The Truth About Cloud Backup

 

Over the past several months I have been traveling all over the country visiting Best Buy stores, one of our major retail partners, and in the process I have found something terribly, deeply shocking. No, not with Best Buy customer service, or their prices, or some kind of amazing ground-breaking scandal that will bring the blue and gold retailer to its knees. Best Buy is fine. The state of consumer backup, however, is not.

I work at a cloud backup company, so I am in “the bubble”. Nearly everyone I talk to is somehow involved in technology. Talking to people who don’t work in the tech industry is always a fantastic opportunity for me to do some market research, if you will, without the biases and pre-conceptions that come with working at a tech company in Silicon Valley. It’s a chance to connect, face-to-face, with the people we build our products for: the all-important customer.

What I found was shocking. People–lots of them–are using consumer-grade hard drives to back up their files, not because they don’t know about the cloud and off-site backup, but because they truly believe that a hard drive backup is better! There is so much mis-information out there about “the cloud” that I can’t say I blame them for wanting a backup that they can touch and see. It feels secure, holding your hard drive in your hand, until you realize that if you use hard drives as your sole back up method, you WILL lose your files. It is not a question of “if” it is a question of “when?”

So without further ado, here are the most common myths and misconceptions about backing up I heard on my travels.

“I don’t need the cloud, I use a hard drive to back up”

This is the most common one I heard, and also the easiest to address. Hard drives do not last. They will fail eventually, and probably a lot sooner than you think. In our datacenters, for example, annual failure rates for hard drives range from 2% to up to 40% per year (don’t worry our system is designed for drives to fail, more on this in a minute). And those are enterprise-grade drives–designed to be the most robust, longest lasting drives available.

A consumer-grade drive cannot be expected to last much longer than a couple of years and if it’s sitting in your house instead of nestled safely in a datacenter, it can get dropped, lost, stolen, spilled on etc. So if you trust your backups to a hard drive alone you will eventually lose your precious photos, important files and everything else that you store on your computer.

“What the heck is this ‘cloud’ that I am backing up to anyway?”

“The cloud” is just a fancy name for a bunch of internet-connected hard drives and servers sitting in a datacenter. Backing up to “the cloud” is fundamentally the same as backing up to a hard drive in your house. The only difference is that instead of backing up to one hard drive that sits in a shoebox in your closet, you’re backing up to 10 or 100 hard drives all at once, and those hard drives are protected by lock and key in a secure, secret location. It’s the difference between keeping your money under the mattress versus storing it in a bank. 

“I use Time Capsule to protect my Mac”

Time Capsule is great; it’s easy to use and simple to set up. And there are no subscription fees! Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. When you buy a Time Capsule from Apple all you are buying is a consumer hard drive in a fancy suit, with the all the same problems that come with trusting consumer-grade external drives with your backups.

“The cloud is not secure, I don’t want my files to be hacked/accessible on the internet”

After the iCloud “hack” a couple of years ago people started getting very wary about the cloud. People already didn’t trust it, and this seemed to confirm their suspicions. Let me just clarify one thing: iCloud was not “hacked”. There was a targeted campaign by an organization of malicious attackers to guess unsecure passwords.

So the iCloud “hack” was really an indication that people need to use more secure passwords to protect their accounts, not just their backup accounts, but all their accounts.

This is why we and many other companies have started offering two-factor authentication that sends a secure code to your phone every time you log in. This is virtually impossible to break and extremely secure, as the potential hacker would need to know your password and have access to phone at the same time.

Also, if you use a hard drive to back up your computer your files are just sitting there on the hard drive ready to be read by anyone who plugs it into their computer. Our datacenters encrypt everything, so even if by some miracle someone could break into one of our ultra-secure datacenters and steal a hard drive, they would be completely unable to get any files off of it.

“If hard drives fail so much, then isn’t your datacenter just as prone to failure as the hard drive in my house?”

Good question. The difference is our datacenters are specifically designed for hard drives to fail. We replicate data and disperse it across multiple drives, so we can lose a huge number of drives in our system without losing your data. Even if something catastrophic were to happen to one of our datacenters, we have more than one!

“You’re going to steal/sell/look at my data”

I hear this one all the time. The simple answer is that this is just not true. We don’t monetize your data in any way shape or form. We don’t sell it, we don’t look at it, we don’t mess with it in any way.

The stuff you upload to our servers just sits there, and it’s yours and yours alone. Period. The same way a bank can’t steal your money if you leave it there, we can’t steal your data if you upload it to our servers.

Keep in mind that not all services were created equal in this respect. Google, for example, does reserve the right to use your data for just about anything they please. Seriously. Go read their terms of service if you don’t believe me. Pogoplug is different. We are in the business of protecting your data, not selling it.

