Pogoplug service turns your computers into private cloud

The service allows file sharing behind a user's firewall

Cloud service provider Pogoplug today unveiled Pogoplug Team, which allows home offices and small businesses to turn file servers or spare PCs into pools of storage accessible from the Web.

Pogoplug Team basically creates a private cloud for businesses, allowing them to store information within their own firewalls rather than on third-party services such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Box.net.

"Our sweet spot is [businesses with] 10 to 50 people. You're a small business and want to be able to use existing server capacity to create [a] cloud," said Dan Putterman, CEO of Pogoplug. "Today, you can buy a 3TB hard drive for $150. So we're talking about full access and file sharing to 3TB of storage for $150," he said. (That price, however, doesn't include the $15-a-year, per-person licensing fee paid to Pogoplug for its service.)

Pogoplug already sells products that offer a Web-based connection to home or office PCs and servers. For example, Pogoplug PC allows users turn a single PC into a Web-based file server. The company also offers its own public cloud storage service with 5GB of free capacity.

Pogoplug Team is different from the company's previous products in that it allows multiple users to share capacity in a home or office. The service's capabilities are similar to Dropbox Teams in its ability to allow file sharing and collaboration.

"We actually run a managed service. You go [to] one of our interfaces -- whether the Web or mobile applications -- and that gets authenticated through our service which forms a tunnel back into your office," Putterman said.

Data accessed through Pogoplug's Team services is encrypted both coming in and going out, Putterman said. User authentication occurs on Pogoplug's site.

Setup and installation requires no port forwarding or firewall holes, just a software installation that is compatible with Mac, PC or Linux. The software works with the existing file structure in the office or home.

Pogoplug Team is set up on an administrator's computer or server and the admin has privileges that user accounts do not. The admin can, for instance, add or remove users, see all files and folders and/or make changes to the account.

Users added by the admin, can upload and download files and share links. Their privileges are managed by the admin.

Files hosted on a user's computer can only be accessed when the computer is turned on and running Pogoplug Team.

"If you've seen the growing popularity of remote access capabilities, like LogMeIn and Citrix GoToMyPC, this is the natural evolution where there's a PC left on...and it becomes a storage pool for multiple people," Putterman said.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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