Desktop and Mobile Applications
One aspect of the PogoPlug Biz that could be more convenient is getting large groups of files onto a PogoPlug Biz- attached storage device. You can upload multiple files from the same folder to the PogoPlug Biz via the Web interface, for example, but not an entire folder along with its contents.
One way around this is to take the extra step of creating a folder on the PogoPlug before uploading a group of files to it. Another is to use a free desktop utility called PogoPlug Drive (available for Windows, Mac or Linux), a utility that makes the PogoPlug Biz drives appear as a standard PC hard drive. PogoPlug Drive also has its own version of Active Copy for backing up files between a PogoPlug and a PC.
The PogoPlug Biz includes a number of customization and mobility options that distinguish it from its consumer-targeted counterpart. (See this chart outlining the differences between the two.) For starters, the look of the browser-based UI is customizable, albeit in a fairly rudimentary way. You can adorn pages with a company logo and put a link to your company Web site behind it.
However, the logo can be JPEG only, and it's extremely small size (165x39 pixels) makes it almost unnoticeable in its fixed location in the upper-left corner of the page. Other UI tweaks include the capability to change the color of backgrounds and text.
More interesting and useful is the PogoPlug Biz's capability to set up multiple user accounts with a dedicated folder for each. It also lets you define custom email addresses that employees and clients can use to upload files to predetermined locations on the device. There's also the option to use a custom domain name so you access your PogoPlug via an address like PogoPlug.YourCompanyName.com instead of My.PogoPlug.com, though enabling this requires you to modify your own DNS settings.
The PogoPlug Biz provides some basic usage statistics, since small businesses are more likely than casual file sharers to want to track how often shared files have been accessed and by whom. The file sharing device can tell you which users have accessed shared items and how many times an item has been viewed, downloaded, or streamed.
However, this information is hard to find in the UI and inconvenient to access given you can only view it for one folder at a time. CloudEngines says a future firmware update will make usage statistics more prominent and let you see them for all shared folders at once.
The PogoPlug Biz's $300 price tag is a bit pricey -- it's three times as much as a garden variety PogoPlug -- so you're paying a high premium for its extra handful of business-focused features. Still, it's a good alternative to cloud-based storage services for small businesses that want maximum storage and control over their data for minimal cost.
Pros: simple setup with no firewall tinkering; stored data remains on your network; no monthly access fees; free mobile applications available
Cons: must add your own storage; Wi-Fi available separately; pricey compared to consumer-oriented version
Joseph Moran is a longtime technology writer and co-author of Getting StartED with Windows 7 from Friends of Ed.
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