French startup Cozycloud offers anyone and everyone the means to set up their own personal Cloud in order to keep full control over access to their personal data.

Cozycloud was among this year’s finalists for the Trophée Startup Numérique (Digital Startup Prize) 2013 organised by the French incubator Télécom & Management SudParis Entrepreneurs. The startup was founded and is headed up by Benjamin André, a graduate of top French higher education institute ENSIMAG, which specialises in computer science, applied mathematics and telecommunications. The company’s service enables clients to create their own Cloud. And if the word ‘Cloud’ does not seem particularly innovative, we should point out that it is precisely the fact that remote data storage and management and storage have now become part and parcel of our everyday work and non-work habits that makes the Cozycloud approach particularly attractive. Cozycloud’s approach is based on the premise that Cloud services, as they are configured today, are becoming less and less personal and users are losing control of their own data. So, in the finest tradition of Open Source culture, Benjamin André and his team invite you to go on to the company site and, in just a few minutes, to download the materials you need to create your own personal Cloud.

Platform as a Service

The Cozycloud system is not just a space to store your documents but, in contrast to existing services, it is a complete platform where you can store and manage all your data. The company provides Open Source tools that allow the customer the choice of creating his/her own applications or selecting from among those on offer in order to set up a personal system suited to the way s/he wants to use it. In practice, each user has his own unique server so that all the data and applications are in one place and can interact with each other. “Basically, I created this system so that I could centralise my own banking data and access it more easily [...] I started from the realisation that existing Cloud services were making access to data increasingly complex with their silo-type organisation,” explains Benjamin André. The obvious difference in Cozycloud’s offering is that it enables the data and the applications to work together seamlessly within the Cloud environment. What the company is providing therefore is a known as a Platform as a Service (PaaS). This means that the various applications in use process the data in such a way as to draw different uses from the same data.

“The new PC”

What Benjamin André jokingly calls “the new PC” is this concept of a Personal Cloud. Users have access to their own dedicated server, so they can just delete their own Cloud if they so wish. And as the server belongs to just the one user, it is probably ensuring a significantly higher level of protection for the data stored there. This ‘personalisation’ of Cloud services is what enables Cozycloud to differentiate itself from other existing solutions on the market – for instance the approach chosen by Mozilla for its Web FWD incubator. The Cozycloud platform is already up and running, but Benjamin André’s team is working on a number of different applications and on storage capacity. “Our goal is to be able to speed up product development by strengthening our setup so as to position Cozycloud in the near future as the number one Open Source platform,” he reveals.

By Quentin Capelle