October 21, 2014 39 comments

How to Become a Home Office Superhero (by setting up your personal cloud)

by Regina

How to become a home office superhero and set up your own personal cloud with WD My Cloud EX2

Regina here. Helping to make your home office life super hot. Where “super hot” means secure, organized, reliable, and that which gives you peace of mind. All of those are very sexy qualities, right?

Even if you disagree (which would be ludicrous, by the way), I want to tell you about why you should set up your own private cloud for your home office or creative business, how you can use your cloud, the types of things you should be backing up, and a daily routine you can do when you finish work for the day (checklist style) to keep you organized and sane.

P.S. Virtual hugs to WD for sponsoring an upgrade to my creative life by letting me try the private cloud with My Cloud EX2. I feel so “next level” now. You’ll see what I mean shortly. But first, I’m super happy EX2 (as I call him for short) fit well with all the black and gold on my desk.

It’s pretty amazing that even though I’m talking about tech that can save our digital lives, I’m still concerned about my color game. But hey . . .

MyCloudEX2 on my desk

I know you can’t stand the suspense. You want to know three things: (1) What is a “private cloud” anyway and are you just making stuff up, yet again, Regina? (2) If it indeed does exist, how is this different from Google Drive, Dropbox, or Carbonite? What’s the benefit? Why should I set one up? (3) Did you love it enough to have a completely weird photo shoot with it in front of a very hip, Austin, art wall? [I’ll just tell you right now, yes. Yes, I did.]

ONE: What is a private cloud? Are you just making this up?

I never fabricate stuff when it comes to technology y’all. Okay, you got me, yes, I do make stuff up all the time when it comes to tech, but this is real.

You know when people say they’re saving something “in the cloud” and it just seems like this mystical land in the sky where files live? Well, simply put, all those files are being stored on somebody’s sever, somewhere. Whenever you go to access your cloud files, they’re being pulled from a Google/Dropbox/Whoever server (basically a computer that’s set up as storage space) in Wherever, Montana or NeverHeardOfIt, Texas.

When you set up a private cloud, like the beautiful black object you see next to my gold stapler in the picture above, you’re simply taking NeverHeardOfIt, Texas, and bringing it home. So, you can be sitting in your office (which we all know is your bed sometimes—don’t try to make me believe I’m the only one), while your My Cloud EX2 is downstairs near the cable box, and you can store all your important files wirelessly. You can also access those files from your phone or tablet later. Now, the real question is . . .

TWO: How is this really different than Google Drive, Dropbox, or Carbonite? What’s the benefit? Why should I set up a private cloud?

I want to share five ways that getting set up with WD’s My Cloud EX2 is different from other storage options, and thus beneficial.

1. It’s a faster option for your business.
The absolute first thing I noticed was how much faster it was to load files to my private cloud with EX2. I work with a lot of large graphic files, video files, and even the long 300-page books I write, which I’m sure you’d never guess by these super short posts on my blog. All the sarcasm.

And if I may be honest for a moment, at the end of a long day, or long video edit, the last thing I want to do is wait several minutes for my files to be secure in the cloud. I literally feel like I can’t rest until I know each file is safely backed up.

2. It’s a faster option, again. But in a different way.
I used to be all for backups that go to remote locations and other people’s clouds. In fact, I had such a service for many years that backed up most of my files to their servers. However, I was disappointed to find out that if something happened to my computer (like the soy chai latte that happened to my best friend’s MacBook Pro), it could take a few days to get my files to me. A few days is not fast.

We need our files immediately. You have client projects and books you’re writing and other deadlines, just like I do. It’s probably simple enough to borrow a computer for a day or two to finish a project (or go to the library or use a school computer, etc.), but without your files, you’re in a bad situation. If my almond milk chocolate chai latte happens to my computer, I can get all my backed-up files moments later (from the My Cloud EX2) on a different device. Magic.

