my-Ditto lets you access your data from literally anywhere including your iOS devices

There are a lot of solutions to getting your hands on files, video and audio remotely. You can do it on your own configuring firewalls. Apple had iDisk, but that is slowly fading and it's going to be dead next year unless Apple changes its mind. Of the many methods I've seen, Dane-Elec has come up with a product that is both easy and secure. It's called the my-Ditto system. It consists of an external hard drive you attach to your Mac or PC via ethernet. Essentially it's a NAS, or network attached storage. Once it's up and running, you can access your files from any remote computer via a secure USB key. Pop it into any other computer anywhere, enter a password, and the files you have sitting at home are available. Even better, you can see your files from an iOS device running a special my-Ditto app.

The my-Ditto hardware offers systems up to 4 terabytes of storage, and there are starter systems of 500 gigabytes, or empty drive casings that let you populate it on your own. The systems also support RAID for data redundancy.

I was sent a 500 GB system to try. Setup was pretty easy. Plug the my-Ditto into your router, run the software from the USB key, and register. The USB keys need to be matched to your device with a serialization scheme, and if you need more you can buy them from Dane-Elec or just use a flash drive you buy anywhere and go through the steps to match it securely to your system.

You can then copy data to the drive, and set up public and private partitions. The system supports secure AES 256-Bit encrypted login. The software also can be set to back up a Mac, PC or Linux box. The server also allows a USB drive to be plugged in, and those files can also be securely accessed.

How did it all work? Quite well. I had one glitch setting my account up. I never received the email that would enable me to fire up the system. That turned out to be a known issue, and it has been fixed. I tried remotely accessing my files from both a Mac and PC laptop. You must have your USB key with you to do this, but it worked fine. The key has both a Mac and PC app on it and that's what you run to access your files.

When you run the app remotely you will see 2 windows. Your remote computer and your local one. Files can be dragged and dropped between the 2, or there is a handy search dialogue box that makes finding files easy. If you have media on the my-Ditto, it can be streamed if you have the requisite bandwidth. Photos can be viewed as thumbnails, which makes browsing them easy.

Multiple users you authorize can access the files simultaneously, which makes it great for group projects. Up to 30 USB keys can be registered to a my-Ditto server.

The iOS app doesn't use a hardware key, but you still get access to your files. You need a password, and all the data is encrypted. If your phone was lost, you simply disable the account and the phone would no longer have access.

In practice, the my-Ditto system is very easy to set up, works as expected, and gives you an easy way to pull files from anywhere. The USB keys can be put on a keychain. If it is lost, there is no way for a person to get your files just by having the USB key. If you forget your password you can re-authenticate your key with the my-Ditto server.

The system I tested sells for US $149.99 and consists of a 500 GB 2-bay enclosure. The second bay is empty if you want more storage. At the top of the line the company offers a 4 TB 2 driver server for $369.00. The iOS apps are free for the downloading and are universal for iPhone and the iPad. These apps also let you transfer iOS accessible files from your iPhone or iPad to your remote server. The app works on 3G or WiFi. There are also versions for Android phones.

The my-Ditto solution is very slick and very easy to use. If you have large amounts of data you want to access from anywhere, I can't think of a competing solution that is as secure and quick to set up. The my-Ditto servers are available direct from Dane-Elec and some retailers.