The cloud is getting complicated: Space Monkey wants to give you all the benefits of a hosted cloud-storage account, like ease of access and data security, but with pricing more akin to a local drive. An apparent hybrid of DropBox, Pogoplug and BitTorrent, Space Monkey is an oversized external 2TB drive that offers half its storage for you and the rest for hosting tiny chunks of other users' encrypted data. Rather than storing a copy of your content in some random server somewhere, it's distributed among other Space Monkey users' boxes.
If that sounds scary, then Space Monkey is quick to point out that it uses a combination of AES-128 and RSA-4096 encryption to secure what are only partial chunks of your files on each unit, while the benefits of the distributed storage are low cost and easy access. 1TB of storage costs $10 per month - in contrast, DropBox currently charges $19.99 for 100GB - and when you access your data from a browser or one of the mobile apps, it's shuttled to you from the nearest Space Monkey drives rather than from your home drive, so as to be quicker.
"When the device is plugged into the home network or small office, it gives the user a local cache for fast uploads and downloads. In the background, the device quietly makes a privately encrypted copy of your data, breaks that encrypted file into many little pieces and then distributes them out to the Space Monkey storage network for safe keeping" Space Monkey
There's the expected sharing and collaborative tools, and the benefit is that if your internet connection goes down you have a local copy of data too.
Space Monkey expects the service to launch in the next few months, and you can sign up for more details at the company's site. There's also a beta program, giving ownership of the Space Monkey box itself - normally leased as part of the monthly fee - together with two years of service for $240.