With the exponential advances in technology, one worry of both critics and tech creators is that in the event of a catastrophe (war, energy collapse), vast amounts of personal data could disappear. We see this concern play out on a smaller scale every day—we back-up and print-out to insure against data loss. Japanese company Hitachi just this week announced a method of storing data as binary dots on quartz crystal, which could last for millions of years, provided the glass remains intact. California tech company ioSafe is coming at the problem from another angle.
The ioSafe team is currently developing and crowd-funding (on IndieGogo) the N2, a fireproof waterproof NAS/RAID, which they describe as “an aircraft black box for data on your network” for protecting “pictures, videos and business data.”
While ioSafe is already a successful company, it likes to remind potential investors that it is a 20-person company up against billion-dollar companies. They see themselves as David vs. Goliath. It’s hard not to root for them, for this is the very essence of creative capitalism.
As the company notes on its IndieGoGo page, “We’ve developed awesome technology that combines computers with safes.” A private cloud that is waterproof, fireproof and bolts to the floor. The creation certainly has its appeal.
Any “smartphone, tablet, PC, Mac or Linux device can access and share pictures, files, videos and music,” states ioSafe. “If you have a 20-30 GB to protect, the public cloud is an option. If you have terabytes to store, the traditional public cloud breaks down quickly.” As more and more of our lives exist in digital simulacra, it’s not impossible that we will need an incredible amount of storage, and be able to access it quickly. Private clouds like ioSafe should create greater speed in upload/download time, especially if Apple, Google and Amazon experience bandwidth issues.
One thing ioSafe wants to stress is that the N2 puts cloud storage into the hands of the user instead of a public corporation like Apple’s iCloud, Amazon’s S3 or Google’s Drive. This has been ioSafe Robb Moore’s primary mission with N2.
“The N2 is important because it puts the control and power back in the hands of the owner of the data,” says Moore. “Do you really think a public cloud company making $10 a month off of you really cares whether you identity was just stolen from their servers?” This may sound cynical, until one stops to consider how difficult it will be to find any lost data when dealing with a labyrinthine corporate bureaucracy. As good as Apple is with customer service, when a company is dealing with multiple millions of customers, business efficiency isn’t placed at a premium.
“The public cloud is totally broken for anyone with a terabyte or more,” adds Moore. “Have you ever actually tried to move a terabyte or two online? Try to fill a swimming pool with an eyedropper and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Then after the pool is filled, it’ll cost about thousand dollars per month to store your water there. That’s the public cloud.”
Yes, Moore and ioSafe are trying to sell their product to customers, but he’s speaking a truth about current corporate cloud services. Apple gives iCloud to its customers, but it’s a limited amount of storage. One has to pay more money for more storage. That’s fair, but if one is paying money for storage anyway, why not entertain the idea of purchasing a private cloud?
“No one in the public cloud cares as much about your data as you do,” states ioSafe on its IndieGoGo page. “Information gets hacked, deleted and compromised in the public cloud as the biggest databases represent the juiciest targets for hackers. Staying in control of how your local data is stored, accessed and managed is an excellent way to avoid risks of the public cloud.” There is a high degree of truth here: publicly-stored data could be a potential hacking goldmine.
While N2 doesn’t get around the problem of a disaster such as energy collapse (private data wouldn’t be accessible unless there is power), it comes as close to disaster-proof and secure as possible. But it’s most important upside might just be that it brings to market another choice—to store one’s critical data privately.
Watch Robb Moore introduce the N2 below.