“I don’t need a mobile backup solution, I transfer my photos to my computer to protect them”

A lot of backup companies these days focus solely on backing up your computer but ignore the fact that for the average user the vast majority of photos are now taken on phones.

We recognize this and we think that the typical flow of “take photos on my phone, plug my phone into my computer, transfer my photos to my computer and backup my computer to an external hard drive” is A) a huge pain and B) not a very secure way to protect your photos because your computer and/or external hard drive could fail at any time.

That’s why our mobile applications upload all your photos silently to our servers in the background. You don’t have to do anything–just install the app, set it up one time and forget it. All your photos are automatically protected and organized without you having to lift a finger.

“I already use iCloud/Google Drive to back up my phone”

That’s great, we encourage users to use these services. But they are not sufficient on their own for several reasons. For one, in the case of iCloud specifically, it is not a true back up of your data. If you delete a photo from your phone, you also delete it from iCloud. Pogoplug allows you to delete photos and videos and reclaim that valuable space on your phone without losing your photos and videos.

For another, these services limit the amount of files you can store. iCloud costs $20 per month for 1 Terabyte (1,000 Gigabytes) of space. Yes, that is a lot storage, but it also costs 4x more than what Pogoplug charges, and we offer unlimited storage, not just 1 Terabyte. As the volume of photos and videos people generate continues to increase, an unlimited solution is the only way to ensure you never run out of space and never lose a file or photo.

Lastly, these other services do not back up your computer. Pogoplug gives you one safe place for all your stuff whether it’s on your tablet, computer or phone. We also allow you to mix and match operating systems. Got an Android phone and an iPad? You’re out of luck unless you have a cross-platform service like Pogoplug.

“What’s the solution then?”

So at this point you are probably wondering, what IS the best way to back up my stuff? Well, I’ll tell you. The best mix of convenience, features and price is to use cloud backup in conjunction with hard drive back up. While we can replace traditional hard drive backup completely and many of our users rely on us as their sole backup destination, hard drives do maintain one key advantage over the cloud: speed.

No offsite storage will be as fast as having the files stored locally. Having a local backup on a hard drive or Apple Time Capsule is a great way to quickly recover files that you have lost. But (and it is a BIG but) the hard drive you back up to will eventually fail, so you need the cloud to ensure that your data is always protected.

Backing up to the cloud also gives you the additional advantage of easily organizing your photos, files and videos and making them available from anywhere. A hard drive backup just sits in your closet, gathering dust until it inevitably dies, taking your precious files with it.

 

Introducing Pogoplug Business Backup

Pogoplug Backup for Business is here! We have added lots of great new features to our backup software to make it the most attractive end-point backup solution in the industry. Backups happen silently, automatically and in the background so you and your employees always have peace of mind knowing your data is protected. Pogoplug Business Backup also features unlimited storage so you never have to worry about  running out of storage or having to buy more. Pogoplug Business Backup includes great business-focused features like two-factor authentication, increased performance and priority support to make sure that your team can concentrate on the task at hand without worrying about computer crashes, drops or spills. If you are ready to check out Pogoplug Business Backup now, click here. Still got a few more questions? Read our FAQ below:

How much does Pogoplug Business Backup cost?

Pogoplug Business Backup costs $10 per month/$100 per year for the master account. Each invited user can be billed monthly or yearly, and each invited user costs $10 per month or $100 per year. Two charges will appear on your statement: one for the master account and one for all of the team members you invite at the time of sign-up. If you add additional team members at a later date, those team members will appear as separate charges on your card. Team members cannot be mixed and matched with yearly and monthly charges, so either all of your invited members can be annual or all of them can be monthly, but you cannot have a mix of both. For example, you could not invite two team members to be monthly and one team member to be yearly.

What’s the difference between Pogoplug Business Backup and other Business Backup solutions?

Pogoplug Business Backup is truly unlimited: no file size limits, no limits on the number of devices per account, no file-type restrictions and no hidden fees. Other solutions charge more than double (and sometimes a lot more!) for products that don’t have the speed and flexibility of Pogoplug Business Backup. Other solutions limit you to one computer per account, or charge you extra to back up videos, for example. We don’t believe in restrictions: we allow you to back up everything from everywhere without any hidden fees or catches. Unlimited should really mean unlimited!

What’s the difference between Pogoplug Business Backup and Pogoplug Personal or Family Backup?

Pogoplug Business Backup is purpose-built for business and includes additional security measures like two-factor authentication, business-focused performance improvements and prioritized support.

