WD My Cloud: A Better, More Secure Alternative to Cloud Storage
Who needs Dropbox when you can get 2TB of Web-accessible storage this cheap?
Thu, October 03, 2013
PC World — I love the cloud. I depend on it. The cloud allows me to access my data from any device at any time; from anywhere I have broadband access. And I can share some or all of that information with other people: A boon to productivity when I'm collaborating with someone.
I've become so addicted to that flexibility that I'm willing to pay a subscription fee, even though I don't trust the service provider to keep my information entirely secure. I never put anything sensitive in the cloud, such as my tax returns or other financial data. And I never rely solely on the cloud. I always keep backup copies on storage devices that I have complete control over.
WD's My Cloud delivers the best of both worlds. It's a hard drive that connects to my home network, so it's as secure as I can make it. But I can access it from the Internet--from a PC, smartphone, or tablet--just like a cloud service. And I can create user accounts with passwords to allow family, friends, and colleagues to access specific folders, so we can share information (or media) and collaborate. I can also transfer files between the My Cloud and cloud-storage services, such as Dropbox.
Hmm. My Cloud sounds a lot like WD's My Book Live product line, doesn't it? As it turns out, the My Cloud series is replacing the My Book line, and the new desktop and mobile apps WD is launching alongside My Cloud will also work with the older drives. But there's one My Cloud feature you won't find on any My Book Live: a USB 3.0 port that can host a digital camera for direct file transfers. Alternatively, you can connect a stand-alone USB hard drive into this port and expand the My Cloud's storage capacity.
As with the My Book Live, you can also back up your PC to the My Cloud over your network. And the drive supports Apple's Time Machine technology, so you can back up Mac clients, too. And unlike some NAS manufacturers that limit the number of free client licenses you get, Western Digital will back up as many computers as you'd care to connect to it (there are practical limitations, of course, based on the amount of available storage). If you'd like, you can mirror these backups on a public cloud service.
WD offers mobile apps for the Android and iOS operating systems, which helps solve another problem many of us face: data fragmentation caused by having stored files on multiple devices. Install the apps onto your smartphones and tablets, and you can send all your media files over the Internet to your My Cloud. I just wish my digital camera was smart enough to support an app that could do that (yes, I should buy a Wi-Fi-enabled storage card).