Network Storage Review: LaCie CloudBox - Page 2

By Joseph Moran | Posted March 07, 2012

CloudBox Data Backups

Cloudbox automatically backs up any data you copy to it to the cloud on a daily basis, and LaCie says it encrypts files with 128-bit AES prior to upload to transmit and store the data securely. Our unit's backups went off without a hitch, and we appreciated the fact that the unit sends a daily email reporting the backup status without having to be configured to do so. If a backup fails, the CloudBox's status LED flashes red to alert you.

How long cloud backups take -- particularly the large initial one -- depends greatly on the speed of the upstream Internet connection; our upstream link was capable of 4 Mbps, which the CloudBox reported as able to upload about 7 GB a day. As it happens, our initial backup of about 5 GB took roughly 15 hours.

We have one minor complaint about the CloudBox backup. The daily backup time is automatically set to the time you happen to complete the initial device setup, which may not necessarily be ideal (in our case, it was 12:32 PM).

The CloudBox dashboard; network attached storage

Figure 2: The CloudBox Dashboard provides convenient access to device status and features.

Although you can change the backup time later (or do manual backups at any time), we'd prefer the CloudBox configure its automatic backups for nighttime by default, or at least give you the opportunity to specify the time up front. It would also be nice if you could opt to automatically backup twice a day instead of just once.

If you do choose to upload cloud backups during business hours, you can limit the amount of bandwidth the CloudBox uses to keep it from monopolizing your Internet connection.

CloudBox Data Restores

With any luck you'll never need to restore your data from cloud storage, but if and when you do, the CloudBox makes it a pretty simple process. You can do a selective- or full-file restore to a PC through a CloudBox Online Restore (COR) utility, which is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. COR, which you must download prior to use and requires the aforementioned contract number to run (you can have the software "remember" this number), lets you restore from any of the last 10 backups.

If the CloudBox unit gives up the ghost, you can initiate a full restore directly from its replacement (the hardware carries a 2-year warranty, incidentally). Of course, restoring an entire Cloudbox could take many days depending on how much data it contained and how speedy the Internet connection, and there's unfortunately no option to avoid this delay by having a replacement unit pre-loaded with your data prior to delivery.

Conclusion

The limited capacity of the CloudBox means it's probably not the right choice if the data you need to protect includes gobs of photos and video. We'd welcome 250 and 500 GB versions of the CloudBox, but even 100 GB should be sufficient if your critical data consists mainly of less porcine files such as documents, spreadsheets, email folders, and the company Quickbooks file.

It's certainly possible to buy more storage (either local or cloud) for less money, but if you want a two-prong backup strategy with minimal hassle, the CloudBox should prove a good choice for small business storage.

Price: $199 (includes one year of cloud-based backup; annual renewals cost $129)

Pros: small, quiet, simple to set up and administer; automatically backs up all data to the cloud daily and provides backup status alerts

Cons: local and cloud storage limited to 100GB; doesn’t support shared folders

Joseph Moran is a veteran technology writer and co-author of Getting StartED with Windows 7, from Friends of ED.

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