Western Digital has launched My Cloud, a personal storage device which you can connect to wherever you are in the world.
Whether we are capturing the birth of our children on video, taking pictures of nights out or creating spreadsheets to keep track of wedding guests, never in our history have people been creating and sharing more content.
Traditionally this digital content has been stored on the hard drives of PCs and laptops, but with the proliferation of smart devices, the amount of content people create on a daily basis has increased exponentially.
According to Gartner, by 2016 the average family will have 3.3 terabytes (TBs) of digital content to store. The problem is that content will be fragmented across 14 different devices on average, including PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones as well as on various cloud storage services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive.
In a bid to resolve this problem, Western Digital has created My Cloud, which the company calls "your own personal cloud." Essentially a hard drive connected to the internet, My Cloud will allow you to upload content from your laptop, PC, smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the world, but rather than saving your image, videos and documents to a remote server, you save it directly to the device sitting in your home.
Where people store their digital content and how secure it is, has come under intense scrutiny since Edward Snowden's revelations about widespread spying by law enforcement agencies in the US, UK and elsewhere.
According to Chris Bull, director of marketing for Western Digital, who announced the My Cloud product today in London, he noew receives a lot more questions about the NSA and governmental hacking since the revelations were published. Bull says My Cloud users needen't worry as this system doesn't see your content travel through any third-party other servers, with your phone, tablet or laptop connecting directly with the hard drive sitting at home.
Western Digital are also keen to point out that its system uses 128-bit AES encryption to secure your content when you send it over the internet, the same system used by banks to secure their transactions.
The My Cloud product comes in 2TB, 3TB or 4TB storage options with prices starting at £130. Bull pointed out that if you only used Dropbox, then you would be paying a £125 per year subscription for just one-tenth of the storage capacity (200GB).
However, Dropbox is unlikely to accidentally unplug its servers, or see its connection to the internet drop completely, which is a possibility for the My Cloud device. Should you experience a power cut or your router fails, then you won't be able to access your device remotely, or upload anything to it.
While the My Cloud solution helps solve the problem of fragmented content on different devices, it fails to solve the problem that cloud storage set out to solve - creating a secure back-up. Should your house be burgled or burn down, there is no automatic back-up anywhere else for the content stored on My Cloud. The same problem applies should the hard drive itself fail for whatever reason.
This issue will mean that people with hugely important files may look elsewhere or need to use a complimentary system.
My Cloud connects directly to your home router via a Gigabit Ethernet cable, and once you download the app (it supports iOS, Android and Windows Phone) you can immediately start storing content to the device.
You will be able to create specific permissions for certain folders within the drive, meaning children can be given access to only parts of the My Cloud system. You can also share your content with friends by sending them a link to a specific file, photo or video.
As well as allowing you to back up photos, files and video from all your laptops, PCs, smartphone and tablets, My Cloud also integrates directly with Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive allowing you to bring all your content together quite easily.