3. There is a whole lot of space for your small business and blog. I mean a whole lot.
You can get a My Cloud EX2 that goes up to 8 TB, and it’s still expandable after that. But call me up the day you go past even 1 TB >>> 1 terabyte is 1 trillion bytes by the way. So whereas you can still use a free account (with less space) with other cloud storage places for in-process files and collaborations, you can likely back up all of your stuff to your own cloud.

What should you be backing up?

  • any client work (if you lose your computer, you do NOT want to start from scratch)
  • your blog (create an export each day/week; if you use WordPress, you can go to Tools >> Export to create a basic backup of your content, or you can contact your web host about how to create a full backup of your site, which can easily be stored in your private cloud)
  • important business documents (formation paperwork, receipts, invoices, contracts)
  • your business branding (logos, blog images, backgrounds)
  • current projects (your digital workbooks, eBooks, flyers, podcasts, video courses, voice recordings, etc.)
  • pretty much any and every file you don’t want to lose
  • music, videos, and animations
  • all your phone, computer, tablet, and camera photos

4. It’s secure.
If Gandalf wasn’t tied up battling Sauron, I bet he’d admit that when he said, “Keep it secret, keep it safe,” he was talking about all your business documents and freelance projects, not some silly “one ring.” Pffft.

I like the fact that I have quick and secure access to all my files. I know where they are. In a cloud right between my gold stapler and my black + white washi tape.

WD My Cloud EX2: Personal cloud for your home office

5. There are no monthly fees to add to your expenses list.
So, there are some companies (who shall remain nameless . . . except for the fact that I already named them) who charge monthly fees for storage above a few GB. Sad face. Because here’s the thing, I try to limit the things I take on for a monthly fee as a creative business owner. Our income is irregular, so it can be hard to estimate how much we’ll make each month. Plus, all those monthly fees can truly add up.

I’ve known for a while that I was going to have to choose a different backup method, because I didn’t want any monthly fees that would continue on indefinitely, unless absolutely necessary. I hadn’t graduated my thinking to having my own cloud until I heard of WD’s My Cloud EX2, so it came at the perfect time. I’m not giving up all my other storage options, I’m just giving up unnecessary recurring fees.

WAIT. I know I said “5 reasons” but let’s be honest, I can’t count:

6. You get extra user accounts at no additional charge.
So my brother came in town and requested that I create him an account with the My Cloud EX2 I was setting up. And why not? It’s free and it allows him to keep his lawyer files and 379 action films away from my blog/business files and one digital film, The Internship.

7. You can stream.
Instead of storing tons of media files (videos and photos) on all your devices you can stream them from your My Cloud EX2 to connected TVs, media players, gaming consoles and other “DLNA/UPnP devices.” [I don’t speak that level of tech but I included it for those of you who are nerdier than I am.] Ditto with the streaming of your iTunes music. I haven’t tried this feature out yet, but I just bought my first TV in 12 years so I’ll give it a whirl soon.

Other benefits of My Cloud EX2:

>>> It’s a tax deductible investment in your business. You know. The money you pay to the government each year, this expense will be a deduction from that.

>>> You will have your docs/files wherever you need them.
The nifty desktop app keeps your PC or Mac connected to your personal cloud, regardless of your location. From the application, you can transfer + manage files. You can even share links to specific folders (or files within those folders) via email.

>>> It plays nicely with separate public cloud accounts.
WD’s mobile app lets you transfer files between your personal cloud, Dropbox, and other public cloud accounts very simply. Hello team player.

And now, the most important question of all . . .

THREE: Did you love it enough to have a completely weird photo shoot with it in front of a very hip, Austin, art wall?

I’m a nerd. So technology excites me. All of my favorite nerd things are named with both letters and numbers, so it’s simple for me to remember the EX2. You see, there’s R2D2 . . . and C3P0 . . . and now EX2. When it comes to tech, and epic movies, letters + numbers mix well and sound official. Here’s photographic proof that I love My Cloud EX2. We did a photo shoot together. He was cracking me up constantly. We have so many inside jokes at this point. Y’all might not even understand.

