These days we hear “cloud services” bandied around as the next big thing and there is no doubting their convenience in terms of accessibility and pricing (often free). However, there may not be much consideration given to the security of such services particularly if they are located in another country where you may have few or no rights to the security of your information.
This is where a private cloud may come in handy. There are a few solutions available that will allow you to create your own cloud using a spare computer at home (such as Windows Home Server or Tonido) but the limiting factor is the upload speed of your internet connection. Whilst the upload speeds on cellular connection are getting faster thanks to the deployment of 4G/LTE services fixed line broadband connections aren’t seeing such increases until the underlying infrastructure is replaced.
Maybe upload speeds aren’t such a big deal for small documents but if you’re into backing up and retrieving photos, videos, music and other large files then the choke point is going to be your home internet connection particularly if multiple people want to access content back at home. This is where the NBN can be a key enabler in empowering people to maintain control of their own content whilst potentially encouraging some platform agnostic compatibility.
With the major smartphone platforms now offering some form of cloud storage (which can be incompatible with other smartphone platforms or not as fully featured when accessed from competing platforms) having your own private cloud could be useful if you want to avoid a “lock in” to any one in particular. It’s not easy to switch between cloud services as often you need to download everything and then upload it to your preferred service – not something you’d do if you have many gigabytes of data up in the cloud!
A pessimistic point of view may believe that cloud providers might push the envelope with their terms of service or storage plans to their benefit knowing how much data people have hosted with them and how difficult and/or time consuming it is to switch to a competing service as well as associated smartphone/tablet platforms.
I guess one hurdle apart from getting an NBN connection is understanding how to install and manage a private cloud instance. In particular, if you are going to go for a full blown server solution like Windows Home Server then you really need to know how to configure it (otherwise you could break something) but hopefully there will be more solutions like Tonido that will address this gap to make it super simple for everyone.