Your Own Personal Cloud… Is Still A Cloud
WD MyCloud external drives are, as their name suggests, meant to give users their own little slice of “cloud storage”. Cloud data storage, like Google Drive or Dropbox, allows you to upload files to a little portion of another organization’s server. From there, you can access those files online on any device. It’s called “putting your data on the Cloud”, where “the Cloud” is this oft-mysticized, decentralized storage media. In reality, it’s a tiny portion of a data center on the other side of the country.
WD MyCloud external drives do the same thing as your Dropbox account or your Google Drive. Except instead of halfway across the country, the physical machine storing your data lives halfway across your living room. They look deceptively similar to Western Digital’s lines of MyBook and MyBook Duo external hard drives.
But these aren’t technically external hard drives. Rather, they’re network-attached storage devices. These devices plug into your router, not your computer, and any device connected to your Internet can access the NAS. WD MyCloud devices are NAS devices aimed at home users. However, some small business owners see them as a simple and inexpensive way to make an easily-accessible shared folder for their employees.
A personal NAS device like the WD MyCloud is a bit like having your own little slice of the Cloud right in your own home. Some of the pitfalls of Cloud-based data storage and other cloud services is that people grow complacent about the service’s reliability and how available the data they store in it is. The same holds true with NAS devices like the WD MyCloud. They can all too easily fall prey to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, making their eventual failure (all storage devices fail eventually) all the more shocking and devastating.