MyCloudEX2 and byRegina.com: Together Forever

Yes. You saw that bottom right picture correctly. I have a tradition of hugging and kissing new technology that I love. I kiss my computer constantly. I often pet my new TV. Hugging the device that let me set up my own cloud and break the chains on monthly backup + file storage fees is not odd. Don’t judge me.

P.S. To find out much more about WD’s My Cloud EX2 and the different capacity/pricing options, head to the WD site.

And now, a daily routine that you can do to save your digital gluteus:

End of Workday Routine for Those Who Work From Home

P.P.S. You certainly can and should back up and organize documents as you go, but this daily routine makes for a great double check. Try the list above for a week and if you don’t agree, tweet me angrily. I don’t mind. And below is something else for you to tweet, if you’ll be switching to the private cloud with me. Gandalf would be proud of you.

We're creating our own clouds with WD's My Cloud EX2

Had you heard of a “private cloud” before? Do you already use WD’s My Cloud EX2? What’s something you can add to your daily routine to keep your business safe + organized? Pretty please let me know in the comments.

You’re My Butter Half Photos: My iPhone via Bunny Wanderland
Other photos: via moi
Feel free to use the photos in this post with proper credit and a link back to this post. Thanks.

39 responses to “How to Become a Home Office Superhero (by setting up your personal cloud)”

  1. Erika Madden says:

    Until you got Mr. EX2, I did not even know there was such a thing as a personal cloud. (Is that my age showing? Oops.) But the idea of it is super exciting — I know I would rest so much easier knowing I had that little guy working 24/7 for me!

    Also, the fact you did a photo shoot with him is beyond AWESOME. Way to take it the next level, Regina!!!

    I really do need to be more diligent about backing up my stuff, though. Thanks for the reminder/kick in the behind. 😀

    • regina says:

      Erika, thank you for coming by. And I think we’re both showing our maturity (slash age) just a bit by admitting that we hadn’t acknowledged the existence of these “personal cloud” things. But I’m so happy to have mine. I know you can definitely relate to the video training files, PDFs, client work, and more.

      Of course there are simple USB external drives, but I think they can be challenging in that they require the extra step of finding them, plugging them in, storing, and unplugging. I’ve had one for years and the extra work it requires means I skip my backups at times. The “cloud” that Mr. EX2 and I have going means I don’t have to leave my desk/bed/kitchen. Moving on:

      Thank you for complimenting our photo shoot. I had a friend assure me I was crazy for it. Thanks also for your comment. I appreciate it.

  2. Rick Barlow says:

    Thanks for another fascinating and helpful post.

    I have been aware of these personal cloud devices for a while, but I’ve never had any trouble accessing my remote files on DropBox, iCloud or Evernote. Plus, I’ve always thought one of the most important benefits of remote storage was the security of having all your stuff far away, in case of fire or flood or some other immediate local disaster that could permanently destroy your backup. (I’m assuming those remote services have redundant storage to prevent a similar catastrophic loss of data.)

    The cost factor might be persuasive. I get that.

    So the idea is interesting. It will stay on my list of things to investigate eventually (I don’t actually have such a list — just a kind of virtual list in my head).

    I DO use the Time Machine function on my main Mac to back up automatically every hour to a hard drive on my desk, but I like your end of day list and will try it this week.

    Thanks again. Your blog is just about my favorite blog these days, and I’ve just joined your G+ Community.

    You are covering all the bases.

    • regina says:

      Aww, Rick. I really do enjoy your comments. Thank you. I’m a big fan of Dropbox, I just don’t want to pay the monthly fees they charge for Dropbox for Business in order to back up all the client files and project files I’d need to. I definitely keep my most recent/immediate/important files in there though.

