Own your data with personal cloud storage solutionsNo matter the kind of business that you run or the type of company that you work for, chances are that you rely on a fair bit of data. You’ve got those Excel spreadsheets, those annual financial reports, that marketing collateral, and all of your creative work-in-progress. There are few things worse than catastrophic hardware failure, because it’d mean you lose all of those irreplaceable and invaluable files.

This is a big part of the reason why cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive have proliferated in recent years. The problem with all of these service providers is that you don’t own the space; you’re simply renting it for a monthly (or annual) fee. While it’s unlikely that Google or Microsoft will go out of business, you are not in full control of the data housed on their servers. That’s where personal cloud storage solutions can offer better privacy and more storage at a more affordable price.

Lima

Take any external hard drive online with Lima

Take any external hard drive online with Lima

Perhaps one of the most unique solutions on this list, Lima is a tiny device that effectively transforms any USB storage device — like an external hard drive or even a USB flash drive — into network-attached storage. You simply plug one end into your router and the other end into your USB storage. You are the only one with keys to the castle and you can access all the files on that storage device from anywhere you have Internet access. Stream multimedia content, back up your computers, and access it all through the convenient apps. If you have more than one Lima, they can even mirror one another for redundant backups. The retail prices for the Lima Original and the upgraded Lima Ultra are $99.99 and $129.99, respectively.

WD My Cloud

One of the most elegant personal cloud storage devices

One of the most elegant personal cloud storage devices

One of the most trusted names in hard drives (and storage devices in general) for a great number of years is Western Digital. There’s a good chance that you’ve used the company’s internal and external hard drives. What’s great about the WD My Cloud series is that the functionality is then extended to provide you with personal cloud storage. Simply connect it to your router (instead of to your computer) and you can access all your files via the mobile app or through a web-based interface. There are also backup utilities for your computer, as well as photo and video backup for your mobile devices. Pricing starts at around $130 for the 2TB model, going up to about $300 for the 8TB version.

Seagate Personal Cloud

A personal cloud with a multimedia focus

A personal cloud with a multimedia focus

The Seagate Personal Cloud shares a lot of similarities with the WD My Cloud and for good reason. These two companies have been direct competitors for almost as long as we’ve had hard drives! Files and folders are easily shared, including with secure URL links for people outside of your regular family or organization. Similarly, you can backup all your computers and mobile devices, stream multimedia content, and leverage IFTTT recipes for further automation. Pricing starts at around $125 for the 3TB model with alternate SKUs offering 4TB, 5TB or 6TB of storage.

Synology DiskStation

Utilize RAID configurations with this NAS

Utilize RAID configurations with this NAS

If you are looking for a more traditional network attached storage (NAS) solution for your personal cloud storage, the DiskStation family from Synology is a solid and reliable bet. The Synology DS216J is one of the most affordable options, offering a dual-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, and two storage bays where you will need to supply your own hard drives (or solid state drives for even faster performance). What’s handy here is that you can choose the RAID configuration that best suits your needs with support for up to 32TB of total size. The diskless model sells for about $170 online.

ownCloud

Free, open-source software for your private server

Free, open-source software for your private server

Want something that is almost on the same kind of enterprise level as the big name cloud storage providers? You will need to provide your own hosting and the ability to configure your own server, but ownCloud can be one of the most powerful options you have available. Offered free and open-source, ownCloud can be freely installed and operated on any private server. Naturally, this is only for more advanced users. Through extensions, you gain functions like online document editing, calendar synchronization and more.

Image credit: ChrisDag / Flickr

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