My external hard drive is old. Just a couple years old, but in Internet years it is on its last legs. A few hundred gigabytes used to be enough – now the photos from my phone could fill it up every few months. It is dangerously close to maximum capacity so every month I assess what can be deleted to make room for the new stuff. To make matters worse, I have to travel with it and it doesn’t connect with my phone.
That’s when WD offered me a personal cloud storage system to use and review. I knew about standard clouds, where you upload stuff to the Internet without any local hardware. I had to look up what “personal cloud” meant. Basically it is a physical hard drive connected to a home or small business Internet that you can access remotely from anywhere. I loved this accessibility plus increased capacity (4TB). Within the hour had my Macbook Pro, Dell laptop, Android phone, my wife’s Android, and Canon camera all connected at the same time. Wow. This post gives 5 reasons your photo business needs a My Cloud EX2.
Access files from anywhere
I’m used to the Google Apps of the world where I can access my media, music, documents, and contacts from anywhere and any device. Why shouldn’t we have that capability with our hard drives? You may answer that we already have that with web-based sites like SmugMug (which I use and like) but any software as a service has slow data transfer and recurring costs.
The personal cloud gave me the accessibility needed without the cost. I’m much more likely to use my hard drive because I don’t have to grab it out of the closet to use, or return home to connect to it.
I found many ways to access content. The My Cloud desktop app.
The old school Internet Explorer from a PC:
Of course mobile apps too. I like how I can manage hundreds or thousands of thumbnails quickly and easily without lagging load times.
As a photographer, this may come in handy if you’re in a session and you want to pull up that client’s photos from last year. Instead of thinking “those photos are on a backup drive at home” you can pull them up instantly. You can show and discuss photos from other sessions that were never made public on the web or social media. There’s probably a dozen other benefits to having remote access to your hard drive.
Security & peace of mind
Sometimes you hear horror stories about cloud systems losing data. I remember Big Folio losing a large number of people’s websites (including photos). There’s just something about the cloud that makes me nervous since I can’t physically see the data storage anywhere. I like to be in control of my digital files. A personal cloud device solves this problem because I have all the files right at home (but still maintain the accessibility of the cloud). My only concern is a fire or theft of the physical device would leave me stranded.
For security, My Cloud EX2 allows you to setup permissions-based folders. So I can give an Administrator or a second shooter limited access to my storage to manage files or upload directly.
The worst thing that can happen to a photo business is losing its photos! I setup Time Machine to auto backup my Macbook Pro to my personal cloud device so my computer files are stored in case my computer crashes.
It used to take me a few steps to get photos from my phones to my computer backups. My wife’s Android had a micro SD that I could insert into my PC (but not my Macbook) and then I’d transfer them to my external hard drive as well as SmugMug. My Android doesn’t have a micro SD slot, but it did automatically copy everything to Google+ which I needed to download to my external hard drive. Now My Cloud EX2 grabs photos from both phones every time I snap a new one. I love not having to think about it!
Automatic transfer via camera
I’m not lucky enough to have a Wi-Fi enabled camera. So my previous workflow was to take my 16GB SanDisk memory card and plug it into my computer, copy the files (which takes forever), then backup my photos to my external hard drive (which takes forever again). Now I connect my Canon EOS Rebel T1i to the My Cloud EX2 and it copies files automatically.
Digital delivery via email
You can easily generate an email link for files or folders in My Cloud. When a client clicks on the link they are given a zip file of the photos you selected. Here is why I like this approach:
- You’re only sending a link, so no need to worry about bogging down an email with large files, or having the email bounce back because the attachments were too big
- The recipient doesn’t have to visit or register with another website (I’m thinking about DropBox)
- You don’t have to deal with permissions and passwords
- You don’t have to move images to a second source (like DropBox) to deliver them to clients, thus faster and cheaper for you
Features of the WD My Cloud EX2
Here is all the product detail from the WD site (hence all the trademarks)…
Complete Data Control and Protection
Several data management and security features allow customers to select their preferred methods for managing and protecting their movies, photos, music and digital files. Drive management options include RAID 0, RAID 1; JBOD and spanning modes, while data protection options include RAID 1, USB, cloud or LAN/WAN backup. The My Cloud EX2 comes preconfigured in RAID 1 mode to protect data right from the start and is easily configurable into other data protection modes. Business owners can use their My Cloud EX2 to centralize and back up all of their computers and notebooks with WD SmartWare™ Pro software for PC users, and with the Apple® Time Machine® backup software for Mac users.
High Capacity and Ultimate Reliability
My Cloud EX2 provides several capacity options for business owners to choose from, including a diskless enclosure allowing users to build their own NAS with the drives of their choice, as well as populated systems in 4TB, 6TB or 8TB capacities. Additionally, business owners can attach compatible USB 3.0 hard drives to the USB expansion ports on the My Cloud EX2 to instantly expand their storage capacity. The populated My Cloud EX2 features WD Red® hard drives for ultimate reliability in the unique 24×7 NAS operating environment. WD Red drives are powered by NASware™ 2.0 technology, improving drive reliability and protecting customer data in the event of a power loss or disruption.
Anytime, Anywhere Access
The award-winning WD My Cloud™ mobile and desktop app provides anytime, anywhere access to the entire My Cloud product family. WD My Cloud mobile app users can easily view photos, stream video and share, save and manage files from anywhere on their iOS® and Android™ devices. The mobile app makes file sharing and collaborating simple, allowing customers to easily email files, share files as a link, and print and open files with third party apps. The WD My Cloud mobile app integrates major public cloud services so that business owners can easily transfer files from their Dropbox™, SkyDrive® and Google Drive™ public cloud accounts. With the WD My Cloud desktop app, navigating, controlling and sharing digital files from anywhere in the world is simple and intuitive.
My Cloud EX2 includes advanced data serving options including an integrated file server, FTP server, backup server and a P2P download server. Additionally, users can download and run a host of third party apps, including aMule, Icecast, Joomla!®, phpBB®, phpMyAdmin, Transmission, SqueezeCenter, and more.
Users can also stream videos and photos to connected TVs, media players, gaming consoles and other DLNA®/UPnP® devices with the included Twonky 7.2 server, DLNA-certified 1.5 media server, and built-in iTunes® server.