      And actually, I’m not against remote storage, as long as you also have immediately accessible storage as well. I have a best friend and former business partner who dropped a Starbucks drink all over her computer and a huge project we were woking on. The only backups she had were remote and getting a copy of all of that stuff took too long. We (well, actually mostly she) had to recreate everything while I worked on other aspects of the project. Nightmare City, population 2.

      The cost factor is definitely persuasive, and I love that you do automatic backups. I’d say you’re more organized + safe than 98% of the business owners and creatives I talk to. I hope the end-of-workday list is helpful. It helps my brain at least. I don’t feel confused or overwhelmed the next day and I generally feel good when I stop work for the day.

      P.S. Thank you for your incredibly sweet comment to this blog. Still, after all this time, I can’t believe how cool the Interwebs is to connect people who think alike and can benefit from each other. Thank you Rick.

  3. Loved the write-up. I have suffered through lapbook disasters myself so I know the pain of losing valuable content.

    It would have been real sweet if they would have offered a giveaway on your blog.

    • regina says:

      Kay, thank you for reading + for your sweet compliment. I’m with you on the disasters bit; I’ve certainly lost important documents before and I hate trying to recreate something that you put so much thought and time into already.

      And yes, that would have been super sweet. I’ll petition them for that next time. I have an interesting give away coming up next month during my “Tool Time” theme. I can’t wait for that.

      Thank you again for stopping by.

  4. Laurie says:

    Funnily enough, I was eyeing this down at the store this past weekend… I’d sort of filed it away as something to look into later, so your post is rather serendipitously timed. 🙂 Like Rick mentioned above, I’m also a bit worried about storing my backups onsite, but it looks like this also integrates with one of these other services so I could have multiple backups, which would make my packrat-loving self very happy.

    • regina says:

      Laurie, I’m a digital packrat as well. Hard core. I’m not proud of it, but now I don’t have to worry about feeling bad about it. I have 4 TB of space (with expansion possibilities) so it really doesn’t matter that I have bad digital habits. Ha. I think as long as we keep it all organized, it’s okay, right?

      I agree with you and Rick: I like having backups in multiple places (with me, with some other secure company, at home, etc.). I think the real problem is only relying on one method. I’m all for Carbonite, but not for the wait time on time-sensitive things. I think that’s why I’ll always keep this EX2 and at least the free Dropbox account. Okay, tech ramble. Sorry.

      Thank you for taking the time to come comment. I appreciate it Laurie.

  5. Naomi says:

    >>> It’s a tax deductible investment in your business. You know. The money you pay to the government each year, this expense will be a deduction from that.

    BOOM. Sold! I am off to check it out THIS minute.

    Thank you for a product referral post that was full of information that I could resonate with and really connect with!!

    (By the way, I can’t wait until I can leave my very first comment on your site with the new 8th & Homes website!)

    • regina says:

      Naomi, 1st, I can’t wait until that comment either. I’m beyond excited! I hope you can tell that.

      2nd, exactly. I’m all for the tax deductions when the thing you’re spending the money on benefits your business.

      3rd, thank you for reading and for commenting. I appreciate that you said you could really connect with it. That means a ton to me.

  6. 1) Excellent information and checklist. I didn’t know you could have your own cloud and now, just like when you showed me Photoshop, WordPress, and Mac computers so many years ago, I have to have my own.

    2) People don’t understand how intense the Soy Chai reference really was.

    3) I love that you can create separate user accounts…that is super helpful.

    4) Very cute pics. You are my butter half Regina…

    • regina says:

      Brittany, thank you for coming by to comment. Haha, I’m just trying to make your tech life better. Yeah, that soy chai moment was a horrible one. I’m sorry dude.

      You’re my butter half too, friend.

  7. Marjorie says:

    hum…. I might sound very dumb but, except or the fact that it your computer connects to it through wifi rather than a cable… how exactly is it different from an external hard drive.
    I’m all about saving files away from my computer, because of a Chai Late incident of my own (it had milk + Chocolate instead but had the same result)… so I look forward to be convinced… and see how ridiculous my question is.
    Great blog post as always Regina… and love the picture in the street with the box… that’s a real demonstration of commitment.

