Tech Expectations

A deeper look at disruptive business and personal technology

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Cloud storage is way better than storage on your own device

Bold statement? I was a bit surprised at the conclusion myself. But, let’s take a deeper look.

I’ve obviously made certain choices regarding storage, and have done my own comparisons at certain points in time, but was prompted to update my thoughts after a recent tweet by Chris Mims of the WSJ:


Strong words from Chris, but they ring true. It’s easy to forget that your device can be stolen, and your typical protections (e.g. a lot of folks don’t even bother to set a device login) can be circumvented way more easily than a well-designed, well-funded cloud storage service. Historically, according to the Open Security Foundation, reported exposures of personally identifiable information (PII) resulting from lost or stolen devices and media made up more than 22% of all incidents, while hacking made up 30%. The numbers are comparable. While the percentage of incidents related to hacking has increased dramatically in the last year, the um, Target has been easier prey like retailers.

Looking more broadly than security, I wondered if a cloud storage service could actually be better than storage on a device.

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Centralize, protect, and serve all your media

Like most folks, we are now buried under the weight of multiple generations of digital music, photo and video. In our case, 13 years of it.

We’ve had 2 generations of digital cameras, a digital camcorder (remember those?), 2 generations of smartphones, Apple AAC format, MP3s, DVDs, Blu-rays, and digital movies purchased from multiple different stores. We’ve had five generations of Mac OS X and countless versions of iTunes and iPhoto. And we’ve never had the time and patience to figure out an end-to-end strategy to manage all the content we’ve generated.

Businesses usually spend the time to address this for their data. They try to centralize the data to make it easier for different users to access it. They manage the centralized data through its lifecycle so that it is faster to access when it is most needed, protected so it is quickly retrievable when it is most valuable, and replicated in a secondary site in case of disasters.

Having worked in the storage market for about ten years, I knew what needed to be done, but the data kept growing, and my “free time” kept shrinking. Fortunately, the tools have gotten significantly better (with some caveats). A relatively low key end of year vacation was just the thing I needed.

First, here’s how my environment looked:

Home media - before


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