Pogoplug is, and has been, one of the easiest ways to safely access and share your files from any computer or smartphone with internet access. You can store, access, and share limitless amounts of data and media. All of your data is stored safely on your very own hard drive in your home or office; it is not stored in the ‘cloud’. Pogoplug has just released a small business version called the Pogoplug Biz. Pogoplug Biz offers a lot of new features, including new sharing options, security options, and personalization.
Pogoplug is a piece of hardware, that plugs into your router, which you connect your USB 2.0 storage device(s) into it. Pogoplug gives you access to the files on your USB storage devices from anywhere in the world with Internet. It works on all operating systems, all popular browsers, and even Apple iOS, Android, and Palm devices. With the Pogoplug Web GUI you can upload, download, share, and view content straight from your hard drive or storage device that’s sitting back at home or the office. Nothing is stored in the cloud, and your storage devices can be unplugged whenever you choose. You can ‘mount’ your Pogoplug folder on to any computer and use it as if it’s a regular folder on your computer. Everything you add or save to this folder is safely sent over the internet (or home network) to your Pogoplug and storage device(s). The Pogoplug application for Mac, Windows, or Linux can automatically backup any folder on your computer that you choose. From the mobile app and web app you can stream all of your media without needing to download the media first. Pogoplug also gives you the ability to print to a printer in the same network as your Pogoplug. You can even print from an iPhone or iPad.
If you’re familiar with the internet service Dropbox, you’ll recognize that it’s similar to Pogoplug. Unlike Dropbox, Pogoplug’s information is not stored on somebody else’s servers, you’re not limited to the amount of data you can store, and there are no monthly prices to pay. The one potential drawback is that downloads from your Pogoplug are limited to the upload speed of the internet it is plugged into.
Pogoplug Biz has every feature that the original (now “Pogoplug Pro”) has, but it now includes multiple users, customization, custom email addresses, usage statistics and auditing, web view-only sharing, and remote backup. With regular Pogoplug you could share as many files with as many people as you want. You could share publicly with a link or privately with an email address. Now, you can give multiple users a Pogoplug login and give them their own storage space to store and share files of their own. As a user, they can take advantage of Pogoplug without actually owning one. Because Pogoplug Biz is intended for business use, you can customize the web interface to incorporate your company’s color scheme, logo, domain name, and background image. Pogoplug Biz has email capabilities that, when enabled, will send an email alert when files are added, changed, or shared. This email message can also be customized to give it your company’s own personalized appearance. Custom Email Addresses is a very neat and convenient feature: you create an @mypogoplug.com email address and associate it to a specific folder on your storage device, all attachments sent to that email address will save into the associated folder. The message is not saved, but all of your attachments will be. You can create as many custom email addresses as you want, and there’s nothing to it, you just pick a name and designate a folder. Usage statistics and auditing is a new feature that helps you keep track of how many times a folder or file has been viewed, streamed, or downloaded. Web View-Only sharing allows you to share media files without allowing the ability to download it. For instance, you can share your music and pictures and allow the recipient to look and listen, but not download and save. Pogoplug Biz also adds the option of using SSH to add and remove files. The last new Pogoplug Biz feature is Remote Backup, this allows you to mirror a Pogoplug folder, or entire drive, with another Pogoplug drive. Remote Backup is essentially an effortless way to make sure all of your Pogoplug data is backed up on another drive.
The Pogoplug comes with the Pogoplug device, an ethernet cable, a power adapter, a getting started guide, and a limited warranty. The ethernet cable and power adapter are both white, which complements the Pogoplug device. There’s no hard drive or internal storage included, so without this you won’t be able to get much use out of Pogoplug.
We applaud Pogoplug for making the setup a piece of cake for techies and non-techies alike. This is the process:
1. Plug in your Pogoplug Biz to a wall outlet with the included cable.
2. Plug in your Pogoplug Biz to the router with the included ethernet cable.
3. Plug in your USB storage device(s). You can connect up to three.
4. Log in or create a Pogoplug Account at my.pogoplug.com while on the same home network as Pogoplug
5. Add a device
That’s it. There’s no software installation required. When the Pogoplug Web GUI finds your device it will update it and set everything up for you. You’re ready to start storing data. The storage devices you attach to Pogoplug can be NTFS, FAT32, Mac OS Extended Journaled and non-Journaled (HFS+), and EXT-2/EXT-3.
Pogoplug has always offered solid, reliable service, not to mention an extremely easy set up. Pogoplug Biz is no different. The extra features do offer a lot of extra value. The new features that worked very well are multiple users, customization, custom email addresses, and remote backup. I was unable to find the statistics and auditing feature–it’s either very well hidden in the web GUI, or it is a feature that has not yet been rolled out. The Pogoplug device gets automatically updated when it’s first recognized by the web GUI, there is no option in the settings to check for new updates, so it probably occurs automatically. The web view-only sharing was a let down, it’s not really “view-only” if the user knows what they’re doing. For instance, a view-only image that has been shared cannot be right clicked on by the recipient, but they can drag the image to their desktop and voilas–it’s saved. Music and videos are only a little trickier, if you save the website and look at the HTML file in a text editor, you’ll find the links to all of the “web view-only” files. Custom email addresses is a very convenient feature that works well. Anytime I email pictures to friends or family, I CC the custom MyPogoPlug email account I created and the pictures are all saved to a Pogoplug folder I set up. Within seconds of sending the email, Pogoplug sends a confirmation email stating that the files have been successfully uploaded.
The Pogoplug web UI has a good layout and a familiar feel to it. The web file browser aspect can display thumbnails and album art in various sizes. The only flaw with the file browser is that there’s no easy way to view all of your files on one page. The files are split into pages and you cannot, at this time, choose how many files you want to view per page. Of course, you could always just download the computer application and view your files in a regular folder–this works very well.
Pogoplug is an ever-so convenient service/device to have. It’s amazing that you can share a storage device with any computer and mobile phone that you choose. You can add your entire music collection and stream it straight from your browser or phone. You can have it automatically back up all of your documents wherever you are. And now with Pogoplug Biz you can allow your friends and family to do the same. That’s the biggest appeal of the Biz version: multiple accounts. The custom email addresses was another great feature that offered a lot of value. It would have been nice to see how usage statistics and auditing works; it would be a helpful feature to monitor all of your users. Setting files as “web view-only” was rather disappointing considering the files can still be downloaded and this is supposed to be for businesses. Other than that, Pogoplug Biz can bring a lot of value to small businesses, and it can be effortlessly incorporated into existing setups. The personalization is a nice touch that can makes Pogoplug assimilate well with a company’s image. Pogoplug Biz can also bring a lot of value to individual users and families, although the cost/benefits of going Biz should definitely be weighed out. Pogoplug Biz costs $299, while the Pogoplug Pro costs $99. The Pogoplug is currently taking orders for Pogoplug Biz at from Pogoplug.com
The Good: Multiple Accounts, Custom Email Accounts, Easy Setup, Access your files anywhere
The Bad: New features not worth huge premium for individual users, statistics and auditing wasn’t available, no USB 3.0, no Firewire, no eSata