    • regina says:

      Yay Marjorie, thank you for complimenting the street picture. Clearly the most important part of getting new tech, right?

      That is not a silly question at all. Seriously. I think the main differences are: your ability to access the files while you’re away (without having to carry around an external hard drive), the multiple user accounts to keep your files separate from your family’s files, the ability to stream your entertainment to devices, the overall size and expandable nature of the storage (so you don’t have to buy multiple hard drives), and the built-in sharing options (making a link to an EX2 file available to collaborators is possible whereas a normal external hard drive wouldn’t allow for that).

      I’m so sorry about your chocolate chai incident. I think setting in place more than one backup system is best. Perhaps a smaller, free backup of your most important docs and current projects, and then a large backup of every single thing on your computer.

      Thank you for taking time to read Marjorie and for leaving a question. I appreciate it.

  8. Sierra says:

    I’m loving this! I am definitely going to have to get my hands on this for my Mom and I (she’s a videographer, so I’m sure she’ll use most of the space) before I go to college next year. Thanks for sharing, Regina!

    And your photoshoot was absolutely necessary. Don’t let society tell you any different.

    • regina says:

      Sierra, thank you for reading, and I agree with you >>> this is a great solution for a videographer. Even my small 5 – 15 minute video files seem to take a ton of space on my computer, I can’t imagine what storage is like for a videographer–does she do events, documentaries, weddings?

      And ha, thank you (about the photo shoot). I will not let people bring me down on that. I appreciate the support.

      • Sierra says:

        She does music videos and documentaries – she just did a 45-minute documentary and had to end up deleting most of the raw files for it because there wasn’t enough room for that and her other files, even on her iMac. And she’s working on another, longer documentary so, um, we need this. Yesterday. Preferably three.

        And hey – any excuse for a photoshoot 😉

  9. Danielle says:

    This is such a great idea! I had no idea there was a personal cloud backup system. Plus, that end of the day routine checklist is AWESOME. I think I need to pin it up beside my desk.

    • regina says:

      Danielle, thank you so much for coming to check this post out. You are not alone, I wasn’t aware of them either. It changed the way I tackle my backup/security routine and it gives me more restful sleep knowing everything is safe.

      I appreciate your compliment to the checklist. P.S. Your blog is pretty and peaceful. I love your specialty. Methinks we need to be amigas.

  10. Michelle says:

    I have been a convert for many months now and I LOVE my personal cloud. Just last week I was sitting at a cafe with friends, about 2 hours from my home and pulling up photos from my WD back at home using my iphone’s WD app. I also have set up a folder that my business partner on the other side of the world has access to so we can share working files. I am still finding new ways to use it every day. The best decision I have made 🙂

    • regina says:

      Michelle, yay for your upcoming launch, 1st off. I love coming soon pages. I always get excited to see the brand that emerges.

      Also, thank you for coming by to read this post and to comment, even though you clearly should have been the one writing this–you’ve had even more experience with yours than I’ve had with mine.

      I love the idea of setting up a folder for your business partner. Do you find that it’s much simpler than trying to share large files through the other programs available? I think that’s been the biggest difference for me (the sharing of super large files).

      Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate it.

      • Michelle says:

        Thank you Regina for your yay and retweeting about my launch. This community I am creating has been many (many!) months in the making and it means so much to me to have support from someone as amazing as you 🙂

        The file sharing ability of the My Cloud is fantastic. My business partner and I share some BIG files and I would hate to be having to use one of the paid services. He’s just done a whole lot of videos for an online course he is running so some of these files are huge. Having a folder that we can easily access, that can take that format and upload it quick has been a dream.

        I also work between a laptop and a PC so having a central repository for all my files makes it so much easier than confusing myself with duplicated files. Being able to sit in a cafe with wifi and access those files totally changes the way I work and my ability to service my clients. And to be honest, I didn’t think the My Cloud was that much more expensive than other hard drives. Best choice I have made for my business!

