You need your own cloud

An NAS with a simple battery backup.

I had warned my wife not to let our youngest daughter play with her phone. Sure, it might keep her quiet for a bit, but her smart phone was expensive, and normally small children make quick work of expensive things.

And my daughter did just that. Through her frustration of pounding on the phone, it eventually locked and then wiped its hard drive, along with all the pictures my wife had never backed up.

Let me tell you, there were tears, and lots of them.

My normal way of backing up stuff was on an external USB hard drive. Well, two hard drives, because I replicated one onto another, since I had an external drive die before and (almost) lose all of our photos. But phones have a weird architecture and folder setup, so it’s hard to find your pictures and pull them off. So my wife wasn’t normally doing it, hence the lost pictures.

After a lot of research, I invested in a Network Attached Storage, and it was awesome. Essentially, it’s a little computer in a box that runs a set of hard drives. You can do all sorts of nifty things with it. In my case, I set it up like a big network storage drive, mapped the folder to my wife’s laptop, and let her drag and drop pictures.

Of course, many of your reading this are saying “Why not just go to the cloud?” I’m having a lot of issues with “cloud” storage, and you should too. Let’s start with an obvious one: you (typically) pay monthly for it. What happens when you stop paying? Your access to your files, and potentially your files, all go away. That to me is frightening.

From Dilbert (

My biggest issue with the “cloud” is privacy. The latest cloud technology, and especially the free technology, is not private. Sure, there is a privacy clause, and if someone doesn’t have your login, it’s hard for outside people to get your photos. But the corporation can essentially use them as they see fit.
Would you put your most sensitive data on the cloud? Plenty of companies won’t, since theft of their data could put them out of business.

Probably most importantly, if you happen to be a conservative, is that most tech companies aren’t exactly kind to your cause. Twitter has no problem blocking or removing your account while blue-checking known anti-Semites. What happens when Facebook or Google find you politically inconvenient? Or you care about the Second Amendment, but YouTube deletes your videos?

You should own your cloud. Trying to stay abreast of the latest Facebook, Google, YouTube and other privacy statements and political sensitivities is an exercise in futility. So don’t bother. Pick up a cloud solution from QNAP, Synology, or a host of other companies and take control of your data.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. It’s also not sponsored by QNAP, Synology, or any tech company…but hey, if they want to give me money, I’ll gladly take it.

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