Return Of The USB Drive?

corkusbBack in June I wrote a piece called “Time For A Round Of Privacy Startups” which discussed the real market need for stronger privacy protection for customers following in the wake of the NSA incident with Snowden, where he basically revealed that the government and major internet companies (interestingly enough some of which are named in my piece on how most people only interface to the internet via these 5 sites) where spying on us without warrant. I suggested at the time that it might be a good time for companies to refocus their efforts on privacy – maybe we would see a upsurge in offshore email (soon after both Lavabit and Silent Circle, private email providers both based in the US shut themselves down for reasons unknown, the owners intimating that the government might be pressuring them to release information). Either way, for some people, this will go away, but for others, privacy is front and center again. This brings us to the issue of physical possession of data.

Prior to the cloud, people kept their data safe and secure in their own possession on servers in their own location. Next came the secure off-site hosting, where you could lock your server in a room somewhere. Since then, virtual servers, the cloud and SaaS have virtually taken over. And with all of that data in the cloud, how can you know where your data is?

Personally, as with 3D, I feel that there might be a backlash coming against cloud based storage. But that’s a topic for a future post. What if you want to keep your data as secure as possible right now? You can always get an external USB drive. But these are clunky to carry with you. So what’s your option? The lowly USB drive.

Yep, I thought there for a while that with all of the excitement around the cloud that people would start giving up holding onto their data locally, and we would see USB drives go the way of the floppy. But if security and privacy are your concern, what can be more secure and private than having a USB drive with all your data with you, in your pocket, bag, keychain, or even concealed in a pen? Heck, you can even run a whole Linux OS on there if you like, along with all of your data.
Right now you can get a whopping 64G on a USB drive. For even more privacy, you can even get it in form factors which don’t even look like a USB drive, like a cork, a carabiner, or a leather bracelet. I’m sure that in future we’ll see much bigger sizes and even more interesting form factors as well.

Sure, you can store stuff on your phone. But your phone is internet connected. What if someone drops a worm on your device? All of your data is ripe for the picking. Since a USB drive requires a physical connection, and is not always connected to the internet, and can be with you at all times, it can provide the ultimate in security and privacy, should that be important to you.

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