fee, be sure to read the fine print as you may just have just bought some vapour instead.

Tip: When it comes to data backups never assume, always test.

29. January 2015 by Stuart Mains
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