  11. This sounds awesome and it seems like just what I need since I filled up my current 1TB external HD today!

    Thank you for sharing!

    • regina says:

      Jessica, the recent anniversary photo shoot on your blog for that adorable couple is so cute–and I completely love her dress, random side note. I think your super talented. And, I can easily see how as a photographer with such high-quality images, you can run through a 1TB HD pretty easily.

      I think you might like this option because you can expand the storage or switch out the drives inside the box. It literally allows you to keep EVERYTHING you want to.

      Thank you for taking time to read this and leave feedback.

  12. […] Perfect Book/Article: How to Become An Office Superhero (by setting up your personal cloud) via By Regina Song: Welcome Home – Radical […]

  13. […] I think we all feel that a computer of some sort is necessary, so I’ll just note the document storage apps I like to use to backup files and transfer items between laptop >> tablet >> phone >> camera: Dropbox and WD’s My Cloud EX2. […]

  14. Hi Regina,

    Have you used the EX2 as a Time Machine for you Mac? Just curious if it can perform that function.

    Also, can you give people read-only access to files so they can look but not touch?

    Great article! 🙂


  15. Thanks Regina, your post is really very informative. Please, guide how to set my private cloud and my cloud EX2.I would like to participate in conversation to get updated because my desk top and emails , it seems, have been hacked and often I have mislead by sites to whom I have never prescribed.
    Love and Merri Christmas

  16. Cora Belk says:

    I enjoyed reading your info about having an EX2 backup. Thank you for putting in your time. It really helps.

  17. Regina, as soon I saw your email. I could not resist to pause for a minute and read it.
    It’ll be so kind of you if you help me to set up my personal cloud otherwise because of privacy matters I was running away from online communications
    Love and wonderful Wednesday.

  18. Ahmed says:

    Very good write-up. Starting out at home can be very difficult but with the right resources it can be done properly. It’s all about being as efficient as possible, manage this and you will do well, thank you and look forward to more content.


  19. Regina, please, send me that link by following which I may set up my private cloud.

  20. […] credible sources that I trust and watched how they use it. (Such as byRegina’s post about becoming a superhero.) I personally would love this because it would allow me to be the weirdo that keeps every single […]

  21. Maryann says:

    Oh my goodness! I have had that “end of work day” routine posted up on my bulletin board for months, and it has revolutionized my mornings! Why? Because I don’t have to sift through the mess looking through my files! I am such a slob, but hey, that’s how I work! So I can work like a slob all day, then at the end I get it all organized and pretty according to that list, and BAM my mornings are fantastic and much more productive!

    So, for some reason I never clicked on the pin where that image came from, and I have to say I am totally impressed with you and those beautiful curls! (from one curly girl to another) But, like the other commenters, I didn’t realize what a “personal cloud” was haha. I just thought it was any ol’ cloud account! Thank you so much for putting this up! Anything to make business management easier on me is what I need! Keep up the great advice!

  22. […] The last post in my series of organisational tools to make my business more productive and help me to stress less is a simple and easy End of Workday routine which I read about over here. […]

  23. Jade Roque says:

    And, I’m back again. If I ever have any questions about blogging or business or consulting, your site is the first place I check.

    My first thought, verbatim, “Regina should have something about this!”

    Lo and behold.

    This is an awesome post! I was looking for something exactly like this. I realized that all of my monthly fees were starting to rack up a little higher than I’d like. Paired with the fact that I, like many before me who have commented, am a digital packrat.

    You and your blog are wonderful. Can’t wait to comment as a blogger, myself!

  24. Emily says:

    I really like your daily check list. It seems really easy to follow and applicable to so many industries. What’s the security like on these personal clouds? Would you say this is safer than a big external hard drive?

  25. […] hotel chain (yes, I actually know someone who did this and their niche is not even travel). Me, when WD sponsored me to talk about their personal cloud […]

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