Small businesses often face a tricky decision when it comes to cloud storage. Not being big enough to build and run their own custom cloud solutions, services like Dropbox and Sugarsync look very attractive as tools for backing up data and making it accessible and shareable across a potentially mobile and/or disparate workforce. Best of all these services are free… to start with.
But then you factor in the fact that, as your data demands grow, you’re likely to be spending ever-increasing sums for this cloud privilege and then there’s the inevitable security concerns and end user agreements which do somewhat compromise the level of control over your data. All in all, it adds up to a simple conclusion: cloud services such as Google Drive or Dropbox are great for some small businesses – but not all of them.
Luckily, a California-based start-up has recognised this fact – and begun doing something about it.
Although not yet on sale, the File Transporter will soon be released – solving both cloud service dilemmas for small businesses, all for somewhere in the region of $250.
The basic idea of the product is that it is effectively your own mini-cloud server, linked up with a hard disk of your choice (it seems the Transporter will initially ship with 1TB and 2TB options, judging by their Kickstarter page). All your files are then stored locally on this hard drive and on your own local network – which is accessible, from any internet connection, to users that you authorize.
As the transporter is quite a small and light device, it is easy to move around – meaning that you don’t have to waste extensive time copying big files onto external hard drives if you want to take them away with you somewhere (for example on a work trip where you won’t have web access). The device also offers on ‘offline mode’ where you can sync files and folders between the transporter and your local device, meaning you can then access them even when you’re offline.
All in all, the Transporter basically allows you to do everything that a standard cloud-based service would – except you don’t have to worry about security (folder encryption options are included) and costing for future data needs is a lot easier (i.e. you don’t incur greater fees as your usage increases as you would with Dropbox or Sugarsync for example).
Although we don’t know yet the precise price point that the Transporter will be marketed at, my estimate is somewhere between $230 – $350 depending on which hard disk option you choose. This means that, as well as being massively attractive for small businesses, it is also viable for personal use even for things like sharing photos with friends and family for those who prefer a greater level of privacy than that afforded by Facebook, Flickr or Dropbox.
Mass production of the Transporter is currently scheduled to begin sometime this month, meaning we should see it on sale sometime in the new year – and certainly by the Spring I would think. Small businesses planning their IT operations and considering various cloud storage options would be wise to keep an eye out for it!