With automobiles, we're currently at a point in history where some of the advantages of electric vehicles are becoming apparent, yet the internal combustion engine still has its merits - as a result, a lot of people are buying gas/electric hybrids. Well, the LaCie CloudBox sort of represents the same thing, except for data storage. It's a hard drive, which people trust and are used to, yet it automatically backs everything up to the cloud, which seems to be the direction in which things are heading. Just think of it as a Prius for your computer.

The CloudBox device itself has a 100GB of memory, but the package also includes the same amount of storage in the cloud - depending on your needs, that might or might not be enough. Once a day, everything that is saved to the device is automatically backed up online to a secure server.

Of course, it's already possible to access one's hard drive via the internet. The big advantage of the CloudBox is that everything will be doubly protected. If the hard drive is lost or damaged, or if you're not near it, your data can still be retrieved from the cloud. If you don't have good internet access, or simply don't want to wait through long upload/download times, you can use the hard drive.

Data stored online is protected with a password and 128-bit AES encryption, which even LaCie itself supposedly can't circumvent. Both the hard drive and the server work with PCs or Apples.

The LaCie CloudBox is available on the company website for US$199.99, which includes one year of cloud storage. The price of renewal has not yet been announced.

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