Is my data secure with Pogoplug Business Backup?

Short answer: very. Our data centers are guarded 24/7 and protected with biometric security measures, badge access, and are built to withstand earthquake, fire or other natural disasters. We also encrypt your data at rest with AES 256-bit encryption, the same encryption used by banks. We are certified by TRUSTe, an independent third-party privacy standards organization, and take the security of your data extremely seriously.

How do I add or remove users?

When you set up Pogoplug Business Backup for the first time, you will be prompted to add however many users you would like. After you invite users, those users will get an email prompting them to add a password to their account. To add additional users or remove users after the initial set up, you can do so by clicking on “My Account” under “Settings” on my.pogoplug.com.

I am being billed monthly, can I switch to annual (or vice versa)?

At this time, switching between annual and monthly billing is not possible.

How does billing work?

When you create your administrator account, you choose to be billed either monthly or annually. At the time of sign-up you can choose to either add team members on to your account at that time, or add them later. Two charges will appear on your credit card: one charge for your admin account and one charge for all of your invited users that you add at the time of sign up. So, if you bought one admin account and two team member accounts at the time of sign up and are being billed monthly, you will see two charges: one charge for $10 (admin account) and one charge for $20 (two invited user accounts).

You can add additional users at any time, and each time you add additional users, they will appear as separate charges on your card. So in the example above, if you then added three more users one week later, you will see a separate charge for $30 on your card repeating monthly going forward. If you bought the original account in this example on the first of the month, going forward you would see one charge for $10 on the first of the month, one charge for $20 on the first of the month and one charge for $30 on the 7th of the month, repeating every month. We bill this way so that you have more control over when you add users to your account.

What happens if I cancel my account?

While invited users can be added and removed at any time, the master account has to stay open and in good standing. If the master account owner cancels his or her account, all of the invited accounts will also be canceled and all data will be deleted. Please make sure you notify users who you have invited that you are canceling your account prior to doing so to ensure that they can back up their files elsewhere.

If I am the master account owner and I am being billed monthly, can I add team members that are billed yearly or vice versa?

No. Everyone on your account must be either yearly or monthly, depending on which subscription you signed up for when you created your administrator account.

What is the minimum number of team members I can add?

There is no minimum, you can open an account with just one user.

Can invited users cancel their account?

No. The master account holder must deactivate accounts.

When do I start getting billed for invited users?

As soon as you invite someone, his or her account is active and ready for use and you will be billed immediately.

Can I remove an invited user?

Yes. As the master account owner, you can manage your team members in “My Account” on my.pogoplug.com. Invited team members cannot add or remove users or cancel his or her own account.

I invited someone, but they never added a password. What gives?

You can see the status of each of your team members in My Account. If he or she has not added a password yet, you can re-send the email to remind them. Please keep in mind that billing begins from the time that you invite the user, not from the time he or she activates the account.

Can team members see what is in my account?

Nope. Everyone has their own account, and there is no way for anyone on Pogoplug Business Backup (even the master account owner) to access another team member’s account unless you share your password with them.

Can the owner of the account re-set my password, see how much data I have or do anything else special like that that I need to worry about?

No. The only things that the master account owner can do are: add and remove users, send invitation emails and reminders and pay the bill. A master account owner cannot see which devices are on an invited user’s account, see how much data an invited user is using, re-set an invited user’s password or gain access to an invited user’s account.

Do you sign BAA’s?

At this time we cannot sign a BAA with your business.

What happens if one of your servers fails?

Our proprietary system disperses your information into many different pieces and distributes them across multiple servers and disks. This means that your data is not only unreadable in the very unlikely event of a theft, but also that if one or many of our servers fail, your data is not lost.

Introducing Pogoplug Family

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.00.03 PM

We are super excited to announce Pogoplug Family, the fantastic new way to ensure everyone in your family has unlimited cloud storage and backup for all their devices. It’s pretty simple: the account owner gets the bill and everyone in the family has separate accounts. You can add or remove users at any time, and each user you add gets unlimited storage for $1.95 per month. We know you still might have a few questions, so here are some answers to the most common ones. If you’re ready to get started with Family now, awesome, click here.

1. What happens if I cancel my account?

While invited users can be added and removed at any time, the master account has to stay open and in good standing. If the master account owner cancels his or her account, all of the invited accounts will also be canceled.

2. How do I add or remove users?

When you set up Pogoplug Family for the first time, you will be prompted to add however many users you would like. After you invite users, those users will get an email prompting them to add a password to their account. To add additional users or remove users after the initial set up, you can do so by clicking on “My Account” under “Settings” on my.pogoplug.com.

