Cloud Storage Devices: 6 Worth Your Money - InformationWeek

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Cloud Storage Devices: 6 Worth Your Money

Personal storage clouds are changing the way we store data from photographs to sensitive information. Here are six options for employees and workgroups.
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When most enterprise IT folks talk about cloud services, they have remote systems, huge data centers, and five-nines reliability in mind. For a growing number of companies with remote workers, though, "the cloud" must grow to include shoebox-size storage systems on employees' home networks.

At CES 2015 there were a number of companies showing desktop storage systems incorporating cloud-like remote access. For photographers, videographers, and other individuals creating huge files in great quantities, these storage systems are now part of the basic kit. Small businesses might likewise find that a desktop storage system with cloud capabilities can form the basis of a workable overall storage infrastructure. For larger businesses and enterprises, though, these "personal clouds" pose as many challenges as possibilities.

One is the danger of "horizontal infection" posed by employees working at home. Employees with personal clouds can inadvertantly allow an intrusion to succeed if they don't take full advantage of the security features offered by the personal cloud vendors. Once an intrusion has begun in one employee's system, it can then spread "horizontally" through the organization, hopping from employee to employee via the reduced security that tends to be in place for "trusted" internal zones.

[How important were personal clouds at CES 2015? Read CES 2015: 11 Peeks Into The Future.]

But security concerns are no reason to take drastic action against these personal cloud systems -- they're simply a reason to look at the capabilities of various systems now, so IT can make solid recommendations to employees. Security is a good reason to proactively develop policies and procedures for safely incorporating these systems in the enterprise infrastructure.

To get around some of the security concerns, several of the devices in this space use public cloud services as part of their remote file access capabilities. This strategy has several advantages, chief among them being a reliance on the public cloud's authentication and security systems for users, and removing the requirement for users to drill holes in their firewall rules to allow in-bound transactions.

The number of options in personal storage clouds is growing. We highlight six here. Click through our slideshow to get a much better idea of what's possible -- and what might be perfect for your organization.

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Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications ... View Full Bio

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D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/22/2015 | 8:19:16 AM
Drabo and QNAP seem like tools for professionals
Among this lot, the Drabo and QNAP devices seem most suited to professional workgroup settings. I'm unclear on the cloud-connection function, however. In the case of Drabo, you talk about mirroring, which would seem to make sense as a way to ensure off-site rudundancy. In the other descriptions, however, the cloud connections seems to be about accessing files on the devices. Do all of these boxes backup to the cloud, or do most simply connect to cloud services to support remote access?
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