Owning Your Data : The Helm Server

"...A home server to meet the demands of today's society, Helm is a personal, private email server that won’t ever share your data..."

Do you know where your email really is? As reported by countless reports on countless occasions, every person’s most critical data such as emails, search history, passwords, photos, videos and the like are all stored on massive corporate servers located outside your home’s four walls. With email often the most common thing to use or create upon any successful access to the internet, not to mention how an email address is always used for almost every account you create with any online store, social media et al., the importance of email comes into perspective, and succinctly, why should such an important asset of ours technically not even be ours if the servers (a digital postcode if we may) is forever outside of your control?

Whenever your email is compromised, it is therefore common sense to suggest that a hacker has immediate access to all your other online accounts – the trusty password reset isn’t always so trusty, you see. As Fast Company excellently surmise, “…if an email service is free, then your data is what’s being sold. The new Helm server makes sure only you have access to your emails…”, entirely in your control.

Introducing the solution, a collaboration between Gadi Amit’s (inventor of many technology products such as FitBit) New Deal Design – the inventors behind the Caavo entertainment system – and tech start-up Helm, the result is a product really quite compelling and inspirational. Wanting to create a home server to meet the demands of today’s society, Helm is a personal, private email server that won’t ever share your data, with the data remaining forever yours inside your very own four walls.

Working by essentially extracting email and other internet actions from all those ‘trusted’ cloud based internet services such as Gmail, Hotmail, the list goes on, and giving all this data a permanent home within arms reach of you, the data is then encrypted to give you all the security, physically and digitally. As Helm describe, “Free doesn’t mean free. Using cloud-based email services means signing away your rights and allowing third-parties access to the information being stored on them. Helm is a personal server that runs out of your home and provides services that are reachable from anywhere in the world. Helm is about the size of a 4×6 picture frame, so it can fit anywhere. It allows you to pull your information out of the cloud and put it in your house, where only you have control over it.”

With the news of Facebook x Cambridge Analytica’s scandal having impact on probably everyone’s household and the way people think about their online data, such a product is highly apt in the marketplace today, way more-so than just four years ago. A time when people didn’t really think about where the data actually is, such a debate is probably the first thing on everyone’s minds today.

With setup said to take just a few minutes, the device is designed from the ground-up for simplicity, privacy and security. Via an app on your phone, you can also easily connect additional devices and add more users. Once you have begun the setup process, all encryption keys for all your various personal accounts are created on each individual Helm server and are only ever accessible to you. The keys for encrypting backups of the data are even stored on an included USB drive and your phone for triple security. Allowing you the possibility to upgrade your Helm server by stacking expansion units in the future on top of one another, as indicated in the gallery, everything about the device seems too real to be true; such a device is also loaded with a whopping 120GB storage for any email account – a free Gmail account is likely loaded with just 10GB by comparison. Designed in a way to mimic a house or hut roof, the small device also looks aesthetically pleasing in any contemporary home, even allowing the device to stay cool with air flow accessible on all sides of the device’s storage. Built for longevity by way of all these awesome internal and external factors, is there anything negative about the device?

Without all the usual flaws of any Skybox, BT internet box or other services in terms of being a clunky, overheated, dust-attracting box of a device, the Helm’s only real concern is it’s price tag. Costing a whopping £450 for the device and a £80 yearly subscription thereafter (though the first year is free), personal data storage isn’t going to come cheap; but then, what price can you put on your data being sold or compromised?

Discover more about the designers online at: TheHelm.com

How Subtle Will Your Data Be Now?

As aesthetically pleasing to actually maybe become part of your home's decor, the device could easily be hidden away in your darkest of cupboards as it could be found on your living room's mantelpiece. A strange thought.

(Photography Credit : Helm)

8 Design
10 Innovation
9 Usability
6.5 Value

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