3. How much does Family cost?

Family costs $4.95 per month/$49.95 per year for the master account. Each invited user can be billed monthly or yearly, and each invited user costs $1.95 per month or $19.95 per year. Two charges will appear on your statement: one for the master account and one for all of the family members you invite. Family members cannot be mixed and matched with yearly and monthly charges, so either all of your invited members can be annual or all of them can be monthly, but you cannot have a mix of both. For example, you could not invite two family members to be monthly and one family member to be yearly.

4. If I am the master account owner and I am being billed monthly, can I add family members that are billed yearly?

No. All users must be billed on the same schedule.

5. What is the minimum number of family members I can add?

Each Family account must have at least 2 users: 1 master account and one invited account.

6. Can invited users (“family members”) cancel their account?

No. The master account holder must deactivate accounts.

7. When do I start getting billed for invited users?

As soon as you invite someone, their account is active and ready for use and you will be billed immediately.

8. Can I remove an invited user?

Yes. As the master account owner, you can manage your family members in “My Account” on my.pogoplug.com. Invited family members cannot add or remove users or cancel his or her own account.

9. I invited someone, but they never added a password. What gives?

You can see the status of each of your family members in My Account. If he or she has not added a password yet, you can re-send the email. Please keep in mind that billing begins from the time that you invite the user, not from the time he or she activates the account.

10. Can family members see what is in my account?

Nope. Everyone has their own account, and there is no way for anyone on Pogoplug Family (even the master account owner) to access another family member’s account unless you share your password with them.

11. Can the owner of the account re-set my password, see how much data I have or do anything else special like that that I need to worry about?

No. The only things that the master account owner can do are: add and remove users, send invitation emails and reminders and pay the bill. A master account owner cannot see which devices are on an invited user’s account, see how much data an invited user is using, re-set an invited user’s password or gain access to an invited user’s account.

If you still have any questions, please feel free to contact support@pogoplug.com. Get Family Now.

iOS Updates

Our latest and greatest iOS app just went live on the App Store with some awesome new features. We added native iPhone 6 and 6 plus support so Pogoplug looks great on every device. Plus, we have improved the way that photos are displayed in the photo gallery: now it works just like it does on your camera roll with all your photos and videos together in one continuous scrollable view. You can still sort by photos and videos at the top for quickly finding the media you’re looking for.

IMG_2060

 

 

We also added a new side bar that allows you to quickly jump to a specific month or year. To use it, simply swipe left from the right side of the screen on the timeline or videos view. This update includes the usual bug fixes, stability improvements and performance increases, so head on over to the app store now and upgrade today.

New My Account Page

Today we launched a great new feature that makes managing your account a whole lot easier: the My Account page. Now, when you click on ‘Account’ under ‘Settings’ you will see a much cleaner page that makes it easy to keep track of your subscription, update your payment details, add cloud card activation codes and add services to your account. We also added the option to pay using PayPal.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 5.39.09 PM

As always, we love to hear your feedback so if you are having any issues with the new feature (or just want to tell us how pretty we are) please feel free to drop us a line: visit the Help Center to see your options. We have a lot more great features coming soon so, as always, stay tuned!

New Pogoplug PC Features

We have made a lot of progress in the past year and added a whole bunch of awesome new features. Today we are excited to be bringing a lot of the new goodies to Pogoplug PC. This is the latest and greatest version of Pogoplug PC, so be sure to download the new version today. Read on for a (dance?) breakdown of the new features.

Playlists

Organize your music the way you want. Create a playlist for every occasion: from a pump-up workout playlist to a chill-out collection for your next dinner party, with Pogoplug PC the music on your computer is available everywhere and for every occasion.

Photo Albums

Just like with playlists, you can now organize your photos however you like with our new albums feature. Create and share photo albums with friends and family, and take them everywhere you go.

Multi-file Share

Got a few photos you want to share out quickly but don’t need a whole album? We’ve got you covered. Share one photo or 20 by quickly selecting what you want to share and send them out via your favorite social network, email or by just grabbing the link. Simple.

The Nerdy Stuff Under The Hood

We have added all kinds of tweaks and fixes to make Pogoplug PC the best way to access everything on your home computer from anywhere. Searching is now lightning fast and more accurate, bugs have been zapped and lots more. Just a few more reasons why you should definitely go grab the new version today.

The Moolah

If you haven’t gotten Pogoplug PC already, it’s only $29.99 for a lifetime license. Yep you read that right, unlike our competitors there are no recurring fees for this amazing software, and it’s the perfect compliment to your cloud account or just on its own. Head over to Pogoplug.com/downloads and snag it today for a free 30-day trial, no credit card required. Enjoy!