Plug: Teeny File Server Debuts on Kickstarter

Who needs the cloud when you have a device like the Plug? Made by a US-French company called Cloud Guys, Plug mirrors personal computer files to a USB-sized, Internet-connected rectangle, and makes it available for online use. Plug is not the first to do this, of course, but the price point for their Kickstarter project is very tempting: a $69 contribution gets you a 500 GB Plug.

I communicated briefly–by email–with Cloud Guys CEO Severin Marcombes to learn more about Plug. Essentially their cloud replacement gadgetry connects directly with a home router, and then caches your file infrastructure. The cache serves two functions: 1) speeding up access to files when your computers are online, and 2) enabling offline access to files when the laptops are powered down–i.e., you mark those files you want for offline availability.

Yes, automatic syncing, and even versioning–according to their specs–are also supported.

One of the main reasons to keep your files on-premise but “cloud-enabled, so to speak, is to avoid hackers and other security thieves–whether from Beijing, Estonia, or Langley. Plug supports RSA-2048 public-private keys for user identification, and all communications is encrypted using AES.

The overall value prop is you get complete access across to your file system from any device that supports a browser.

I’m impressed, and very tempted, for the first time, to plunk down some cash for a Kickstarter project. The Plug is expected to eventually retail for, they say, around $150. It may not live up to all its promises, but the basic functions and the initial price are very persuasive.