Beware of the local cloud

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A new wearable device is currently being crowdsourced called the ReVault. On the face of it, it looks like a fairly standard smartwatch – but its secret weapon is invisible – your own local cloud.

The Revault watch comes in both 32GB and 128GB variants and can connect to your phone, tablet or even PC as a wireless hard drive.  The pitch is that you can have one copy of your data on your watch and can then access it across all your devices without the need of syncing each to a PC or a cloud in advance. You can even access this data when you have no internet connection as it connects locally via either Bluetooth or WiFi so this local cloud will work in places where you can’t connect to your regular cloud services.

The idea of separating physical storage from your device is not a new one, although the idea has faded away in recent years due to Cloud storage offerings and manufacturers being able to charge more for high capacity flash storage models. Having a memory card in your phone is seen by some as an advantage as you could get additional storage (including capacity far outreaching the device manufacturers options for a lot less), plus the flexibility to move your content to your next device, again without the additional cost on a pricier high capacity model.

Portable wireless storage could be the replacement for memory cards as it has distinct advantages and doesn’t require the device manufacturers to physically include compatibility – which is something they have little incentive to do.

A real concern is when these devices, personally owned by employees, are taking into the work space. Many companies will block the use of USB storage and block public cloud networks, however as the Revault is neither reliant on a physical or internet connection these devices is unlikely to be blocked by a standard company security policy.

The Revault will probably be a niche product and the chances of copycat devices or functionality remains uncertain at this point.  However, the strength of this crowdsourcing campaign could play a vital role in its success if personal clouds become relevant to a larger market.  One thing is certain though, new devices will always test your security practices and you will need to be vigilant to safeguard your corporate data from the ever evolving and unmonitored consumer device and services market.

 

This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 7th June 2013

Private Cloud in a box
Microsoft is finally ready to deliver a private cloud in a box, with the Windows Azure Pack. This lets you take advantage of Windows Azure technologies inside your own datacentre, providing self-service, multi-tenant services. Traditionally to use Azure services you would be reliant on Microsoft’s own hardware. This will enable MSPs more flexibility in providing different Cloud services to customers in addition to satisfying dataflow transparency needs.

Microsoft details Windows 8.1
Although many rumours have been spun about Windows Blue or 8.1 as we now know it, Microsoft for the first time has confirmed certain details and functionality Windows 8.1 will bring. By popular demand the Start button is back, however the old menu is still not. Microsoft is focusing on their Start screen with more personalisation options, and improving the consistency from Desktop mode to the new Start screen. In addition to OS tweaks, all the main built in apps are getting updates and some like the Music app are getting a complete overhaul. Microsoft is betting on these updates to give users another excuse to check out Windows 8 and by listening to customer feedback they should be able to convert back some previously alienated fans.

Motorola looking into future password replacements
Motorola who is now owned by Google has been tasked with looking into future alternatives to the traditional password. Motorola have shown off two concepts in trials. The first is an electronic sticker that is worn on your body, a circuit inside will be able to confirm your identity to nearby devices. The second is a ‘password pill’, a pill the user will swallow which is then powered by your stomach, the pill notifies nearby devices on who you are. Will we see either of these security methods take off one day or even become the de facto method of signing in to your devices?

Foxconn developing 5 Firefox OS devices
Mozilla is setting up partners to get phones running its new mobile operating system Firefox OS out into the market. Mozilla has signed a deal with Foxconn the world’s largest smart phone manufacturer to produce 5 different mobile devices running Firefox OS. With incredible competition from Google, Apple, Microsoft and even BlackBerry, Mozilla has a long and uphill battle on their hands. If they can convince their 20% desktop browser market share to go out and buy a Mozilla device, they may stand a chance yet.

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